“I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.” – Revelation 2:17
In ancient times they used to decide cases by white and black stones. The judges did not give their verdict upon the prisoner by oral testimony, “guilty,” or “not guilty,” as in our country, but by dropping into an urn a white stone to express their opinion that the prisoner was innocent, or a black stone to declare their judgment that the prisoner was guilty.
The Lord has made use of this figure. He says, “To him who overcomes I will give a white stone;” that is, I will give into his conscience a sentence of acquittal. As the white stone was dropped into the urn, so peace and pardon are dropped into the sinner’s bosom; and just as the judge, when he deposited the white stone in the urn, declared thereby the prisoner’s innocence.
So when the Lord is pleased to speak peace to the soul, he drops into the heart a white stone, to proclaim him discharged from the law’s accusations, and interested in his love and blood.
“And on the stone a new name written.” What is this new name? Is it not a new heart, a new nature–Christ in the soul the hope of glory? This is the “new name which no man knows except he that receives it.” New thoughts of Jesus, new openings up of Scripture, new meltings of heart, new softenings of spirit, everything made new by him who renews us “in the renewing of our mind”–no man knows these things but he who receives them.
It is all between the Lord and the soul, it is all between a pardoning God and a pardoned sinner; it is all mercy, all grace, all love, from first to last. Grace began, grace carries on, and grace finishes it; grace must have all the glory, and grace must crown the work with eternal victory.
– J. C. Philpot