By Clarence L. Haynes Jr., Crosswalk.com
If there is one thing most believers know it is that one day we will all stand before the Lord. Hebrews reminds us that it is appointed unto man once to die and after that judgment.
One of the stipulations of this judgment is whether your name is written in the Lamb’s book of life or not. Since this is so important it makes sense to learn about the book of life and discover if there are facts about the book of life that should change how we live.
3 Facts about the Book of Life:
Before we jump into the facts, I want to make sure we are all on the same page in understanding what the book of life is. The book of life is where the names of those who have given their life to Christ and who belong to him are recorded.
In a way, you can think of it as a heavenly guest list, where those whose names are on the list are given access to the kingdom of heaven. I know that is a very simple analogy, but it sets the framework for understanding more facts about the book of life.
1. Names Are Recorded Now, Not Later
Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life. – Philippians 4:3
However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. – Luke 10:20
Jesus and Paul are making clear statements that those whose names are in the book of life are recorded there now. If you belong to Christ, your name is recorded in heaven this very moment and this happens right from the moment of salvation. This reality speaks to a bigger point that can be overlooked.
Your eternal life or condemnation doesn’t begin when you die it begins now. Those whose names are in the book of life, walk in the assurance of eternal life right now. Those whose names are not there are already condemned.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. – John 3:17-18
As Jesus has declared if you do not believe you are already condemned. By the time we get to the book of life, your fate has already been determined. I want to be clear that God doesn’t decide your fate, you do. What God does is simply give you the result of your decision.
If you choose to believe your name will be found in the book of life. If you choose not to believe, then you will be condemned.
2. The Book of Life Is Not the Only Book
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. – Revelation 20:12
Revelation reminds us that there is more than one book. One set of books records, the other book reveals. This judgment mentioned here in Revelation is also referred to as the Great White Throne Judgment. During this judgment people will be judged according to their own deeds and actions, not anyone else’s as recorded in the books.
The second book which is mentioned is the book of life, which reveals who will have access to eternal life. On that day you won’t know the names of those who are in the book you will only want to make sure your name is in the book because that is all that will matter.
3. There Is a Great Price to Pay If Your Name Is Not There
Ultimately there is an enormous price to pay if your name is not found in the book of life.
Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. – Revelation 20:15
This is possibly one of the most sobering scriptures in all the Bible because of the consequences of your name not being found in the book of life. If you just read that verse by itself, you might miss how the ones who are not in the book of life got to this place. Here is how Jesus describes these people.
But as for the cowards and unbelieving and abominable [who are devoid of character and personal integrity and practice or tolerate immorality], and murderers, and sorcerers [with intoxicating drugs], and idolaters and occultists [who practice and teach false religions], and all the liars [who knowingly deceive and twist truth], their part will be in the lake that blazes with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. – Revelation 21:8 (AMP)
For those whose names are not found in the book of life, there is one central theme to the way they lived. They have chosen to reject Christ and have chosen to go their own way. Unfortunately for those who choose this route, there is no good or happy ending for them.
How Should These Facts about the Book of Life Change the Way You Live?
As you consider the hope that is found in the fact that your name is recorded in the book of life I want to encourage to do three simple things.
Live holy. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. – 1 John 3:2-3
Live worthy. As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. – Ephesians 4:1-3
Live certainly. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. -- 2 Peter 1:10-11
How Can You Be Certain?
You might be wondering how you can be certain if your name is in the Lamb’s book of life or not. There is only one way you can be sure and that is by putting your faith in Jesus Christ.
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. – 1 John 5:11-12
If you have the Son today in your heart, then rejoice your name is written in the Lamb’s book of life. You can go forward in life with this confidence and when you have this assurance then there is only one thing left to do. Live holy, live worthy and live certainly and make sure to represent well the one to whom you belong.
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Aramyan
Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club. He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. He has also just released his new book The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. Do you want to go deeper in your walk with the Lord but can’t seem to overcome the stuff that keeps getting in the way? This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.