The Book of Life

“Anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” Revelation 20:15

This unambiguous statement was written by John as a description of what God was revealing to him. The purpose of the occasion was that John record this for people to read, understand, believe and act upon. If the statement is not true then God is a deceiver and not to be trusted. No wonder John wrote at the beginning of this book, “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near” (Revelation 1:3).

Since the lake of fire is the destiny of all whose names are not in the Book of Life and only those whose names are in this Book will enter the new creation (Revelation 21:27) it is a matter of highest priority and greatest urgency for every person to be sure their name is in that Book.

In John 3:18 we read, “He who believes is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” Twice in this verse it says that the dividing factor is faith in Jesus Christ. Everyone’s name is written in the “books” as condemned but upon exercising faith in Jesus Christ one’s name is written in the Book of Life. Jesus called this being “born again” (John 3:3, 7). Paul called it a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15).

Condemnation is God’s sentence upon sin and since condemnation came when Adam sinned we are all born in sin and “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23), all are condemned and God’s wrath abides on us. However, the one who believes is no longer condemned because he has trusted that Jesus Christ died for his sin (John 3:36; Romans 5:8; 8:1). This is the reason Jesus came (John 3:17).

Only in Jesus Christ can condemnation for sin be removed because He bore the sentence for our sin on the cross. Forgiveness of sin and deliverance from wrath is only through Jesus Christ who died in our place (Hebrews 9:22, 26-28).

Anyone who denies this truth reveals that their name is not yet in the Book of Life. Their destiny is the lake of fire but that is not God’s desired destiny for anyone. Jesus bore the sin of everyone so that all might be saved but only those who believe Him will have their names written in the Book of Life.

Again I write, this is of the highest priority and the most urgent concern to anyone who is not assured that their name is written in the Book of Life.

True to Kind

“This is a faithful saying … If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself”  2 Timothy 2:11, 13

Paul encourages Timothy and all of us to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (v 1) through faith in who Jesus is. There will be reward for remaining faithful. Paul gives the examples of a soldier, an athlete and a farmer to show that God is faithful. But even if we are not faithful God remains faithful. Why is this? It is because God and all His creatures are true to kind. God cannot act contrary to who He is and that is a foundation stone of true Christian faith.

The Bible reveals two things that God cannot do: God cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18) and God cannot act contrary to His Divine Nature (2 Timothy 2:13).

In an attempt to reduce penalty or even avoid penalty the defence of an accused may call witnesses to demonstrate that the actions of the accused were “out of character”. This is wholly untrue. All of God’s creatures act absolutely according to what they are. We all act exactly according to what we are. The natural person is always in rebellion against God and can do nothing but sin. The problem is not what we do but what we are. What we do is the outworking of what we are. A person may be able to suppress behaviour but they cannot change what they are. “There is none righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10).

Sinful thoughts, words and deeds are the symptoms of what we are. As in the case of one before a judge we may try to escape penalty by claiming otherwise but God will not be deceived. We are sinners and there is no remedy until we admit that we are sinners by nature. We cannot change what we are. At best we may be able to change some aspects of our behaviour but that will never make us compatible with God.

God is holy; God is undefiled; God is without sin; God is love; God is righteous and just; God cannot deny who He is and if we are to come into His presence and have communion with Him then what we are must be changed. We cannot change what we are. This is why Jesus makes the emphatic statement that “you must be born again” (John 3:3). This is not a command but a statement of fact. To have communion with God we must have the same nature. This is only possible by way of a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 6:15) through which we are made “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).

When Jesus died on the cross He took our sin nature to death as well as the penalty for sin acts. In His resurrection He opened the door for a new life (Ephesians 2:10). The Gospel of Christ reveals God’s remedy for the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) but also the remedy for what we are. Jesus’ resurrection necessitated His death on the cross; for us to live the resurrection life we must die to self.

God cannot change who and what He is. He is holy and without sin. If anyone is to come into His presence it is they who must be changed. Only Jesus Christ is able to do that for He alone bore our sin and rose again.