Saturday, May 5, 2012

Once Written, Always Written


On a trip to Washington, DC, a few years ago, I stood in awe in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress, admiring the architectural design and vast spaces that sweep the eye heavenward, the unblemished white marble columns and facades suggesting uprightness and security, the intricately patterned ceilings and floors reflecting great attention to detail, and the ornate sculptures and murals depicting all the fields of knowledge stored in the Library’s volumes. When it first opened in 1897, it was described as the "largest, costliest, and safest" library in the world.

Not to mention the books! The original collection of President Jefferson was somewhat controversial because of the wide range of its content, including foreign language works, religion, philosophy, science, literature and other fields not usually contained in a law library. But Jefferson’s contention was that every topic imaginable could be of potential use to a Congressman at some point in his service. His view was upheld to this day, ever since the copyright law of 1870 mandated that all copyright applicants send two copies of their work to be included in the Library. There are now several specialty galleries, each a definitive library in its own field, including one containing only the Gutenberg Bible and other Bibles of historical importance.

The experience got me thinking about God’s library of books in which he records all the details of our physical and spiritual lives. A dear sister in Christ asked me to teach a Bible lesson on the Book of Life. Specifically, her question was if names of believers are written there permanently, as most verses indicate, or if names can be blotted out, as suggested by other verses.

Under the Law, and subsequently in Old Testament times, God kept books of the living, and to blot someone’s name out of the book represented their physical death (Exodus 32:31-35; Psalm 69:20-29). Both the Old and New Testament refer to other books recording each person’s works, with these deeds forming a basis for rewards or punishments (Malachi 3:16; Isaiah 65:6-7; Daniel 7:9-10; Revelation 20:11-15).

This is similar to, but far more extensive than, kings of old keeping records of their subjects’ services to be rewarded and bad deeds to be judged and punished (Esther 6:1,2; 2:23; Ezra 4:15). God’s books are so complete that He even records our every wandering and our every tear (Psalm 56:8), as well as a complete blueprint of our physical appearance long before we are even born (Psalm 139:16).

In the Old Testament, one’s sinful or disobedient acts could merit physical punishment or even death, but faith in God and obedience to His commandments was counted as righteousness and rewarded with being in Paradise. Salvation was based on faith, on the belief that God is Who He says He is and is worthy of trust and obedience (Hebrews 11: 23-29), even though no one except Jesus was capable of keeping the law perfectly. Jesus Christ, Son of God, had not yet walked the earth in the flesh and had not yet died for our sins, so trusting Him as Savior was not how Old Testament saints were saved.

But after Jesus’ earthly ministry, death, burial and resurrection, the New Testament refers to the Book of Life (Philippians 4:3) containing the names of all those who are saved and who will have eternal life with Christ in Heaven. It is more completely named the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 13:8; 21:27) because it was the blood of the Lamb, Who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29), that redeemed those who are saved. Those names were foreordained and foreknown by God since before the beginning of the world (Romans 8:29-30).

The clear promise of Jesus is to not, for any reason, blot out the names of believers from the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 3:5), but to read their names to God the Father and to the angels. Once a person is born again and places their faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 15), it is not possible for that person to lose their salvation or to have their name removed from the Lamb’s Book of Life (Romans 8:37-39; John 10:28-29).

Conversely, because of God’s foreknowledge of who would reject His freely given offer of salvation (John 3:18-19) to “whosoever” would believe in His Son (John 3:16) as the only way to Heaven (John 14:6), those names were “not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:8) Those unbelievers still living at the Rapture will be left behind, and at the Great White Throne Judgment, those who worshipped the Antichrist (Revelation 13:8; 17:8) will be cast into the lake of fire because their name was not found in the Book of Life (Revelation 20:15).

As extensive and well-preserved as the Library of Congress is, it will one day be burned to a crisp with the rest of the earth (2 Peter 3:10). But there is nothing we can do that would escape God’s attention or His perfect record-keeping system, and those records will last forever. No one may notice what we do on earth, but when believers face Christ in glory, we will experience the joy of hearing Him say “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21,23) for every good deed done with the right motive to glorify Him. Or, we may undergo painful loss as we see some of our works that were praised during our lifetime burn up like hay in the flames, because He saw our wrong motive of pride or self-righteousness (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).

But in His amazing promise we can rest secure – once we place our faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the only way to Heaven, nothing can blot our name out of the Lamb’s Book of Life, because He wrote it there in the indelible ink of His blood since before the foundation of the world! Trust Him as your Lord and Savior today!


© 2012 Laurie Collett


34 comments:

  1. Thanks, Denise! God bless,
    Laurie

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thankfully it is God who keeps the record. As easily as humans misplace and misrecord things, even with computers, we'd never be able to straighten it all out. As II Timothy 1:12 states, "For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."

    ReplyDelete
  3. Amen, dfish! He alone is perfect, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent and faithful. We can trust Him to keep the record straight.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The Future of Last Days is for me very far. It is difficult to remember about this fact all the time, during daily problems and works. But I believe also, that Jesus is coming soon. Today we have problems, diseases and death... But in the future there will be no more that! Greetings for You :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Dear Zim,
    Praise God that Jesus is coming soon, and that He will wipe every tear from our eye!
    Blessings to you,
    Laurie

    ReplyDelete
  6. A very thoughtful, fascinating article. Thank you!

    Paul Coleman www.biblegems-pastorcoleman.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks so much for your encouragement, Pastor Coleman! May you have a blessed Lord's day!
    Laurie

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you for your insight on The Book of Life. I love how you tied in the Library of Congress!

    ReplyDelete
  9. A very good article, especially about the book of life.
    God bless,
    Frank

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm so thankful my name is written there!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I enjoyed this post and was thinking about the statement made that all the world could not contain all the things that Jesus did. My own thoughts were that I wished I could have some of those unwritten books. Actually Jesus is still doing wonders and many books are still being written about those miracles.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks so much, Lisa, for your visit & encouraging comment!
    God bless,
    Laurie

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks Frank, for the kind words! Have a blessed week in Him!
    Laurie

    ReplyDelete
  14. Good point, A Joyful Noise! I think that one of the great pleasures of Heaven will be to have infinite time to hear about all His miracles -- those that were recorded in His Word, those done during His earthly ministry but not recorded, and those He's been doing ever since. And the best part is, we can ask Him to tell us about it face-to-face!
    Love in Him,
    Laurie

    ReplyDelete
  15. So, glad to be know by Him, from before the foundation of the world!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Amen, Joe! Thanks so much for visiting & commenting!
    God bless,
    Laurie

    ReplyDelete
  17. Such a promise we can count upon! I am so very grateful that I am His.
    And what a beautiful earthly picture you gave using the Library of Congress and all that it contains. I lived and taught in Washington, D.C. for a number of years.
    But one day it will be no more and we will be caught up with our Lord and Savior.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks, Linda! Praise God that He and His Word are eternal, and that we will live eternally with Him!
    God bless,
    Laurie

    ReplyDelete
  19. Interesting observations and comparisons to the Library of Congress and God's book of life. They are both important, but there is no doubt which is far more important than the other. Thank you for sharing these thoughts.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thanks, Charlotte! Praise God that our names are in His Book of Life!
    God bless,
    Laurie

    ReplyDelete
  21. Although you didn't have a reason to bring it up, one of my most serious and exciting verses is Rev. 2:17 when it says He will put "my" new name on a white stone. I often wonder what it will be... what it will mean to Him and His Heavenly World. My creative thinking and thinking brain just buzzes with joy over that. Some chuckle or don't agree with my "picture", but I still simply enjoy thinking of it. I like my name... but expect His will be truer and more precise based on our relationship. What fun!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Excellent point, caryjo! I love seeing how He changed people's names throughout the Bible to connote their new purpose in His plan, and it will be exciting when we receive our new name and especially our new glorified body!
    Love in Him,
    Laurie

    ReplyDelete
  23. Library of Congress...Library of Progress. His Word contains what we need to progress into His image. He is so wonderful that all the books in the world could not contain all that He is and does.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Beautifully said, journeytoepiphany! Praise God that we will have all eternity to learn about Him.
    God bless,
    Laurie

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thank you for such a clear explanation. Well thought out.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Laurie, what a well written post. So glad to see you today over at THANKFUL THURSDAY! ((blessings))

    ReplyDelete
  27. You have such a gift for teaching, Laurie. And yes, once written, it is always written.

    Blessings,
    Joan

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi Sharon,
    Thanks so much for visiting & for your kind comment! God bless!
    Laurie

    ReplyDelete
  29. Dear Laurie,
    Thanks so much for your encouragement and for hosting Thankful Thursdays!
    Love in Him,
    Laurie

    ReplyDelete
  30. Dear Joan,
    You are such a blessing! Thanks so much for the kind words and for all you do to spread His Word.
    Laurie

    ReplyDelete
  31. Wonderful and thought provoking post. Have a wonderful day!

    http://theemptynestexpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  32. Thanks, Ms. Kathleen! Have a blessed weekend!

    ReplyDelete