Today, Tuesday September 06
“The Right to the Tree of Life”
“Then he said to me, "See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God." And he said to me, "Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still." "And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last." Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.
As John finishes writing the Book of Revelation, he reminds us of at least four responsibilities that we have as believers. We will be looking at them over the next several days in more detail. I’ve noticed that in this last chapter of the Book of Revelation, that we have a repeat of several phases.
In Revelation 1:1-3, this book began with these words: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants--things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.” You can’t help but notice that these same words are repeated several times in this last chapter.
Twice in the first chapter of Revelation, John writes the words of Jesus, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end…”. (Rev. 1:8 & 11). In this last chapter of Revelation, we read the same words reminding us that Jesus has both the first word and the last word when it comes to the history of mankind and the world! As I said in my chat this morning, “If you want to find out what happened yesterday, read the newspaper. But if you want to know what is going to happen tomorrow, read the Bible.”
Several times in this final chapter we read about the first responsibility that John admonishes his readers to fulfill. I know I mentioned this yesterday, but I want to revisit it again today. We are told to “keep the words of the prophecy of this book.” Then we are also told, “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.”
To keep these words means to guard them, to share and talk about them, to read and study them, and to constantly remind yourself of them! But we are also told we are blessed if we “do His commandments.” And interestingly, we are told that if we do His commandments we will have “the right to the tree of life and can enter through the gates into the city.”
Despite what many preachers and churches are teaching today, I want to make it very clear that these verses are not teaching that you can get to heaven based on what you do. Many people believe that if your good works outweigh your bad ones that in the end you will get into heaven. This is absolutely not taught in the Bible. You do not get into heaven because of what you do, but because of what you are in Christ. Jesus made it very clear that He was the only way of salvation (John 14:6). When you receive Him as your Lord and Savior you become a “new creation” and you have His righteousness! Which means you have a right standing before a Holy God based solely on your position in Christ! Works cannot remove your sins. Only the blood of Jesus can do that. Titus 3:4-7 says: “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Also read Ephesians 2:8-9.
So what does it means that if we do His commandments we have a right to the tree of life? I believe it means that doing His commandments is proof that we have truly been saved! In John 14:21, Jesus tells us that keeping His commandments is proof of our love for Him. If we are truly saved, His love will be in us and we will want to do whatever He wants us to do. May the Lord help us to live for Him today!