Written records provide evidence of what has happened, make commitments permanent, and in Scripture serve to confirm the surety of a promise (Ex. 17:14–16; Isa. 8). So, when God tells John in today’s passage to write down “these things” that he has seen (Rev. 21:5), He is emphasizing that all that John has seen will surely take place. The book of Revelation itself, then, is one piece of evidence that what it reports is true. The same is true for the rest of Scripture, whose very existence is one testimony to its truth.
The certainties to which Revelation testifies includes the promise that God is “making all things new” (v. 5). Our Creator will not leave His creation in its present state of fallenness forever; rather, He will bring a new heaven and earth free of the curse, as we have seen (vv. 1–4). But we do not have to wait until the end to get a taste of this new world, for even in the present He is beginning to make things new. In Christ, after all, we are new creations (2 Cor. 5:17). Our renewal by the Spirit and increasing conformity to Jesus is a foretaste of the complete restoration to come.
We have no doubt that this new world will come because God Himself has said, “It is done!” As the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, He has decreed the end from the beginning and cannot fail to bring His promises to pass (Rev. 21:6; see Isa. 46:8–10). He will provide to those who thirst after righteousness the free gift of eternal living water that satisfies their souls (Rev. 21:6; see John 4:10–15). But this gift comes not to those who merely make a profession of faith but to those who conquer (Rev. 21:7). Thus, the promise of the new creation brings us back to the warnings to the seven churches recorded in Revelation 2–3. Eternal blessedness in the new creation is for those who cling to Christ in faith and turn from compromise with the world, to those who reject idolatry, false teaching, immorality, and all the other sins that the seven churches had to resist to prove that they possessed saving faith and did not follow Jesus in word only.
Those who are not united to Christ, who show it through impenitent sorcery, lying, sexual immorality, idolatry, and the other sins listed in Revelation 21:8, have no part in the blessed new creation. They get the second death, which is eternal conscious punishment. As Matthew Henry comments, these individuals get “what they have justly deserved, what they have in effect chosen, and what they have prepared themselves for by their sins.”