He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” –Revelation 21:-6-8
God proclaims that he has completed his new creation… “It is done”. The name of God… “The Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.” His name emphasize his absolute authority and control over the cosmos, his creation.
Salvation is beautifully depicted by the image of drinking at the spring of life. God invites those who sense their need and are drawn toward him to come. Nothing is required except to come and drink.
Those who respond to this invitation and remain loyal to Christ as over-comers will inherit all the new things of the city of God. They will be God’s children, and he will be their Father. This is the essence of salvation– unending, intimate relationship with God himself.
A choice confronts us. This choice must be made because there are two cities: the city of God and the city of Babylon, each with its inhabitants and its destiny. Those who drink from salvation’s springs supplied by God himself are true followers of Christ. The “cowardly” are those who fear persecution arising from faith in Christ. Not having steadfast endurance, they are devoid of faith. Thus they are linked by John to the “unbelieving” and “vile.” They are called “murderers” because they are guilty of the death of the saints. The sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars are those associated with idolatrous practices. By their own choice, Babylon is their eternal home.
Eternal punishment awaits all who do not believe and obey. God is love. Love is his very nature. But this love cannot supersede his righteous judgment. He will judge everyone according to truth and justice. We can be so taken up with the love and compassion of God that we overlook his implacable opposition to all evil. The wrath of God is not a popular subject today, but it looms large in biblical teaching. We overlook this wrath only at our peril. Heaven is the goodness of God. Hell is the severity of God. No ungodly person can bribe the holy, the just and the righteous God out of his or her punishment in the eternal fire. Eternity is a long time to make the wrong choice.
The rich man found himself in a fiery place of torment. Lazarus found himself in the bosom of Abraham. There were ten maidens waiting for the arrival of the Bridegroom. Only five of them could not enter the Wedding Feast. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when the Day of Judgment will come. It will be as in the days of Noah.
“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.”
Be firm, hold fast the faith, confess Christ to the last, and at all hazards, and you will have a crown of life. You will be crowned with life and have an eternal happy existence, though he may suffer and die a temporal death.
It is said of Polycarp that when he was commanded to reject and blaspheme Christ, he firmly answered, “Eighty and six years have I served him, and he never did me wrong, how then can I blaspheme my king who hath saved me?” He was burnt alive. He suffered cheerfully and died for Christ his Lord and Master.