The White Stone
If the Lord casts
His vote for us, no one
else’s vote matters
While Romans 3 deals with the fact of justification, to show how we can be accounted as righteous before God, Romans 4 deals with the experience of justification; this is a matter of our daily living and of the fulfillment of God’s purpose in our lives.
So, in Romans 4 Paul uses the example of Abraham having a son to show that, for us to be justified in our experience, Christ must be produced from within us, just as Isaac was produced from within Abraham. (See“Romans 4: Christ Brought Forth from Within Us”). Such a living will be approved, or “justified,” by God, which is a further step in His work of justification (Rom. 4:22).
This aspect of justification relates to the promise the Lord makes in Revelation to the overcomers in Pergamos. To them He says:
“To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And 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
The promise here, like all those made to the overcomers in Revelation 2-3, is for the faithful believers, the ones who “overcome”; it is not for the believers in general. Thus, the “white stone” in this verse is not speaking of our objective justification, of our standing before God, but of our living a life that is approved by God.
Recently I happened to notice something about the Greek word here for “stone” (pay’-fos, Strong’s #5586) that greatly impressed me. It is only used one other place in the New Testament, and that is when Paul is testifying before King Agrippa and Festus. Paul is explaining how, before he was saved, he persecuted the saints. He then adds:
“When they were put to death, I cast my vote against them.”
— Acts 26:10
Because the Greek word for “vote” here is the same as the word used for “stone” in Revelation, this verse could be translated:
“I cast my stone against them.”
Thayer’s Greek Lexicon explains that this word is used in this way because,
…In the ancient courts of justice the accused were condemned by black pebbles and acquitted by white.
So, when the Lord promises the overcomers that He will give them a “white stone,” He is saying that, in the heavenly court of justice, He Himself will “cast His vote,” His “stone,” on their behalf.
What an honor this would be, for the Lord Himself to say “I approve of your living!” I long for such a living, one that will move the Lord to cast His “white stone” on my behalf!
And surely if He does, no one else’s vote could ever count against me.
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— 6 April 2022 —