v.14-15 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. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
One last time a clear distinction is drawn between those who will occupy New Jerusalem and those who will not. Those who do His commandments will enter New Jerusalem and find blessing at the tree of life, whereas all others will have no place inside the city.
Though the blessing appears to be contingent upon one’s ability to keep the commandments of God — as if man must work to make himself perfect to enter heaven — that would be a contradiction to Scriptural teaching.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph.2:8-9)
To “do His commandments” concerns our desire, not our ability. One who is born again can desire to obey God and fail (check—Rom.7:14-25), whereas another who is not saved may possess the ability but lack desire (check—Mark 10:17-22). In other words, this promised blessing is made to believers not because they managed to keep the commandments, but because their saving faith in Jesus Christ has prompted them with a desire to do His commandments. As one commentator writes “Not to our doings, but to what He has done for us, founded, not on our merits, but on God’s grace.”
Bear in mind, dear ones, that we are all sinners with a sinful nature that continues to war against us (check—Rom.7:23). So it is not a sinful nature that separates us from the unbeliever; rather it is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit we received when we accepted Christ as our Savior (Rom.8:11). We are separate from the unbeliever because we have two natures. Therefore, through Jesus Christ we struggle to delight more in God than in sinful activity (see—Rom.7:25); and no such struggle exists in the unbeliever.
v.16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches, I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
It should be noted that there has been no direct mention of the Church since the completion of the letters to the seven churches (Rev.2-3). Beginning in Chapter four, and throughout the Tribulation, the Church has only been referred to indirectly, and only as it was seen in heaven, not on earth.
In this final briefing to John, however, with the Revelation almost complete, Jesus reminds John that the Revelation is to be taught to the Church. To which He adds His two great titles “the Root and the Offspring of David” and “the Bright and Morning Star” to qualify His sovereign right to do so as both the Messiah of Israel and the Lord of the Church.
“…that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil.2:10-11)
v.17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. And whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
This passage is both a plea and an invitation. As the Church pleas for Christ to return to the world, yet it longs for the world to come to Christ.
“And let him who thirsts come. And whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” The greatest invitation ever extended unto man is God’s call to “Come!” The greatest assurance to those who come is that none will be denied (John 6:37), and for those who “thirst” that they may come and take of the water of life freely and be saved (see also—John 4:10, 14).