“He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”
He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments
The Holy Spirit contrasts the “white garments” of this verse with the “soiled garments” of the previous verse. God gives “white garments” to those who walk consistently before Him. Note the previous verse where some in the church “defiled” their garments by stepping out of fellowship with the Lord. The “white” dazzling garments set apart the remnant as those true to the Lord when others were yielding to sin all around them.
“White” garments are a symbol of the righteousness lives of people who lived for God. These are the robes of spiritual fruit. This is reward for fellowship with the Lord.
Re 19:8, “And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”
We also wear the robes of Jesus Himself, the righteousness of God Himself. We stand eternally acceptable to God because Jesus paid for every sin. He suffered all that needs to be suffered for our sins. God judged all sins at the cross.
and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life
The words “blot out” come from one compound Greek word: out and to wipe. Metaphorically, this word carries the ideas of removal, to wipe away, wipe off, erase, obliterate. Acts 3:19 uses this word for our sins.
Ac 3:19, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord…”
Co 2:14, “…having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross [obliterating a written record].”
Rev. 7:17, “…for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Rev 21:4, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
John refers to the Book of Life six times in Revelation (Re 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27).
Does the idea of blotting out a name from the Book of Life imply loss of salvation? There is the Book of Life, and then there is the Lamb’s Book of Life. These are different books. The Book of Life is the book of physical life. The Lamb’s Book of Life is the book of eternal life. When we are born the first time, God places our names in the Book of Life. When we are born the second time, God places us in the book of eternal life, a register, and roll of all who shall inherit eternal life. When we die, God blots us out of the Book of Life. God never blots our names out of the Lamb’s Book of life.
Ex 32:31-32, “Then Moses returned to the Lord and said, ‘Oh, these people have committed a great sin, and have made for themselves a god of gold!’ 32 ‘Yet now, if You will forgive their sin—but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written.”’”
Moses asks God to kill him. He asks God to take him out of the book of physical life. Jesus will physically blot out the life of those who do not gain victory in their spiritual lives. This letter is a challenge to the church of Sardis. The context deals with an active church with many ministries and a church that is devoid of spiritual fruit. Therefore, Jesus will blot this church out of existence if she does not repent. This passage in context does not deal with salvation but with a church out of phase with God.
The implication that we can lose our salvation infers that works justifies us. This falls short of by faith alone, by grace alone. Salvation is free, a gift of God based on Christ’s death for our sins (Eph 2:8-9).
but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels
Jesus will confess these names before the Father and His angels. He will do this as the one who paid for their sins. “Confess” means to acknowledge. When we stand before God, Jesus will acknowledge that we served Him faithfully and will publicly recognize that faithfulness to the Father.
If we did not become Christians by good works, we cannot become non-Christians again by bad works.
What does this passage mean by the idea that Jesus will “never” blot out his name from the Book of Life? It obviously does not mean that he can never lose his salvation, for John clarifies that in other passages (Jn 5:24; 6:35-37, 39; 10:28-29; Ro. 8:38-39).
If we did not become Christians by good works, we cannot become non-Christians by bad works. God bases our salvation on the finished work of Christ, not on our works. A person can never have the security of eternal life by what he does; he can only have eternal security based on what Christ did.