“The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels.”
Revelation 3:5 has been used by false teachers for centuries to create fear and anxiety in the believer. They will begin by telling a Christian how bad of an individual they are, why God is extremely disappointed in them, and how they’ve “backslidden” terribly. Then they’ll put the rotten cherry on top of their disgusting Sunday sermon as such: “God Almighty will rightfully blot your name out of the book of life!”
Oh how wrong can a person possibly be? In this instance, eternally.
Revelation 3:5 was meant to be a comforting verse for Christians, not a scary one. If a saint would actually read it for themselves, they’d see the word “never.” By the way, every Christian is a saint. Saint simply means “set apart” and that’s what our faith in Jesus has done! We’ve been set apart as sheep from goats! (See Matthew 25:33). Our faith in the event of Calvary has caused us to be set apart, holy, and blameless! (See Hebrews 10:10, Colossians 1:22).
But let’s look deeper into the passage in question. You will see it assures us that Jesus will never blot out our name from the book of life:
“The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels.” (Revelation 3:5)
Whether the book of life is symbolic or not, we know what it means. It’s referring to our reservation in heaven. The good news of the gospel is, once our names are in it, they can never be blotted out of it–it says so right there! Read it again if you have to!
Other than this reassuring verse, how can we be certain our names will never be taken out of the book of life? Many biblical reasons, but I want to point out two things the Holy Spirit has revealed to me about His New Covenant with mankind:
- Our names will never be blotted out because Jesus will never die again. Hebrews 7:25 explains, “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” What is the punishment for sin–every sin–from jealousy to murder? Death (see Romans 6:23). What did Jesus do at the Cross? He died then He came back to life. When He died, He paid off every believer’s sins–past, present, and future. Yes, even future sins. Remember, all of your sins were in the future when Christ died. He is not bound by time, we are. He holds the remote to the DVR of the universe, we don’t. So, once Jesus paid the penalty for our sin through His death, He rose again. Coming back to life matters because He does not have to die again to pay off any more of our sins! He finished this task–death for sin–with one, final, perfect death, and He’s never going to die again! (See John 19:30, 1 Peter 3:18).
- Our names will never be blotted out because the Father and Son will never break their promise to one another. The New Covenant is based on a promise between God and God and we are the beneficiaries to that promise. Hebrews 6:13-20 explains. God could not swear by anyone greater so He swore by Himself. Our salvation is secure because of two unchangeable things–Father and Son–both are unable to lie, therefore, both are unable to un-save us from eternal punishment. Jesus promised to die for our sins, the Father promised to remember our sins no more (see 2 Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 8:12). So our job is to simply open up our hands, receive this gift, and say, “Thank you!” (See John 1:12, Ephesians 2:8-9). It’s not about us, it’s about them and our faith in their promise to one another. Yes, we try to make it about us, and when we do, terrible things happen. However, it is in their agreement to each other that we finally discover the anchor for our souls!
Sadly, the behavior-focused person–not the identity-focused person–will attempt to prove me wrong. They’ll say, “No way, Matt! You’re just telling people they can sin and not be punished! Revelation says we will be judged for our sins and our names will be taken out of the book of life!”
Friend, none of that is correct. First of all, I’m not telling people to sin nor am I downplaying sin. Sin is bad. Our sin caused Jesus to have to die. We, as new creations, are no longer made to sin, but we will sin because of where we’re currently at–on a fallen planet.
John even said, “If any of you does sin, you have an advocate with the Father, Jesus” (see 1 John 2:1). So obviously we will sin–we will fail in our actions and attitudes–but those failures cannot change our heavenly DNA! We’ve been spiritually reborn of God! (See John 3:7, 1 John 5:4).
To answer the other part of this person’s statement: Correct. I am saying we won’t be punished by God for our sin. Why? Because the Cross was suffice. Now, will we suffer earthly consequences for sin? Sure, but not heavenly.
What’s the punishment for sin according to our Creator? Again, as I said above, it’s death (see Romans 6:23), and the author of Hebrews tells us Christ died once for all sin (see Hebrews 10:10). Friend, Jesus isn’t dying in heaven each and every time we sin. Do you see it? Do you see that it’s finished? That one sacrificial death of the Messiah was enough!
So who will not be in the book of life? Only those who reject Jesus’ one-time spiritual sanctification by grace through faith:
“all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life” (see Revelation 13:8)
The only people who will be judged for their sins are those who have never been written in the book. It’s not people who have been written in and then removed, but those who were not in there in the first place. Here’s more proof of unbelievers being judged according to what they have done–not us:
“And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.” (Revelation 20:12)
I’ve underlined, “The dead were judged according to what they had done.” Who are the dead? The dead are those who do not have Christ. Jesus tells us:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:16-18)
We are not condemned! We have eternal life! Our eternal life is Christ’s life because He will never die and He lives in us! (See Romans 6:4, John 10:10, 20:31, Colossians 3:3-4, 1 Corinthians 6:19).
Because Jesus will never die again, neither will we–that is, our spirits! We are spirits!
Further, Revelation 20:12 says the dead were judged according to what they had done. What are the deeds of people who are not in Christ?…Sin. This verse is speaking of the final judgement of sins, and we don’t have any! Jesus has taken them all away! Just look!
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)
“so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him” (Hebrews 9:28)
Do you see what we have to look forward to when Christ returns?! GUARANTEED SALVATION! Not fear, not condemnation, but Home! Jesus is currently building up His Family and you are a part of it! Don’t be afraid any longer! He has taken away your sins for good!…That is, if you believe He has.
So today, my friends, know this: Jesus’ blood blotted out your sins forever–THEY ARE GONE. Therefore, your name will stay written in the book of life forever. God is not neurotically adding your name and then deleting you name, so be confident! Be confident. God cannot lie and Christ will stay risen for eternity–and so will you!
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus here to pay off my sin-debt once and for all time. Thank you for giving me such a gift! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. Dad, there are so many of them who have been taught to be petrified of you–and they shouldn’t be. They’ve also been scared of a demonic word called “backsliding”–which is not even in the New Testament. Teach them the truth! This very word goes against your grace and is anti-gospel! Teach them it is self-centered, not Christ-centered, for a person to honestly believe a child of God can somehow slide back from you. No matter how severely incorrect their actions and attitudes may be–or how often–you will never allow this to happen! Proper choices and thoughts didn’t save them, your promise to Jesus did. Help them to go further into your truth! Help them to look at YOUR commitment to THEM–not THEIR commitment to you. Our commitment is a joke! Empower their souls with the truth of the Cross! I command any religious demon to leave them alone, in Jesus’ name! Give them peace in their thinking. Give them confidence. Help them to never be afraid of you and to KNOW their name is infused with YOUR name, forever. Amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 3. Get your copy here!