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“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” – Revelation 22:17

     THOUGH WE FIND in the Bible a great many invitations, there is perhaps none so precious, none so glorious, none so golden, as that contained in Revelation 22:17. This blessed text features three separate usages of the word “come”, signifying the remarkable importance God places upon this term by lodging it not once, not twice, but thrice in the final chapter of the final book of the sacred canon. Through such tender repetitions does the Father of lights propound this wonderful invitation from His throne of grace to the ends of the earth, ceaselessly beckoning His dearest creatures to emerge from the blackness of sin and wash themselves in the precious blood of Christ. They despise and disparage Him, they reject and revile Him, they scorn and scourge Him, and yet He still calls, and yet He still waits, ever patient, ever merciful, ever loving, ever proclaiming, “Come, come, come!”

The questions which naturally follow this verse concern themselves with why such an invitation is even necessary. What has so parched the throats of men that they need the water of life? From what, and by who, must they be saved? And what peril awaits them if they perish without having put this marvelous elixir to their lips? These are not mere philosophical inquiries, useful only to the scholarly and sophisticated. They are not universal mysteries, impenetrable but to the erudite and savant. They are real questions, with real answers which every man may easily discover.

How may these answers then be procured? As God cannot lie (Titus 1:2), and as the Word of God is truth (John 17:17), it follows that only truth may be found in the Scriptures which Christ so commanded men to search. And if you do search the Scriptures, you will find that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). You will find that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), that the soul that sinneth, it shall die (Ezekiel 18:20). You will find that eternal torment in the Lake of Fire awaits those who reject Christ (Revelation 20:15). In short, you will find these answers do not constitute mere opinions or speculations; they embody realities no amount of human effort, no sincerity of human conduct, no quantity of human righteousness, can alter. O sinner, can you not see that your violation of God’s holy law has left you fallen and guilty before your Sovereign? Can you not see it has damned you to an eternity in the blazes of hellfire, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched? Can you not see it has provided you with nothing but filthy rags of righteousness which are wholly insufficient to discharge your sin debts and justify you before your Maker? For if you realize your inability to liberate yourself from this wretched plight, you can but wail, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of death?”

But seek and ye shall find an answer to that despondent inquiry, for the Scriptures do not solely speak of this sober condemnation. The Scriptures also speak of a God Who is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). They speak of a God Who will reason together with His creatures, so that though their sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool (Isaiah 1:18). They speak of a God Who so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Yet God does not merely love “the world”, for what good would such love be if it were not directed to you? God loves you, dear reader. God loves you, individually. God loves you, immeasurably. God loves you, invariably. God always has loved you, and God always will love you. Your vilest sins cannot repulse God’s love any more than your noblest deeds can attract it, for His love, in addition to being well beyond the comprehension of the feeble human intellect, is likewise unshackled by the nonsensical fetters men place upon their love in demanding others satisfy certain conditions before they may receive it. And out of this boundless love, He has provided for you a gift He did not have to provide – the precious water of life. Your King stands before you at this very hour, holding forth that blessed liquid purchased with the life of His Son, and earnestly beseeching you to take of it freely. “Behold,” says He, “I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

With this background now established, I move to the text verse of this treatise: “And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely”. I shall first address the recipient of these loving calls, for what bliss, what rapture, what sublimity abound in that dulcet phrase, “whosoever will”! The advocates of that fashionable heresy called Calvinism may balk at this verse, and attempt to delude its truth with their tidal waves of Orwellian sophistry. They may aim to convince you “whosoever” does not mean “whosoever”, that “will” does not mean “will”, that only an elected few may take the heavenly elixir so described. But mind them not. The invitation is to all men, in all stations, in all places, in all ages. It is extended to the pauper as readily as it is to the prince. It is provided to the proud as facilely as it is to the humble. It is made available to the profligate as to the frugal, to the indolent as to the industrious, to the foolish as to the wise, to the lame as to the well. The everlasting Father has offered the water of life to all men, and there is none so wicked, none so wretched, none so vile, but that this invitation applies to them.

God is no respecter of persons. He has not, in His infinite wisdom and matchless goodness, established a capricious system of two-tiered justice like the mortals who accuse him of such. He is not arbitrary in His judgements nor fickle in His sovereignty. He sent His Son to be the Savior of the world so that all men through Him might have life, and He earnestly wishes for all men through Him to have life. Therefore, O sinner, it is upon you to choose whether or not to take the water of life. Will you refuse the merits of your Redeemer? Will you reject the grace of your Savior? Or will you contrariwise take the fluid which can rehydrate your weary soul and quench your spiritual thirst? If you will take it, you can take it, and, in so doing, obtain that precious gift which the Son of God died so that you might have. Whosoever will can take the water of life freely.

I next come to the word “will”. It may be anathema in our “enlightened” age to suggest that men have free wills which make them accountable for their own decisions, but free wills they do have. Perhaps no endowment speaks to the incalculable goodness of God more than His giving man a free will which He knew would be exercised in rebellion against Him, for as the Almighty will not make men robots, neither does He interfere upon their free will; neither does He consign them to the whims of predestination; neither does He damn the majority to hellfire and elect the remnant to Paradise. No, where men spend eternity is a choice they must make for themselves, and, for divers reasons, most are unwilling to make the right choice. Perhaps they say they have no sin, and deceive their own selves. Perhaps they scoff at the very mention of God, sin, and hell, walking after their own lusts. Perhaps they spurn the exclusivity of the Gospel to trumpet “other paths” to “truth” and “light” and “life”. But Christ is THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life, and no man cometh unto the Father but by Him.

Ever in vain do they toil to separate eternal life from the only Giver of it. What anguish, what drudgery, what travail they would save themselves if only they realized men who will not receive the Savior cannot receive His free gift, for the two are inextricably linked. As the good Book says, he that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. Yet since Adam’s fall, man has tirelessly labored to emancipate the latter from the former, concocting labyrinthic and fluctuating systems of merit which promise immortality to those who suitably satisfy them. How lamentable that men will trust the transient, conflicting words of dead mortals who knew nothing of and cared nothing for them, but they will not trust the eternal, infallible, living Words of the living God Who so loved them He sent His only begotten Son to die for their sins! They will have every way but the narrow way, every path but the right path, every light but the right Light. They will have error when they could have truth, they will have darkness when they could have light, and, ultimately, they will have death when they could have life. Many shall be called, but few chosen, and how bitterly true the Proverb be, that there is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

Now, then, I come to the water of life itself. You wonder what is this blessed liquid which thirsty souls may imbibe? You inquire what is this sacred fluid which may disannul the law of sin and death? It is salvation. It is eternal life. It is that glorious fountain, filled with blood, drawn from Immanuel’s veins, where sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains. To listen to many preachers, one would imagine salvation to be a sort of honorary medal, bestowed only in exchange for faithful service and righteous devotion. But it is nothing of the kind. It is not a reward for righteous living, for it is not of works, lest any man should boast. It is not crafted for “the worthy”, for never has there been, and never will there be, a man worthy of the grace of God. No, reader, salvation is not a reward to be earned; it is a gift to be received. It is the gift of God, purchased with the precious blood of Christ. Salvation is not “doing your best”, but having the righteousness of the Dearest and Best imputed so that you can be justified before God. And unlike the false “salvation” which men and their religions trumpet, Christ’s free gift of eternal life is for the unholy and the ungodly, for the guilty and the godless, for the despicable and the despairing, for the vengeful and the vile. If you will but receive it, you can have it. And once you have it, it can never be taken from you.

Lastly, in the text, we find the melodious adverb “freely”. What a blessed word, what a dulcet word, what a glorious word the Savior appended to this verse! “Freely” means simply that – freely, without merit, without effort, without consideration for what is or is not deserved. Do not be dismayed by the twisted theology of men of corrupt minds who insist you must do something apart from trusting Christ to be saved. Grace and works are incompatible (Romans 11:6), and since the water of life is a gift from God, you need not give Him anything in exchange for it. You need not pledge yourself to Christ henceforth to take the water of life. You need not confess and vacate your sins to take the water of life. You need not commit to a life of self-denial and discipleship to take the water of life. You need not make Jesus Christ “Lord of your life” to take the water of life. You need not pray a magical formula of words to take the water of life. You need do nothing but look to Jesus, the Lover of your soul. For so says He Who paid your sin debt in full, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”

How may you then look unto Him? Know you are a lost sinner who deserves to go to Hell for sinning against a holy God. Believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died at Calvary for your sins, was buried, and bodily resurrected on the third day. Trust Him, and Him alone, for salvation with all your heart. Such is easy. Such is simple. Such is free. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.

O sinner, cease from these futile attempts to earn favor with God. Cease from these fruitless efforts to obtain His mercy. Cease from these unavailing endeavors to merit His salvation. If you cannot add one cubit to your stature, how then can you expect to make yourself righteous before God Almighty? You cannot save yourself. You are asked to do nothing of the kind. Contrariwise, you are invited to the banquet of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, to be washed in the spotless blood of the Lamb, and take freely the precious water of life. Come, now, and take this holy water. Receive this sacred fluid bereft of the toxins and chemicals which so pollute the water this earthly tabernacle imbibes. You have wearied yourself in consuming the world’s wastewater. You have fatigued yourself in sipping the muck of sin’s mire. You have tortured yourself in drinking the sordid sewage of iniquity. Abstain hence from those foul fluids, and take freely the precious, pure, living water – without devotion, without effort, without works, and simply by faith in Christ. Only bliss can redound from quenching your thirst with this glorious elixir, for as our Lord so declared, “he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”


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