In writing down the revelation of what will take place in the era leading up to the return of Jesus, John does not always give us a direct application of his words. Today’s passage, however, does feature a direct application. Revelation 4:12 explicitly calls believers to endure in keeping God’s commandments and trusting in Christ.
Of course, today’s passage is not the first time Scripture calls God’s people to endure. For instance, Jesus tells us not to give up when people hate us for following Him because “the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matt. 10:22). We need these calls to endure because in the present, we live by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). Anyone who has been a Christian for a period of time understands how this world can wear on believers. Although we experience many blessings, we also face much suffering. The church so often seems weak and unwilling to deal with the sin in its midst. Believers are openly mocked and even in some places imprisoned and killed. Life’s demands and the temptation of immoral behavior just to get ahead are real. We can find ourselves thinking that we would be better off leaving Christ when the negatives seem to outweigh the positives. Thus, we need exhortations to endure in faith, which the Spirit uses to keep us in faith. Knowing that Jesus has conquered all His and our enemies motivates us to endure. Despite any appearance to the contrary, we are not on the losing side. We will celebrate the eternal victory of our Savior. That is why we press on. That is why we endure—to be with our Lord and enjoy His blessing forever (Rev. 21).
Revelation 4:13 confirms the blessedness of enduring or persevering in faith. Those who die “in the Lord” are blessed because “their deeds follow them.” Here we find one of the many places where Scripture tells us that our good deeds will be rewarded. Our good works do not earn heaven for us; we possess eternal life only because of the work of Christ. But the Lord has saved us to do good works, and He rewards us for the good that we do in the name of Jesus (Matt. 5:11–12; Eph. 2:8–10). As Westminster Confession of Faith 16.6 puts it, “The persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in him; not as though they were in this life wholly unblamable and unreprovable in God’s sight; but that he, looking upon them in his Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.”