A Christian friend brought up in a discussion with me Revelation 3:5, that one can have their name blotted out from the book of life. He made the claim that this then means that we must walk worthy so we can escape from the wrath to come. I went home and did some research on the book of life and see that there are several other references (Re. 20:12, 20:15, 22:19) that show people being judged, and even sent to the lake of fire as a result of not being in the book of life. My questions are:
- What is the Book of Life?
- How can one's name be taken out? Certainly we cannot lose our salvation: that would imply the blood of Christ is insufficient (contrary to 1 Jn. 1:7). Can you give some help?
I believe it is important to understand that in the scriptures we are presented with a "Book" which speaks of the manifold purposes and counsels of God. This same book has different characteristics to reveal these purposes to us. Just as Christ offered himself once, but there are different features of it that allow us to appreciate more of Him, so there are different features of "the book":
- Thy book, Nu. 32:32-33: God's government on earth in judgment upon sin.
- Volume of the book, Ps. 40:7, He. 10:7: Pleasure, mystery and counsel of his will (Ep. 1).
- Book of life or living (same word), Ps. 69:28: relates to God's government as well, in that He maintains righteousness (vv. 27-28).
- Book of remembrance, Mal 3:16: Eternal rewards due to faithfulness and fearing Him (Heb 11:6).
- Book of life, Ph. 4:3: Eternal unity (Jn. 17:21).
- Book of life, Re 3:5: Eternal security (Jn. 10:28-29). (Note that every time it is recorded that someone requested blotting out another, it was of man and never of the Blessed God.)
- Book of life of the slain Lamb, Rev 13:8: Eternal homage and praise to the TRUE GOD (Jn. 4:21, 24).
- Book of life, Re. 17:8: Eternal wonder of Christ and His Assembly (Ep. 5:27,32).
- Book of life, Re. 20:12,15: Eternal judgment of those who have no life in Christ (Jn. 3:36).
- Book of life of the Lamb, Re. 21:27: Blessed conformity to the Lamb in being pure as He is pure (1 Jn. 3:2).
As to the second part of the question, let us first of all point out some scriptures that will help us to understand the believer's eternal security, and second, to say something about your reference from Revelation. It is essential for us to know that as Christians we are exhorted to be faithful (Re. 2:10, Mt. 25:21, etc.) but we are never told that our eternal security and destiny is dependent on us. If we thought this way, then the work of Christ was not sufficient to save and secure me. God forbid! In John 10:28-29 the Lord said no one can pluck them out of His hand and the Father's, and thus I learn that neither Satan, the world, nor even I are greater than the Father and the Son. When our work comes short and we fail miserably, we are still His (1 Co. 3:14-15); when our hidden things of darkness come to light, we are still His (1 Co. 4:5); when our assessment of Christ is poor and our evil associations brings discipline upon us, we are still His (1 Co. 11:30-32). As to Revelation 3:5, it is said that at that time, when faithful individuals left certain religious systems of man they would take away their memberships and withdraw their names from their circle. The Lord Jesus deals with his own differently, in that He assures them that He will not blot his name since He engraved their names for eternal blessing. Also in Rev. 12:11, the blood of the Lamb is the sacred means to overcome, "not man." The same writer in his epistles declares, "ye have overcome the wicked one" (1 Jn. 2:13-14) and in 1 John 5:4-5, new birth was the means of overcoming which is the work of God (Jn. 1:12-13.) Of course there are many references to show that it is God's work from beginning to end that will secure the believer and not the condition of the believer.
See also issue #3 at www.towardthemark.org the article titled (They shall never perish).I hope these few thoughts would be of help, and that the security we have in Christ Jesus will not cause us to slack in being faithful, but rather to be more and more conformed into His image.
Much love in Christ,