Does God Use Correction Fluid?

liquid paperIs your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life? If so, are you worried that Jesus may blot out your name? It seems that many Christians are. They are afraid that they might do something that will cause Jesus to blot out their names from His Book of Life. It’s like Jesus is sitting in heaven with a pen in one hand and a bottle of correction fluid in the other. Get saved, name goes in. Fail a test, name goes out. Re-commit your life to God, name goes back in. Phew! With all the re-commitments going on, you’d think Jesus was in danger of repetitive stress injury!

But seriously, do you fear that Jesus might remove your name from His book? Is this something that concerns you? It shouldn’t.

The most important book in the universe

If you haven’t heard, the Book of Life lists all those who are saved for eternity. Revelations chapter 20 speaks of a day when the books are opened and the dead are judged according to what they have done. But in terms of your salvation, only one book matters and it’s the Lamb’s Book of Life. If your name is not in this book, you’re cooked:

“If anyone’s name was not found written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Rev 20:15)

I don’t want to belittle this. It’s very important to make sure that your name is recorded in this book. (If Jesus knows you, you’re in!) But if your name is already recorded in His book, should you be worried about being blotted out? Under the old covenant, the answer seemed to be yes!

“The LORD replied to Moses, ‘Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my Book.’” (Exo 32:33)

Under the old covenant, your performance mattered a great deal. You were blessed if you were faithful, but condemned if you weren’t. This meant that people were very conscious of their behavior. They knew that their sins could lead to dire consequences. Under the old covenant you might even pray for your enemies like this:

“May they be blotted out of the Book of Life and not be listed with the righteous.” (Psa 69:28)

But we don’t live under that old sin-conscious covenant. We live under the new and better covenant of God’s grace. Under grace, your performance affects your standing before God not one bit. Jesus did it all. We are not blessed because we are faithful but because He is faithful.

Mixing covenants

So why are Christians afraid that Jesus will blot their names out of His book? Their fear stems from an old covenant interpretation of a new covenant promise. I am sure you know the promise I am referring to. It is found in the exhortation Jesus’ gave to the church in Sardis:

“He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the Book of Life, but will acknowledge his name before My Father and His angels.” (Rev 3:5)

Here Jesus gives us a wonderful assurance of our eternal salvation. He is promising that He will never blot out our names. Never means never! Yet some read this as if Jesus might yet do the very thing He promised not to do. (If Jesus has promised He won’t do something, but you think He might, isn’t that a bit like calling God a liar?)

Someone with an old covenant mindset looks at this verse and sees only conditions for salvation. They think, “I have to overcome to qualify. If I don’t overcome, I’m going to be blotted out.” To read the verse in this way is to dismiss the cross and make the grace of God of no effect.

But someone with a new covenant mindset looks at this verse in a completely different way. They think, “Jesus has overcome the world and now lives in me. I don’t overcome to qualify – I am qualified by Christ and I now carry His overcoming nature. This is not some test I have to pass, but a wonderful promise regarding my inheritance.” (See 1 Jn 4:4, 5:5, Jn 16:33, and Col 1:12.)

God has perfect knowledge. When He added your name to His book He knew everything you had done and everything you were going to do. There is nothing you can do that will surprise Him, nothing that would cause Him to shake His head with disappointment and say, “I made a mistake adopting that one.” The good news is that God doesn’t make mistakes. When He added you to His book it was for all eternity.

The new thing

There’s only one thing of yours that God promises to blot out, and it’s not your name – it’s your sins:

“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” (Isa 43:25)

God promised to blot out all your sins and He did that already. This was the “new thing” foretold by the prophet Isaiah (43:19). Under the old covenant, men’s sins were counted against them. But when Jesus met all the demands of the law at the cross, all your sins were blotted out. Your sin is no longer being imputed to you (2 Cor 5:19). Why did He blot out your sins? He did it for His own sake, because He loves us, and so that we might be reconciled to Him.

If your name is in His book, you have nothing to fear on Judgment Day. If all your sins were blotted out at the cross, then there is no sin left that could get your name removed from His book. This is the gospel of grace. It was new news for Isaiah, is old news for us, but is still good news for everyone.

___
Related posts:
- Why repentance is like football
- Rev 3:21: To him who overcomes
- Php 2:12: Fear and trembling
- Mat 10:28 – Fear God who can throw us into hell?

Comments

  1. Are you sure Rev. 3:5 is an assurance that a name can’t be blotted out? In v. 2&3, He first admonishes to “wake up! … strengthen… remember… hold fast… repent… then in v.4, He says there were a FEW in Sardis who were worthy to wear white. A FEW. And for those who OVERCOME and are victorious, He promises that they shall also wear white and that THOSE are the names that will not be blotted out. That in itself implies that there are names which WILL be blotted out.
    God doesn’t spend His time writing, blotting and re-writing, but for everyone who has prayed the sinners prayer to feel ‘safe’ because they still go to church and pray before they eat is dangerous doctrine.
    Read the stories of those who have taken up their cross and been persecuted for their faith, yet refused to deny The Name of Jesus, and THEN you’ll know what it really means to be a victorious overcomer whose name is promised to NEVER be blotted out.

    • Well said, Sharon. It seems to me a haughty and irreverent thing to say our God will only do this or only do that, especially when it comes to salvation. It seems to me that saying “once saved always saved” is putting something in God’s mouth. He is sovereign in all things, not us. Blessings are related to works, but salvation is a free gift. It is the blood that seals the deal, so to speak. We don’t apply it and we don’t decide when it gets applied. Our only choice is whether or not to believe and even our faith is a gift we receive or reject. Do we submit and repent and experience regeneration – or not? The sinner’s prayer is wholly inadequate in and of itself. Salvation is not attained through incantation, but through faith. Faith is not mental acknowlegment, but is demonstrated and reckoned by obedience. There is sin unto death and sin not unto death. We are not the judges. We are either sheep or goat even that is not our decision.

    • @Sharon – You raise several interesting points. First, as to who needs to wake up and repent and who “the few” are, please read my separate post on Sardis. Second, you say that names will be blotted out (even though Jesus says they won’t). If God blots out names that He originally wrote, isn’t that implying that God made a mistake? Are you saying that God makes mistakes? Third, if reciting a sinner’s prayer, church attendance and grace before meals are insufficient to make someone feel “safe,” exactly what works are required before one can feel safe? If I am persecuted for my faith and endure, can I then feel safe? If so, how much persecution is required? (If someone posts a comment on my blog questioning my faith in the goodness of God, would that qualify as sufficient persecution?) And if one can never feel safe, why would Jesus waste words making promises of assurance? I look forward to your hearing your thoughts.

      @Lance – It seems to me a haughty and irreverent thing to say that God won’t do that which He has promised. But I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume your comment was not directed at what I wrote in the post. Feel free to correct me.

      • Paul – My words were perhaps harsh, but the point remains. Can God change His mind? Sure. There are plenty of examples – Gen 6:6 comes to mind. Does God make mistakes? I suppose that’s a judgment call. I’m not prepared to serve as God’s judge.

        I just don’t like the phrase “once saved always saved” – not because it is somehow false, but because it breeds a false sense of assurance. Paul asks, shall we then go on sinning? Absolutely not, he retorts. They say that if you have to ask the price its too much. Assurance of salvation is kind of like that. I am drawn to ask the question – why ask about assurance? If you aren’t sure, then either you’ve got a real problem or you’re hearing a lie. Assurance is not based on emotion or in our own works – including saying a particular prayer. Assurance is found in the indwelling spirit and your regeneration. It seems to me that instead of seeking assurance, we should be seeking discernment. I don’t think a person gets saved over and over, like Jesus writes and erases then writes again in the book of life. But, I do think we are reaching too far to say a sovereign God cannot blot out a name if He judges it necessary. Jesus warns, for example, about grieving the Holy Spirit. That seems like a pretty sober concern to me. Believe, trust, obey, and most of all love. Don’t be anxious. It seems to me that’s the main message. Am I wrong? Sorry if I come across too strong – I just have a passion for Truth. If I’m wrong I want to be corrected. Thanks for your graciousness.

        -Lance

      • Lance, I’m glad you have an assurance of your salvation (if I read you right). I write for those who don’t – those who, as you say, either have a real problem or have believed a lie. Uncertainty is unbelief. It is my conviction that the enemy wants us to be either opposed to God’s grace or uncertain about it. If you must be a believer, then be an unbelieving believer. I refuse. Double-mindedness is not something to be proud of, but something to deal with quickly. God wants us to take hold of the hope he offers so that we may be “greatly encouraged.” This hope is a “firm and secure” anchor for the soul (Heb 6:18-19).

      • That last, dear brother Paul, is something I can agree with whole heartedly. Blessings to you.

  2. Susana Vivas says:

    Amen. I choose to believe in Him who doesn’t waver in faith. I choose to believe His promises in Christ, and I choose to rest in Him. In Him I move and have my being. He is righteous in making me acceptable in His sight. I’m so greatful to read your article, it is so life giving and encouraging, full of grace and truth! Blessings to you and yours always!!!

  3. I intentionally put it in the form of a question. My opinion is not sealed on this topic but I do believe Scripture leaves a LOT of room for questions. I don’t believe any of us comprehend God, or He wouldn’t be God. As for me, even after all these years, I am still learning new things about Him that not only contradict the old, but surprise and even shock me! That is the beauty and the depth of the awesomeness of our God!!
    There are references to God repenting, relenting, regretting, being sorry and grieved, and changing His mind, right along with the ones saying He never changes His mind — even in the same chapter!! I this warrants further examination.
    Leaving aside the topic of Angels and God’s other created beings, I don’t think we grasp what God did when He made man at all. The “risk” He took when He gave man free will and the ability to make choices and decisions and speak words that have far-reaching and eternal consequences. Free will is the GOD-GIVEN ability to go against God’s own will. God is God and could have created a myriad of “puppet regimes” as most humans would, but God challenged Himself to the max in order to end up with a true companion for His Son . Man’s words and choices CAN and do alter God’s plan — for better or for worse.
    No, God does not make mistakes but we do and He will alter His plans to accommodate and redeem our blunders. He said all of this chaos and hell on Earth would be worth it in the end, and I believe Him because He is God, but Gen. 6:6-7 even says He repented that He made man at all. 1 Samuel 15:11 says he regretted that He made Saul king. I wish I could be comprehensive, but unfortunately, being in Africa, I cannot spend the internet time to make my case. All I am saying on these points though, is to realize we do not fully understand God (to think we do is the height of haughtiness in my opinion) so keep asking questions and then be open to receiving answers that don’t fit inside our box. There is so much more to discover and it will all blow our minds!!
    The danger I saw in what you said is that there are already so many who have cheapened what it means to believe and to trust Christ. As the Word says, the demons themselves also believe and even have the good sense to tremble, but they won’t have the Eternal Life we want for our fellow Human Beings. It also says that one of the signs that would follow those who BELIEVE is that they would lay hands on the sick and they would recover. Since that happens so rarely and most of those who call themselves ‘believers’ still run to the world’s doctors instead and raise money to send others too, I think it is warranted for all of us to examine our hearts and see if we really DO believe.
    THEN, by all means, REST in Him and in His promises, because they are TRUE and He cannot lie and you can take them to the bank or anywhere else!!
    (I am not reacting to anything you have ever said in the past because this is the first I have ever read. I will not be writing again since I now live in Africa and internet time is precious)
    p.s. Jeremiah 18:7-10 helps sum things up.

    • Dear Sharon, I’m glad you have an open mind about these things and I’m delighted that you are spending your precious internet time on E2R! I trust it will be time well spent. You are, of course, right to say that we can never grasp everything about God. With that truth in one hand, take hold of this in the other: God does not want us to be uncertain about His intentions. He has good and eternal purposes, as you surely know, and they will come to pass. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is not capricious. He is not deceptive. He has no dark side. He does not change like shifting shadows. He did not have a change of heart after Jesus died and suddenly decide to start loving everyone. He is good all the way through and all the time.

      As I said to Lance above, uncertainty is another word for unbelief. How can you have faith for something you’re not sure is true? In the post above I identify just two of His wonderful promises. He will not break these promises. You can take them to the bank. You can stand on them in the face of doubts. You can declare them to principalities and powers. These gracious promises are not offered to demons or angels, just humans. We are the object of His redemptive work, the recipients of His favor. There’s nothing you can do to earn it, but you can reject it. There is a work involved and that is to believe in the One He has sent (Jn 6:29). As Peter, Paul, James, Jude and John preached, it’s not about you or me, it’s entirely about Him. You cannot break His covenant because you were never a party to it. We don’t stand on the flimsy resolutions of imperfect men, but on the unshakeable oath of Almighty God. If God has loved you once, He will love you forever.

  4. Julie Wheat says:

    There are some interesting comments made, but I’ve yet to hear mentioned, The Holy Spirit, The Great Comforter! The One Christ sent in His place to live in our hearts, once we repent & ask for His salvation! The Holy Spirit convicts & turns our prayers into sweet music to God’s ears! There is 1 unforgivible sin & that is to blaspheme The Holy Spirit! No if’s, ands, or buts about it! God Bless You All! :)

  5. Dave Rumfelt says:

    Thank you, Paul, for the messages of God’s grace that you bring to us. That Jesus finished the work on the cross once for all is truly THE good news. Amen.

    Your sword is sharp and you have rightly divided the word and pointed out where the sticking point is in your illustration, that is; how one sees two different points of view when using old covenant eyes or new covenant eyes. Mixture of old and new is just as harmful and is the purpose of the gift of the sword; that we rightly divide and know one point of view from the other. Wielding the sword takes practice and confidence and our confidence – our faith – is in Christ Jesus and that His precious blood sealed the new covenant of grace given to us by God our Father. In this is our faith and nothing more.

    For those unpracticed in dividing the Word, here are some insights:

    The Mosaic covenant was about us: how WE measured up to God’s rightness and how we can make ourselves righteous before Him. This is a me-centric relationship. Since my rightness depends on how well I do in my pursuit of God’s standards, I am doomed to fail and am in need of a substitute in blood sacrifice of lamb and bull and this can only fill the gap where I fall short. I can only be at one with God via works and blood sacrifice. Fear, uncertainty, condemnation, doubt, weariness, conviction, faithlessness, worthlessness, strife, self-loathing – these are the fruits of the Law. This is why lawlessness seems like not such a bad idea. I can’t stand how God’s law makes me feel so, forget God – or worse, hate God – and just live and let live. During this time, under the law drawn up by words written on stone and sealed by the blood of animals, God was right to kill the lawless and to pass judgment on a person and on a nation. He had every right to add rules and regulations to the law and to amend them. This covenant did not exclude God from changing his mind (repenting), or listening to man’s good reasoning and withholding his wrath, or having man call down God’s wrath on his enemies. None of these changes of mind or heart or reason had any effect on the covenant yet to come – the covenant that God intended all along.

    The New covenant is about God: more particularly, God’s complete love and complete acceptance – His grace through Jesus – given to us that makes us righteous. This covenant is written on flesh (our minds and our hearts) and is sealed once and for all by the blood of the only righteous One – the Lamb without spot – Jesus. If you can do even the smallest thing to make this covenant more complete than it already is, then Jesus’ sacrifice was NOT sufficient to bind this covenant between Him and God and thus makes God who said it was sufficient a liar. Read the letters to the churches in the New Testament and see if this is not so. See if you can make a liar of Paul, Peter, James, John or any of the early apostles. Over and over the writers are clear and unapologetic: the complete grace of God is an absolutely free gift to those that believe that Jesus died to make this new covenant binding. Therefore there is now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. None. Love, kindness, confidence, hopefulness, patience, steadfastness, perseverance – these are the fruits of God’s grace. When one accepts the truth of the gospel of grace and begins to live in that unconditional acceptance we cannot help but bear these fruits and our old selves fade allowing the new man to live until we are gathered home.

    Brothers and sisters in Christ, if you are making yourself busy with worrying about whether or not your name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life, then you are wasting your time in a dead work. Introspection is looking in the wrong direction. It is the old covenant way: the way of the Law. Child of God, you are no longer the problem and therefore are not the focus any longer. Look around you through God’s grace and allow grace to shine out of you. Give grace to the brothers and sisters around you as well as to those around you who do not believe. The amazing part of Amazing Grace is that we and they are already bought and paid for. The only difference is that they don’t know it yet. If you understand this fact, then tell them this Good News.

    And lastly, you and I are not qualified to judge. This not only applies to judging believers and non-believers or the dead and the living, it applies to the church at Sardis as well. The unfortunate thing about judging or hearing someone else judge or reading about a judgment is that it appeals to our flesh. We have a hard time not feeling self-righteous or condemned when we hear or read it – particularly so when we read it in scriptures. I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, resist the temptation of condemning others or yourselves through judgment. You and I and everyone else have already been judged. My heart grieves when I read in Revelation the messages to the angels of the churches in chapters 2 and 3. I grieve because it is obvious that the free gift of Grace has been corrupted by Law and many will be lost because of it. They have “left their first love”, “say they are Jews and are not”, they have “put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel”, “tolerate the woman Jezebel” who “teaches and leads My bond-servants astray”, they have fallen asleep and need to “wake up, and strengthen the things that remain” for their deeds were not found completed, and they have become lukewarm and in need of “gold refined by fire, that you may become rich, and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eyesalve to anoint your eyes, that you may see”. These churches – no, ALL churches – are in dire need of the REAL Good News that we have all been purchased with the precious blood of Jesus by his sacrifice on the cross once for all and we are now IN Christ Jesus and therefore there is now no condemnation. God forgives AND forgets! (Heb 8:12) We are set free and therefore are free indeed. Not one drop of blood that was shed on the cross can be put back into the body of our risen Lord. Jesus’ work on the cross is finished, never to be repeated again. When we read, “For God so loved the world…” that means everybody. (2 Cor 5:19) ALL names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. ALL. It is up to Christ alone to judge which names will be blotted out at the final judgment. Praise God that the only One who is qualified is the very One who is appointed Judge. Amen.

    Abundant love, peace and grace to you all,

    Dave Rumfelt

    (Sorry Paul, I can’t help but preach. God is so good and Jesus so precious and the message of grace so wonderful that I can’t hold it in.)

  6. Hi Paul,
    Thanks for the article. I still have questions. I thought Jesus came to replace the law of the ten commandments with only two laws..to love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind and to love your neighbour as thyself..where would this fit in?

  7. Hi Paul,
    Actually I have another question. I am sorry, but am a bit confused. Why every time Grace is mentioned then it must be in comparison with the law? Can’t they co exist?

  8. The Lord always reassures me with this verse, plain and simple, just how I like it!

    1 John 5:13 “I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may KNOW you have eternal life.”

  9. Paul i believe people like you are dangerous to the faith .I will like to see your reaction to what Apostle Paul said here “I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” (1 Cor. 9:27). Did Paul in 1 Cor 9:27 forget that his salvation was assured and permanent? He certainly understands grace more than you do Mr Paul
    As to blotting a name out of the book of life.Jesus knew people like you will come up so he also said in Revelation 22:19,”19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Will you also strive with Jesus in other to justify your misguided doctrine.”

    • Strong words, Charles. It seems you have taken on board the fears and anxieties of the insecurity-mob. Although Jesus promises that he will never blot out our names, you fear he will. You fear he will do the very thing he promised not to do.

      Regarding 1 Cor 9:27, please see this post.

      • You’re incorrect, Paul. Jesus never says that He will never [under any circumstance] blot anyone’s name out, but He will not blot out the name of the one who overcomes (Revelation 3:5). A person who breaks faith with Him is not overcoming the world.

    • Concerned about not being able to overcome? Read what John say overcoming really is. 1 John 5:4-5
      1 Corinthians 3:11-15 says that the only thing that saves us is Jesus all else is simply bonuses and treasures. Even a life lived where all deeds and works get burned up still has eternal life just no rewards. Does that mean apostle Paul was advocating a lazy life? No, just that our deeds are not our salvation.

  10. Like some one said, if you can sin freely after receive this grate grace, you are in a grate disgrace. with love, Juan Bravo.

  11. Olusesan Ogundare says:

    ‘The Apostle Paul’ of our time. lol. May God continue to bless your work. This blog and your book have been of a tremendous blessing to me. It was as if I was born again ‘again’ through the numerous detoxification I have to go through getting rid of the spiritual junks that I have eaten over the years. May God continue to bless you and your family. I love the picture of the old woman using a wipeout on the computer screen. We can multiply that a million times to show how impossible it will be for God to wipe out the names of those who believe in Him for the saving of their souls. He is a faithful God and can be trusted. Hallelujah!!!

  12. some one said to me once they thought everyones name was written in the book of life and as time went on,names were taken out of it, for what its worth, Paul you suppose God has a evil twin from another universe that slips in every once and a while to mess things up?haha [STAR TREK]

  13. This post challenges the belief of many.:) I can see that in the interaction of this post.
    I agree with Paul (E2R) that uncertainty is unbelief it is not something that needs to be celebrated.

    About blotting and re-writting your name in the Book of Life, here are my thoughts:
    #1. God knows past, present, and future. Agree? If so, then when you ‘prayed the sinners prayer’ and became a son/daughter did God wrote your name on the Book of Life or did He ‘tricked’ you into believing that He did because He has foreknowledge that you will not ‘endure to the end’?

    #2. Apostle Paul talked about our adoption as sons and daughters of God. We are grafted in Him. If God knows that in the near future we will not ‘endure to the end’ then why would He place us in Christ only to later remove it.

    My point is saying that we can lose our salvation because we can not ‘endure to the end’ does not make sense.

  14. i think grace was meant to free you from sin not to live in sin

    • We are free from being sin’s slave but we still live in a body of flesh that is capable of committing sin. We This article simply puts the myth of saved-lost-saved-lost salvation to rest.

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