“Is your name written in the book of life?”
Questions such as this have been used as evangelism tools for decades. But what is the book of life? The common assumption is that if we have a place in heaven then our name will be listed in the book of life? We assume that life is talking about eternal life and the book of life is like a guest list at a concert that if our name is found there then we get in without any trouble.
When I read Revelation 20, I had an idea that maybe this book of life is something else entirely. Revelation 20, verses 11 and 12 state:
11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.
According to this, there are books used to judge besides the book of life. And, according to verse 12, these books contain our deeds. Could it be that the book of life is a recording of the things that we did that were life giving and the other books contain the things that we did that were death giving? Any time we worked on God’s behalf by fulfilling his purposes in our own life and in others; anytime we reflected Christ’s love, mercy, and compassion; anytime we lost our life to gain it and took up our cross. Could it be that the book of life is not a guest list into heaven but a recording of the times our actions matched the life of the Christ who is with us?
15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
The bottom line is, if our actions in this life are more about the things that kill -quest for power, sexual immorality, love of money, sensual pursuits, hurting others, and destruction then we certainly will not show up in the book of life. But, if our lives are more about the fruits of the spirit and sacrifice then that will not be overlooked and will be recorded in the greatest of all books.