A White Stone

I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it. – Revelation 2:17

Our Lord’s message to the church at Pergamum has a curious reference to “a new name” written on “a white stone” (Revelation 2:17). What could this mean?

There are two plausible explanations. In an ancient court of law, when defendants were condemned, they received a black stone with their name on it. If they were acquitted, they received a white stone. Similarly, those who have trusted Jesus Christ for salvation will receive an acquittal from the judgment of God. What a relief it is to know that our sins are forgiven!

Another explanation comes from the ancient olympic games. When athletes won, they were awarded a white stone, which was a token of honor.

Together, these illustrations show us the wonderful balance of the Christian life. We are saved by grace through faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). Yet obedient Christians often struggle as they seek to serve the One who saved them. One explanation of the white stone is a picture of unearned acquittal. The other shows that we will be rewarded for acts of good works (1 Corinthians 3:13-14).

Trusting Christ for salvation gives us a new identity. It’s like receiving a new name written on a white stone, which shows that we are forgiven—completely.

Dennis Fisher

We’re saved by grace through faith alone,
Good works can have no part;
But God rewards each loving deed
That’s done with all our heart.
 

D. De Haan

Jesus removes our sin and rewards our service.
 

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