Would you like to see what we have written on a subject? Use the search below.
search this site the web
site search by freefind

[If you purchase anything on this site, I may make a commission. Disclosure Policy]

Is Your Name In The Book Of Life 
And Can It Be Removed?

The Book of Life is specifically mentioned in the Bible eight times, once in the Old Testament and seven times in the New Testament.  Six of the times it is mentioned is in the Book of Revelation, which is a highly symbolic book.  So whether we are talking about a literal book or the symbolic representation of a reality is debatable.  The end result is the same either way.

The word “life” is not referring to mere earthly existence.  Everyone not dead is alive in that sense.  The term ‘life’ here speaks of being full of life, both essential and ethical, active and vigorous.  It speaks of being connected to the Author of Life and of a life which is begun now and continues forever.

Common Sense Promo

So what is this Christian Book Of Life in the Bible?  We will learn about it by examining the eight passages where it is mentioned.  Let’s begin by allowing the Bible to define its own terms.

Indeed, true companion, I ask you also, help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement as well as the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.  Phil 4:3, NASB

Whose names are in this Book?  Those who are working for the gospel or kingdom of God.  In other words, disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is what all true Christians are.

All who live on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written since the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slaughtered.  Rev. 13:8, NASB

The Book of Life is the most important Book our names will ever be in.

“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 live on the earth, whose names have 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.  Rev. 17:8, NASB

In this context, this verse talks about the famous Beast of Revelation.  For purpose of this article, it doesn’t matter what your interpretation of the Beast is - past, present or future.  The point is all those who are not Christians will worship him.  So we see that positively those who are Christians have their name in the Book of Life, and negatively we see that all those who are not Christians do not have their name in the Book of Life.  So this Book is a record - literal or symbolic - of all those who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

We need to point out something very important in these last two verses.  Some people will use the verses we will examine below to teach that a Christian can lose his salvation.  But as we examine the verses above, we see that a person’s name is written in the Book of Life “from the foundation of the world.”  In other words, this shows predestination.  It reveals that God is the One Who chooses who He will save.  The chosen ones have their names in the Book of Life long before they are ever born, long before they have done anything good or bad.  [Also see Rom. 9:13]. Since God Himself has written their names in His Book, only God can take them out.  We look at this in our article “Do We Have Free Will?”.  

And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.  Rev. 20:12, NASB

There will come a day when we will all - Christian and non-Christian - stand before God, and He will judge us.  As our Creator, He has every right to examine how we have lived the life He has given us.  This verse shows that God has a record of our lives.  Since God is All-Knowing, that record includes every thought, word and deed we have ever done.  

Some non-Christians try to find comfort in the idea that what they consider their good deeds will outweigh their bad deeds, so they will gain God’s favour in the Judgment and be allowed into heaven.  That is a dangerous delusion.  God is perfect justice.  Justice doesn’t even work that way now.  For example, if a murderer comes before a judge, the judge - if he is righteous - doesn’t care how many people the murderer could have killed but didn’t; he doesn’t care how much money the murderer gave to charity or if he helped an old lady across the street.  The only question in his mind is whether the man is guilty of that specific murder.  Likewise, one violation of God’s Law is all that is required to sentence a person to Hell - still want to take that defence?  [If fact, we were all born already in violation of God’s Law before we personally did anything wrong.]

And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.  Rev. 20:15, NASB

If we are honest, we will have to admit that we will all be sentenced to Hell based on the Books of the records of our life.  However, there is another book, the Christian Book Of Life.    If your name is in the Book of Life, your guilt is wiped out, you are forgiven, and you enter heaven.  How is that possible?  It is possible because Jesus Christ has already paid the penalty for every wrong thing we did.  Being Just, God cannot punish the same offence twice.  Therefore, whoever has accepted Jesus and Lord and Saviour cannot be sentenced to Hell and will be admitted to Heaven - not because of their own works, but because of the works of Jesus Christ on their behalf.  

and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.  Rev. 21:27, NASB

We all stand guilty before God.  Those who do not have their names in the Book of Life will receive the justice of God.  Those who have their names in the Book of Life will receive the mercy of God due entirely to the work of Jesus Christ.

Can Your Name Be Taken Out Of The Book Of Life?

There are two verses that make it sound as if a person’s name can be erased from the Book of Life, i.e. that they could lose their salvation.

Add guilt to their guilt,
And may they not come into Your righteousness.

May they be wiped out of the book of life,
And may they not be recorded with the righteous.  Ps. 69:27-28, NASB

The one who overcomes will be clothed the same way, in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.  Rev. 3:5, NASB

From reading these two verses, it may seem natural to assume that a person can lose their salvation.  However, there are some Biblical rules of interpretation that we need to consider.

1. Scripture can never contradict itself.  If two passages appear to be in conflict, then we are misunderstanding one [or both] of them.

2. We always use the clear teaching of Scripture to understand verses that are not clear.

3. We must always examine the context.

So, keeping points one and two in mind, if we can establish from clear Scripture that a genuinely saved person cannot lose their salvation, then we will know that the above verses cannot be teaching that a person can lose their salvation.

Verses For Eternal Security

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one.”  John 10:27-30, NIV

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.  John 6:37, ESV

So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.  But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.  Rom. 11:5-6, ESV

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.  In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.  Eph. 1:3-14, ESV

Can Our Names Be Removed From The Book Of Life?

Since we are chosen by the Father by grace [not our works], Jesus will not reject us, no one is stronger than the Father [including ourselves], and the Holy Spirit is Himself the guarantee of our salvation; how do we understand the two verses about erasing names from the Book of Life?

Add guilt to their guilt,
And may they not come into Your righteousness.

May they be wiped out of the book of life,
And may they not be recorded with the righteous.  Ps. 69:27-28, NASB

David, in this Psalm, expresses his deep pain at being unjustly attacked by “those who hate me without reason.”  David is expressing his emotions and desire for justice.  In Hebrew, we often have what is called parallelism, which means the second line often repeats the idea of the first line in different words to explain it further.  We can see that “being wiped out of the Book of Life” is equated with “may they not be recorded with the righteous.”  The point David is making is that he doesn’t want them in the Book of Life - if their names were there, he wants them taken out.  We cannot use David’s request to teach that these villains actually were in the Book of Life and were taken out.

So that leaves us with one verse:

The one who overcomes will be clothed the same way, in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.  Rev. 3:5, NASB

Given our natural assumptions, it is easy to imply from this verse that names can be erased from the Book of Life.  However, given what we know from other Scriptures, we need to challenge our assumptions.  Is that really what this verse is implying?

What does Jesus actually say?  “I WILL NOT erase his name…”.  Who will not get their names erased?  The Overcomers or Victorious Ones.  What about those who do not overcome?  This verse does not say that those who do not overcome have ever had their names in the Book of Life to begin with  - that is an unwarranted assumption.  Overcomers prove that their names are in the Book of Life, and Jesus promises that He will never remove them from it.  That is Eternal Security.  In addition, the Holy Spirit guarantees that all those whose names are in the Book of Life will eventually overcome, no matter what struggles and defeats they may go through along the way.

For more information about Glenn Davis, see our About Glenn page or visit Glenn Davis Books.

Sign up for our free monthly newsletter or take one of our free Bible Study courses.

Please note: We no longer have the commenting feature [maybe again in the future].  Joshua Institute students who have questions or comments on their courses can use the contact button and mention the course name and lesson number in the email.  Thank you.  Glenn

Solo Build It!

You might like these

  • Examine Yourselves

    While we don't want to be morbidly introspective, there is a time when we are told to examine yourselves.

  • Vision For The Nations

    Too often we are guilty of a small vision, Jesus wants us to have a vision for the nations. All are to bow the knee to King Jesus.

  • No Heart Change

    Because he had no heart change, the King of Israel was in a panic over an impossible challenge. How often are we like that?

  • Where Is Jesus Now?

    Where is Jesus Now? Is He in Heaven? On earth? In our hearts?

  • New Christian Stream

    A list of articles, email courses and videos to help the new Christian in their walk with Jesus.

  • Blessed By God

    Blessed by God - there can be no greater blessing than knowing and be known by God.

  • Christian Life Religion

    The Christian life religion is a complete world-view of bringing humankind back into a fulfilling relationship with the loving God in order to fulfill their destiny.

  • Blame God

    Should we blame God when things go wrong? How is life interconnected?

  • When Jesus Calls Your Name

    When Jesus calls your name, new life is brought out of you. You discard the grave clothes and move forward in new discovery of who you are in Christ.

  • Do We Have Free Will?

    So do we have free will or not? As with many issues, the answer is both yes and no. Let's see what the Bible teaches.

Lookup a word or passage in the Bible

Include this form on your page