A Study of Revelation 22:17
“And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Revelation 22:17)
The Lord Jesus teaches us, that He is the way to the Father’s house, and that no one cometh unto the Father, but by Him (John 14:6). And Christ is able to save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by him (Heb. 7:25).
O, indeed, we must come to God. Whosoever will may come, means “whosoever will come to GOD may come to Him.” We must come to God, not merely in order to obtain salvation, but to come to Him is salvation. It is not merely a means to an end, it is the end itself. We must come to God who is GOD, that is, not to a god of our own imagination, which is always an idol, but to the true and living God, as He reveals Himself to us in His Word. To God we must come, who dwelleth in the light that no man can approach unto; who is a light, and there is no darkness in Him at all; who is good, that is, the fullness of all infinite perfections, righteousness, holiness, truth, and grace, and in whose presence there is fullness of joy, pleasures forevermore! To God we must come, who is too pure of eyes to behold iniquity, who loveth the righteous, but who is angry with the wicked every day, and who is a consuming fire, the great, the glorious, the terrible God! We must come to Him, that is, we must enter into His blessed fellowship, into the secrets of His friendship, into His most intimate communion, so that we dwell in His house as friends with their Friend, taste that He is good, know Him as we are known, see Him face to face, walk with Him and talk with Him, love Him as we are loved, have our delight in His will, and glorify His name forevermore. Oh yes, to be saved is to be delivered from hell, provided you understand that the torture of hell is exactly that there one feels the wrath of God, and his being utterly forsaken by Him! To be saved, to be sure, is to go to heaven, and heaven is a beautiful place, a glorious house with many mansions, a new creation, and a new Jerusalem, with streets of gold and pearly gates, provided you understand that the heart of it all, and the very essence of it all is that God is there, the Father, and that there we shall forever walk in the light of the glory of God that fills the city! For to know God is life eternal (John 17:3). To come to God: that is our salvation!
“To live apart from God is death;
‘Tis good His face to seek.”
And this stands to reason.
Man was originally so created that this true knowledge of and perfect fellowship with the ever living God is his very life, and that apart from this blessed fellowship there is no life, but only death and hell for him. In his very being he was so constituted that his nature was adapted to bear the image of God, to be, in a creaturely sense and measure, like God. And not only so, but with the likeness of God he was endowed. After the image of God, in true knowledge of God, in perfect righteousness, in spotless holiness, he was created. And thus he was capable of knowing God, of dwelling in His blessed fellowship of friendship, of loving Him and being loved, and of serving Him in freedom with all his heart and mind and soul and strength. That was man’s life and bliss.
But man did not regard his bliss. He departed from the living God. He disregarded His Word, to heed the word of the devil. He violated God’s covenant and transgressed His commandment. He proposed to seek his life and bliss far from the living God. And he became guilty, the object of God’s just wrath, damnable and liable to death. The death sentence was executed upon him. He became darkness, corrupt in heart and mind, a slave of sin and of the devil, an enemy of God. That is man’s misery. And, therefore, to God, to the living God, he must return, and to come again to Him is his salvation. Whosoever will may come, indeed, provided you understand that this means nothing less than to come to the living God!
But how shall we come to God? We may not come to Him, for we are guilty because of our sins, we can only increase our guilt daily, and we have lost every right to dwell in the Father’s house. We are exiles from the home of Father, neither have we the right to return. We dare not come to God, for He is holy and righteous, and He is terribly displeased with sin and with the workers of iniquity. How dare we come to Him who is a consuming fire? We cannot come to God, for we are corrupt by nature, and the natural man is enmity against God. With God is the eternal light, and we love the darkness rather than the light. And because of our foolishness and hatred of God, we will not come to Him, but seek our happiness far from Him in the way of iniquity. How, then, shall we come to the living God and be saved?
The answer to this question is: God has revealed Himself as the God of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord! Hence, the answer to the question: to whom must we come? has not changed; it still is: we must come to God, to the living God; but it has assumed a new form: we must come to God through Jesus Christ, for He is able to save to the uttermost those that come to God by Him! To Jesus we must come, in order to come to God! For Jesus is the revelation of the God of our salvation!