“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16:11)
“Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Rev. 3:4–6).
The church at Sardis was dead and defiled both, but not all of them. There were a few names there—and note the force of the word “few”—who had not defiled their garments. The implication is that the rest of them had defiled their garments. A contrast is set up between the undefiled garments now and the white garments they would be given in the future. Because they kept their garments clean in the present, they would walk with the Lord in white in the future. The reason they would walk in white is because they are worthy, and they are overcomers.
It is also promised that their names will not be blotted out of the book of life. If the implication is that some names are blotted out of the book of life, then this means that the book of life is the book of the covenant, and not the book of election. If the book of life is the book of election, then the emphasis should be on the fact that the promise is that their names would not be blotted out of it.
Given how the phrase is used elsewhere in Scripture, it would be best to take it as referring to decretal election. Paul rejoices in certain fellow-workers of his, “whose names are in the book of life” (Phil. 4:3). Later in Revelation, those who behold the beast in wonder are described as those whose names were not written down in the book of life (Rev. 17:8). And those who are truly saved, destined for Heaven, are those who names are written then (Rev. 21:27). That which accompanies “not blotting” out names is for the Lord to confess those names to His Father, and to the Father’s angels.
Those who have been given an ear to hear should make a point of hearing what the Spirit of God says to the churches. In Sardis, there were only a few.