Is My Name Still in the “Book of Life?”
Death was never part of God’s plan. He created all beings to enjoy life. His creation was all “good” and the goodness was for the benefit of His creatures. But when sin appeared, God couldn’t allow everyone to suffer. Could you imagine Hitler living forever? Stalin? Could the human race have survived to the 21st century with these despots still leading? Sin doesn’t just affect the sinner; it has a rippling affect and touches the lives of everyone around the sinner, as well as the generations after.
Consequence of Sin
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7 “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Genesis 2:16,17 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
The fruit did not magically make Adam and Eve become aware of Good and Evil. Doubting God’s word and disobeying Him caused them to feel guilt and fear—which they had never known. They had always known goodness, now they would know evil: the consequence of being selfish and feelings of fear, guilt, hatred, etc. They had known life, now they would know death.
“And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.” Genesis 3:22, 23
The Tree of Life gave them longevity, but their life was a gift from God. Their breath of life, which God had given them, was not taken away from them. He is the source of life. When you don’t have the source of life, then the natural consequence is death.
“In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.” Job 12:10 “All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils;” Job 27:3 “The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.” Job 33:4 “Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;” Acts 17:25
For God So Loved the World...
But thank God, Adam and Eve did not die instantly. They were given time to learn about God and have a relationship with Him. They were given time to understand who God is, what kind of being He is and to learn to love Him. God does not want us to die. Everyday, he is reaching out to ALL His children: the Christian, the Atheist, the Buddhist, Muslim—reaching out to them to turn their hearts towards Him. When Jesus died on the cross, He did not just die for Christians, He died for the world.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” John 3:16-19
Why Did Jesus Die?
"And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven." Colossians 1:20
When Adam and Eve left the garden, their feelings of guilt and regret, perhaps anger and bitterness, prevented them from seeing God everyday. Jesus dying on the cross was a public display of "see how much I love you" in order to bring God’s children back to Him. Not by appeasing an angry God who wants bloodletting, but by showing the world: this is how much God loves you; He left a glorious heaven and died for you.
"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." John 3:36 "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." Psalm 9:17 “And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.” Malachi 3:3 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;” Romans 1:18
God’s wrath is not like human anger or fire coming down from heaven to kill, but a showing of His loving-kindness and goodness. To the unrighteous and ungodly, His love was anathema and misunderstood. The more He showed goodness and love, the more they hardened their heart and denied Him.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11
Paul understood this concept of heaping coals: coals not to burn, but fire to purify. “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:20, 21
His Mercy, Justice and Faith
“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.” Revelation 3:5 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:…For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” Hebrews 8:10, 12 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more...Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:16, 17, 19, 22
Have faith that God will keep His promise, that if you believe in Jesus’ love and sacrifice, you will be saved. Your name is not removed from the Book of Life after a sin, if only you will confess and believe in His mercy and forgiveness, your sin will be blotted out and remembered no more.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?... For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35, 38-39 “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” Deuteronomy 30:19
Nothing can separate us from the love of God, but we have free will and we can choose to separate ourselves from God. No matter how much someone hugs you, you can shrug your shoulders or push that person away. God does not choose to take his breath of life from a sinner, but a sinner will CHOOSE to deny God to his or her last breath. Deny God’s existence, you deny the source of life.
God wants to save you but it’s up to you whether you respond to his outstretched hand. If you reject God, who is the source of life, then you are cutting yourself away from the source of life and will die. God does not remove our name from the Book of Life, we do it with our choice to reject His gift of life. We have time to learn more about God and to trust Him, learn to love Him. We don’t have to wait until Heaven to see Him. We can spend time with Him today…now.