Sometimes the most seemingly insignificant words in the Bible carry the greatest, indeed eternal impact. That is certainly the case in Revelation 7. There we read:
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Rev. 7:13-17).
The critically important word is actually two words in the Greek text that are translated as one word in English. It is the word “therefore” that opens v. 15. It is John’s way of alerting us to the reason or cause or ground on which these people are before the throne of God. This is John’s way of describing the basis on which otherwise hell-deserving sinners are granted the incredible blessings in vv. 15-17.
This word points us back to the last sentence in v. 14. In other words, the only reason why these people are before the throne of God and enjoy these remarkable blessings is because “they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
Stop for a moment and ask yourself this eternally important question. If you are confident that in eternity future you will stand joyfully “before the throne of God” and enjoy these incredible blessings, on what basis do you believe this? What is the ground for your hope? What is the cause that accounts for this? To what or to whom would you point and say: “That’s why.”
If your answer is: “It is because I’ve lived a fairly decent life on earth. I’ve done the very best I could. I tried to be a good father, mother, son, daughter, friend, and employee. I’ve been really sincere in my religious life. I attended church on a fairly regular basis. I was baptized and I partake of the Lord’s Supper and I’m a covenant member of my local church. Yeah, that’s why I anticipate standing before the throne of God.”
If that is your answer, I pity you. More than that, I appeal to you to look at the reason John gives. The only reason anyone in any age or anywhere on earth can have hope of standing before the throne of God is because by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of Jesus. Have you? Well, have you?