Have you ever heard the phrase, “Throw the book at him”, in reference for a criminal prosecutor to introduce into evidence everything a defendant may have done illegally? Believe it or not, come the day of judgment, God is going to throw the book at us, that is, the Book of life. Contained therein is everything a person has done in their life, whether good or bad.
In Paul’s writing to the Corinth church he penned, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…” (2 Cor 5:10-11). Each one of us will have to stand before God and give an account of ourselves. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me,’Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matt 7:21-23)!
And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev 20:11-15).
John was privileged to see and record for our generation the final judgment of God. Judgment comes to the small and great alike as they stand before God. Please note in verse fifteen that John records that “.. whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” This reflects obvious importance on our names being written in the book of life. Let’s notice some other passages that reference this book of life.
“Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him” (Mal 3:16-17). Those who feared the Lord, in contrast to those rebuked by Malachi for their profane service and worship, had their names written in a book of remembrance and God says “And they shall be mine”.
The apostles return rejoicing that the demons had been subjected to them. “And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through your name.” (Lk 10:17). Jesus responds in verse 20, “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” Jesus emphasizes the significance again of one’s name being written in the book of life.
Paul writes to the church at Philippi and commends his fellow-laborers whose names were in the book of life. “And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow-laborers, whose names are in the book of life” (Philip 4:3).
“He that overcomes, 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.” (Rev 3:5). After John reproves the church at Sardis as a dead church, he commends those who had maintained their purity and faithfulness and assures them that their names would not be removed from the book of life.
John writes in Revelation 21:27 of those who would and would not enter into the joys of heaven. “And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever works abomination, or makes a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
Last but not least, the apostle John in Revelation 22:18,19 gave all of us a stiff warning about adding to and taking from the Word of God. “ For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book”. This is a theme throughout the entire Bible that God doesn’t want anyone to alter HIS WORD (Deut 4:2 cf; 12:32; 28:14 ff; Prov 30:5; Eccl; 3:14; 1 Cor 4:6; Gal 1:6-9; Gal 3:15; 1 Pet 4:11). God doesn’t want us to alter His Word, but He does want us to obey the gospel of Christ and to continue in his doctrine (Mk 16:16 f; 2 Jn 9). Anyone who doesn’t obey the gospel shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of His power (2 Thess 1:7-9).
Let us serve God faithfully and keep our garments white as snow; that our names will continually be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.