Christís promises are not for the people who care only about their own selfish desires. These promises are not for the people who only want to impress other people. The promises are not for the people who are unwilling to confess their evil deeds to him. They are not for the people who do not want him to change their lives.
His promises are for the Christians who overcome. In other words, by means of his death for them, and their trust in him, they serve him loyally. God has forgiven their evil deeds; that is the meaning of the white clothes (see my note on verse 4).
The book of life appears here and in Revelation 21:27. It is a record of the names of the citizens in the New Jerusalem. The names of all Godís people appear in that record. It is called the book of life because Godís people will live always with him (John 3:16).
Christ also promises that he will declare the names of his loyal people in front of God the Father. He will declare them to be his people. This promise also appears in Matthew 10:32. Hebrews 2:11 says that Christ is not ashamed to call them his brothers. Their relationship with God is real; they are members of Christís family (Mark 3:31-35). So, they have the right always to live with him (22:3-5).
At the end of the letter to Sardis, Christ again urges everyone to listen and to obey. The situation in the church there was terrible, but Christ still urged the people there to turn back to him. He still cared about them, although he had to warn them very severely. He even had promises for them. However, they could only receive the benefit of those promises if they turned back to him.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.