What does it mean to have your name written in the “Book of Life”?

Asked by Anthony

Romans 17:8 talks about those whose names were not written in the book of life before the foundation of the world.  We know that the elect’s names have been written in the book of life before the foundation of the world.  We also know that names can be blotted out of the book of life rev 3 and there is a reference in the psalms.  My question is are some created for hell?  It appears some are elected for salvation.  Of those some can choose sin and trade in the truth of God for a lie.  And it seems theirs another group not written in the book of life before the foundation of the world in which God is displaying his justice in while in the life of the elect he is displaying his mercy.  Romans 9.  Is this a sound evaluation of the holy scriptures?


Dear Anthony

You are certainly right to say that some are elected for salvation.  Everyone destined for salvation was chosen before the foundation of the world (Ephesian 1:4), which is why Revelation 17:8 teaches that the Book of Life was written before the foundation of the world.  Revelation 3:5 does not imply that a name can be blotted out of the book; God denies that he will blot out their names.  In the Old Testament the “book” is a little bit different.  Exod. 32:33 and Psalm 69:28 do speak about the names of sinners being blotted out of the book, but there is no suggestion that this is the book of the elect; it is just the book of the living.  So these OT texts do not indicate that an elect person can be blotted out.  No elect person can ever be blotted out of the book.  And in fact, Moses asked God to blot him out for the sake of the Israelites who had sinned, and God said no; he would not blot Moses out (Exod. 32:32-33).

It is also clear that not everyone is elect.  Those not written in the Book of Life will be thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 19:15).  It is going too far to say that they are created for hell.  But it is true that God uses them to display his wrath (Rom. 9:22), so that we truly know that he is a consuming fire.  It is so that those who are elect will stand in awe, and praise God for his amazing mercy in Christ, because we know that all people deserve to face God’s wrath.

The bottom line is that God predestines the elect in love, and with the purpose that they praise his glorious grace (Eph. 1:4-6).

I have prayed for you, and I hope this answers helps you.

Andrew

Answers are kindly provided by our friends at Christianity.net.au

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