Who Wrote the Book of Love?

When you hear the name “God”, what image comes to your mind? Our brain is hard-wired to think in terms of pictures. Each one of us has tens of thousands of mental images stored in our brains that instantly come to mind when we hear words or phrases. Someone says “dog” and one thousand people will instantly call to mind one thousand different mental images of what “dog” means to them. These images are based on experiences, good or bad. Our mental image of God in large measure shapes how we relate to Him. Unlike a dog, which we can see, touch, and experience in new ways, God is unseen. We can shape our image of “dog” with new experiences rooted in our five natural senses. To change our mental image of God (and how we relate to Him), we must go beyond our natural senses and begin to think and learn of Him through the whole of scripture.

Most importantly, we see God through the person of His Son, Jesus.

If you had known me, you would have known my Father also: from henceforth you know him, and have seen him.  Philip said unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us. Jesus said unto him, have I been so long time with you, and do you not know me, Philip? He that has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, Show us the Father? (John 14 7-9)

God’s Son has all the brightness of God’s own glory and is like him in every way. (Hebrews 1:3 CEV)

Our mental image of God is critical to how we relate to God. Satan knows this, and the fallen enemy’s highest priority is to distort the image of God in the minds and hearts of humans. This attack on the nature and character of the Father began in the beginning, in the Garden of Eden, and it continues to the present moment. To say that this strategy has been successful may be the biggest understatement in the history of our planet! One of the first statements Satan made to a human was intended to impugn God’s loving, caring, generous nature:

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;  but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'” Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1-5)

Notice the progression here. First, Satan intentionally misquotes the command of God, changing it from not eating from one tree to “every tree.” (Message: God is selfish and hates you. He doesn’t want you to have anything good.) Next, the woman, influenced by this lie, also misquotes the command. She adds, “nor shall you touch it”, which of course God did not say. (Message: God’s commands are harsh and unreasonable. He is just looking for an excuse to kill you.) Then, Satan calls God a liar: “You will not surely die.” (Message: God can’t be trusted and you don’t have to do what He says.) Finally, Satan drives home his main intention, which is to convince the woman that God is holding out on her and her husband. Satan’s message is that God won’t allow them to have what He has, and that He is a manipulative, cruel being who just wants to keep man ignorant and enslaved to harsh rules that, if disobeyed, will liberate man to happiness and higher knowledge. (Notice how this sounds amazingly like your liberal college professor!)

Imagine the outcome for humanity if Eve had trusted in the true nature of her loving Father-Creator. She would have enjoyed unbroken fellowship with God, grown in wisdom and knowledge unto full stature, and ruled over God’s creation as a queen. But she bought the lie which was designed to strip her of all this joy, a lie that at its core was conceived and instituted for the purpose of getting her to believe wrongly about God. This lie has been told and repeated, embellished and strengthened, so that it has saturated the thinking of men right down to this present age. Fallen man is born with distrust and hatred of God that can only be broken by Truth and a new birth.

Salvation is so much more than simply escaping judgment. The highest calling of this life is to know God as He truly is. And, we can only know Him in this way by changing the way we think about Him! God’s nature is that of a Father; Jesus made big waves in His day by calling God, “your heavenly Father.” No one had ever called God a father before. Now we must realize that God is not like our earthly fathers, who are broken human beings just like all of us. God is a loving, giving, nurturing father who is slow to anger, quick to forgive, and who gave the best thing He could give for us: The blood of His Son. You are so important to God that he paid with the blood of His own perfect Son to have you as His friend. If you doubt that, it is because you have believed the same lie that deceived Eve.

The earth is full of God-haters today. Many unbelievers become violently angry whenever divine justice is mentioned. In a recent posting on Facebook, a friend of mine shared a link to an article about God’s love and long-suffering. The article mentioned that while Hell is a biblical reality, the way most people think about hell is wrong and distorted. Among the comments my friend received was one from an acknowledged unbeliever, who angrily stated that the mentioning of the word “hell” completely removed any credibility from the article. For the record, Hell is real, and most people (including many Christians) don’t have a biblical understanding of it. Hell was not made for humans; it was made for the original liar who we have read about at the beginning of this article.

It should come as no surprise to us that Satan has distorted the ideas about Hell and used them to further attack the nature of God to humans. Most people who think that Hell is a real place think that “bad people” go there. “Bad” is defined in their thinking as those who have committed more bad acts than good; or those who have committed acts so bad that forgiveness is not available. Both views are, of course, wrong. But the overriding view is that God is waiting to send you to Hell; Hell is His default method for dealing with people, and only by earning our way into His good graces with a “good” lifestyle can we escape. This is such a corruption of God’s heart! It is a lie from the father of lies.

The bible tells us that God has a book of names. It is a book of love, called The Book of Life in scripture. Both the old and new Testaments refer to this book. It is not a catalog of our sins and failures; it is a joyous collection of the names of those who have accepted God’s free gift of legal right standing in Heaven, called righteousness. I think most of us assume that God writes our names in this book when we become Christians, but this assumption does not line up with scripture. Rather, it is rooted in our wrong image of who God is and how He feels about us. There is no verse in the bible that says God writes our names in The Book of Life when we accept Him. What it does say is that He has written our names in His book from the foundation of the world!

And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him (the antichrist), every one whose name hath not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that hath been slain. (Revelation 13:8)

Do you know what that means? It means that before you were born, before you were even formed in the womb, God knew your name and wrote it in His Book of Life. When you were a rebellious God-hater, God knew you and had your name recorded in His Book. He was waiting with burning love for you to accept His offer of mercy so that He could have intimate fellowship with you. He didn’t wait until you came around, He wrote you in from the foundation of the world. This is staggering, and it shows us a glimpse of His heart, so different from the angry God with His finger on the “smite” button who is ready to punish you for every infraction.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. (Romans 5:8-11)

God records our names from the foundation of the world, but He must blot out the names of those who refuse Him. Perfect love demands perfect justice, and those who refuse His love, resist His leadership, and reject His mercy cannot enter into His Kingdom.

He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. (Rev. 3:5)

The context of this promise is made to Sardis, the dead church. It is possible for believers to have their names blotted out of the Book of Life, according to Jesus. I believe that the Lord will weep over those names as they are blotted out.

For those written in the Book of Life, sin is washed away and all shame and condemnation is banished. God records their deeds and rewards them based on their works- gold, silver, and precious stones, or wood, hay, and stubble. But the issue of His love is a settled fact, and even those who receive no rewards are saved. (I Cor. 3:15) But for those who come to the final judgment having rejected God’s offer of salvation through the blood of His son, a different scale will be used to weigh their lives. “Books” will opened:

And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God,[c] and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. (Rev. 20:12,15)

What great sorrow it will be for the God of Love to cast away those who were created for love. He will be acting in perfect justice, but it will grieve His Father-heart.

Your name is written in His Book of Life. If you know Him, realize that He has loved you from before the foundation of the world and He will do so for all eternity. A billion years from today, He won’t love you anymore than He does now. If you don’t know the Father, run to Him now! Don’t be fooled by the lies you have been told about God; He burns with love for you.

If God is for us, who can be against us?… I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8: 31,38)

There is only one entity that can separate you from the love of God: You can. Don’t fall into the trap of wrong thinking, but instead run into the Father’s arms. He Loves you!