For college football fans, today is one of the best days of the off-season. It is National Signing Day. Leading up to this day, high school recruits have been making verbal commitments to the universities who have been wooing them. These verbal commitments, however, are non-binding. Some recruits have changed their minds and their verbal commitments.
If you ask me that is really not a commitment, is it?
Commitments really are not commitments until players sign on the dotted line. College coaches will stand around their fax machines awaiting these signed documents. Once the fax sheets roll out, then the players are committed.
Think about how this differs for the Christian. Our admittance into heaven is based upon our name being written in the Book of Life.
Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
(Philippians 4:3 ESV)
These words from Paul the Apostle indicate that the Philippian Christians had their names written in the book of life. Conversely the Bible teaches us that those who do not have their names written in the book of life are not Christians. In fact, their destiny will be the lake of fire.
And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
(Revelation 20:15 ESV)
Another difference for the Christian is that God is not in heaven watching his fax machine looking for our letter of commitment. Our names have long ago been written in the book if we are his.
…everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.
(Revelation 13:8 ESV)
And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast…
(Revelation 17:8 ESV)
The names have been written in this Book of Life from the foundation of the world. Since we were not the ones writing at this time, we understand that it was God himself who penned our names into the book. Since he has placed our names in this book, his Spirit blows into our life to give us a heart which desires to know him. When this happens we turn from our sin and place our trust in him and his wonderful gospel.
But what if we sin still more? Or what if this beast spoken of in the Revelation is too powerful? Those who have their names in the book may falter through sin, but they will strive to live holy lives. Then we can take heart in the promise that Jesus made to those in the church at Sardis who were striving this way,
The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.
(Revelation 3:5 ESV)
So, it is God himself who writes our names in the book from the foundation of the world, and it is the Lord Jesus himself who refuses to blot our names out of the book.
How much more glorious is this than for us to be like the high school athlete faxing in our commitment. God is not like a coach hoping that his recruiting efforts pays off. He knows his team.
Yes, we do make a commitment. But it is not the kind of commitment that makes us smart enough to join the right team. It is that God demonstrates to us that he has chosen us for his team. We have already been placed on the roster. We acknowledge that and show up to play.
Is your name in that book? Are you on the team?