“The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come’. And let the one who hears say, ‘Come’. And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price” (Revelation 22:17).
HAVING SEPARATED OURSELVES FROM GOD, WE NEED TO COME BACK TO HIM. By His grace, in the death of His Son on our behalf, He has made it possible for us to come back. By accepting the gospel, we can be baptized into Christ’s death and receive the forgiveness of our sins (Romans 6:3–5). And as Paul said, “if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his” (v.5). But the question is: will we do this? Will we make the decision to receive what God is offering? He invites us, but what will we do?
All that stands between us and God’s mercy is our stubborn will, our persistent refusal to accept His invitation. The Book of Revelation, the last book in the Scriptures, ends by emphasizing the desire of God for everyone to come and partake of the salvation He has provided. The fifth-from-the-last verse in the last chapter of that hopeful book says, “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.”
We accept this invitation when we repent of our sins, confess our faith, and are baptized into Christ. As a child, I heard Charlotte Homer’s hymn sung often as an “invitation song,” inviting people, at the end of a sermon, to come and obey the gospel. “Hear the invitation, come, whosoever will; praise God for full salvation, for whosoever will.” Powerful words, these. And we are the losers if we have heard them so often they have lost their appeal.
In its most far-reaching application, Revelation 22:17 is an invitation to drink of the “water of life” in eternity. There is no conflict of meaning here — we drink of this water now, as a foretaste, but it will also be ours to enjoy in eternity, in an even greater sense. But we need to bear this in mind: only in the here and now can we accept God’s invitation. When this life is over, it will be too late for us to decide that, yes, we would like to enjoy the water of life.
Hear the invitation,
Come, whosoever will;
Praise God for full salvation,
For whosoever will.
(Charlotte G. Homer)