The Christian Doctrine of Election
There is a record written in heaven and kept by God with the names of every person chosen by God to be saved. That book is called "The Lamb's Book of Life". Why is it called the Lamb's book of life and when were the names listed in that book written there? These are two good questions. To the first question, I answer that this book is called "The Lamb's Book of Life" because it belongs to Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, and it was because of His work on the cross that those whose names are recorded in this book are completely forgiven for their sins. The Apostle John says concerning Him, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world [God's chosen people] (John 1:44).
In the Old Testament sacrificial system, there were two goats which were used for sacrificing on the sacred Day of Atonement which occurred once a year. One goat was used as a sacrifice to God in order to propitiate His wrath and anger against the sins of God's elect people. When God saw the blood of that goat sprinkled on the mercy-seat which was situated on top of the Ark of the Covenant in the Most Holy Place in the temple, His wrath was fully satisfied . The other goat, called the scapegoat was waiting outside with the people and when the High Priest came out of the temple, he placed his hand upon the second goat and confessed the sins of God's people. That second goat was then released into the woods symbolizing the carrying away of the sins of God's elect. Well, these two goats looked forward to one person, Jesus, the Lamb of God. He carried away the sins of God's elect people, those who names are written in the Book of Life.
Now, I will answer the second question, "When were these names written in the Book of Life?" Many would answer this question by saying that a person's name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life when a person is born again by the Spirit of God. In other words, man the sinner determines whether or not he makes the list. It sounds great, but this is not what the Bible teaches! God is sovereign and He determines the names that are written in the Book of Life. As a matter of fact, the Scriptures teaches that the names were placed in that book even before the universe was created. Revelation 13: 7-8 says "It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain." Furthermore, Revelation 17:8 states, "The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come."
How do you know if God has written your name in the Lamb's Book of Life? These questions should help you to determine if he has:
- Have you been regenerated (born again) by the Holy Spirit?
- Are you being sanctified by the Holy Spirit daily?
- Are you demonstrating the good works of the Christian life?
- Are you a new creature in Christ?
- Is Jesus Christ your Lord?
- Do you have a hatred for sin?
- Do you have a love for righteousness?
We must remember that whose names were written in the Book of Life first signifying the fact that we have been chosen by God in eternity past. Every person who names is written in the Book of life will experience true salvation. We must avoid the misconception that we get our names put into the Book of Life when we make a decision to receive Jesus Christ. GOD IS SOVEREIGN, AND MAN THE SINNER IS NOT!