Name Written In Heaven
This comment comes within the context of Lk.10:17-20. Jesus had sent out the 70 with the same mission and similar miraculous gifts He had given to His 12 apostles earlier Matt.10. As the 70 return they are rejoicing that the demons were subject to them. Jesus acknowledges their joy, for there is nothing wrong with being happy about such accomplishments. What they have done is a foretaste of the final defeat of Satan.
But, He then cools their enthusiasm. They had missed an important point. Their eternal salvation was not dependent on their ability to work miracles. He had given them this power, but their eternal salvation was dependent on them trusting in Him to be their Savior. He wants them to understand there is something better than being able to perform miracles. Miracles will not produce salvation or holiness, but the message confirmed by the miracles will do so Rom.1:16-17. His point to them and us, is that it is better to possess the eternal salvation of God gained through obedience to the word than the temporary miraculous works that would earn mankind’s short-lived gratitude. The age of miracles would soon cease 1.Cor.13:8-13, but the salvation offered through the confirmed message would last throughout the ages, offering man a hope in heaven. So He tells them to rejoice that their names are written in heaven.
So it is today. No matter what a person may accomplish in this life, no matter how many outward works of piety one may show and rituals one may perform, if one does not have an active faith, a confident trust that obeys Jesus from the heart, showing a willingness to obey Him Matt.7:21-23; Heb.5:9 he will not have his name written in heaven. So, “is your name written in heaven?”
Lk.10:20 teaches that there is such a record. God keeps a record in His book Ps.56:8. It is called a book of remembrance Mal.3:16, the book of life Phil.4:3; Rev.20:15. It is a register or record of those who are citizens of His kingdom Phil.3:20; Heb.12:23.
Is having your name enrolled in heaven really important? People on earth sure like to see their names in print. Some like to see their name published, in a good way, in some newspaper or magazine. Some like to have their name posted in a book like “Who’s who?” Others take pleasure when their name is recorded in some history book. Many place great store that their name is entered in a church role book, whether they attend regularly or not.
It doesn’t matter to me if my name appears in some material publication, but I really care about having my name written in God’s book of life. If it is recorded there, and not blotted out, it means I won’t end up in hell. Getting to heaven means I will be associated with the best company one can ever have. God and Christ will be there Rev.21:23. OT worthies, NT apostles and saints Heb.12:22-23, many of our loved ones.
On the other hand, if a person’s name is not found written in heaven, what kind of company will they have in hell? Satan and his angels Matt.25:41; Rev.20:10; the false prophet and others like him Rev.19:20; all the ungodly and wicked Rev.21:8; 22:15. Is this the kind of neighbors you desire to exist with for eternity?
But, let’s think, not only of the company one will find in these places, what about the conditions and environment under which one will live. Heaven will be a place of rest Heb.4:9; 2.Thes.1:7, joy Rev.21:3-4, life Matt.25:40, 46, continual worship Rev.7:15; 22:2, living in an immortal body. Hell will be a place of a lake of fire Rev.20:15, an unquenchable fire Mk.9:43-45, torment Rev.14:11, wailing and anguish Matt.8:12; Rom.2:9. Both places are eternal in duration.
How does one get one’s name written in God’s book of life? Not by goodness alone. Cornelius is an example. He was a good person, but he still had to obey Acts 10:47-48; 11:14. One will not get his name in the book of life by just being religious. The false prophet of Rev.14:10; 19:20 and his followers were religious. Just being religious is not enough Matt.15:9; Acts 17:22; Col.2:22-23. Some might think, just talking and thinking about it will be enough, but Jesus said otherwise Matt.7:21-23.
To have one’s name written in heaven takes obedience to Christ Heb.5:9; Rev.22:14. Obeying Christ means one must believe and be baptized to be saved Mk.16:16. This is what Peter declared had to be done on Pentecost Acts 2:37, 38, 41, 47. Paul had to be baptized to have his sins washed away Acts 22:16. All who don’t obey the gospel will be lost 2.Thes.1:8-9. Rev.1:5; Acts 22:16; Rev.14:12-13; Gal.3:26-27.
Obeying the gospel gets one’s name written in the book of life, but it can later be blotted out, if one is not faithful. After one becomes a Christian one must continue to be faithful Col.1:23; 2.Pet.1:5-11; Rev.2:10. If they fail to do this, God will blot their names out of His book of life. Several scriptures confirm this Ex.32:33; Rev.3:4-5; 2.Pet.1:10-11. How will it happen? By failing to overcome the practice of sin Rev.3:5. Worldliness will cause one to have his name blotted out 1.Jn.2:15-17. Being lukewarm and indifferent will cause one’s name to be removed Rev.3:16. How about you? Is your name written in the book of life? Is it in danger of being blotted out? Examine yourself 2.Cor.13:5.
By Tommy Thornhill
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