Revelation 3:1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works; you have a name of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God. 3 Remember then what you received and heard; obey it, and repent. If you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. 4 Yet you have still a few persons in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes; they will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. 5 If you conquer, you will be clothed like them in white robes, and I will not blot your name out of the book of life; I will confess your name before my Father and before his angels. 6 Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
There’s a lot to comment upon in this passage but I’ll focus on the part that most got my attention, verses 2-5. What challenges me about these verses is the salvation theology included, which suggests one’s place in the “book of life” is dependent on one’s actions/performance/works: “If you do not wake up…” (v.3) and “If you conquer…” (v.5). This pushes against orthodox Protestant Christian theology which teaches that salvation is entirely a gift of God’s grace fulfilled by Jesus’ death and resurrection. If there is a performative dimension to my salvation from sin and death I am in big trouble. In that spirit then I leave you with two verses that bring me peace when I doubt myself and place before God. I pray they may do the same for you:
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— 9 not the result of works, so that no one may boast.
Lord let it be so. Amen.