The Book of Life

Have you ever had your name in the newspaper or been interviewed for the news? Did you go out and buy multiple copies of the newspaper or record the interview? Most of us would love having something like this happen to us! Thinking about this spiritually, there is a book that unfortunately too many do not ever strive to get in.

The phrase “book of life” occurs several times in the Bible (Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:11-15; 21:27). It first occurred in Exodus 32:32-33, which reflects its Jewish origin. It referred originally to a record or catalog of names (like the role of an army). It then meant to be among the living, and the name of an individual would be erased from a catalog when he or she was deceased (cp. Psalm 69:28; Ezekiel 13:9; Daniel 12:1; Malachi 3:16).

In these instances it is used as a metaphorical way to express the idea of “the world of living men,” and at the same time stating the truth that every man’s life or death is in God’s hand. In the New Testament, the concept becomes spiritualized, as meaning the roll of those who have entered, or will enter, into eternal life. If you want to be considered the “friend” of God, you must be in this book.

What must you do to get into this book? Your name is enrolled in the book of life when you are born. But when the age of accountability is lost through sin, your name is blotted out of that book. Therefore, it must be written in again.

To do so, you have to obey the gospel, which means faith (John 8:24; Hebrews 11:6), repentance (Luke 13:3, 5; Acts 17:30), confession of Christ as Lord (Matthew 10:32; Romans 10:10), and baptism for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38). At that point, you will be “enrolled” again, so to speak. God will recognize you as His (2 Timothy 2:19).

From that point, however, you are not always saved. Revelation 3:5 says, “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.” God would not have promised the Christians in Sardis He would not blot their name out of the book of life if it could not be done. If sin causes our names to be removed once when we become accountable to sin, it can cause our names to be removed again after we are baptized.

Therefore, after you are baptized, you have to be “faithful unto death” (Revelation 2:10). If you can do this, you can rejoice that your name is “written in heaven” (Luke 18:20).

Kyle Campbell