If you are a Christian, consider your salvation. Consider when it occurred. Consider when it was determined that you would be rescued by God. Consider these two verses in the book of Revelation:
Revelation 13:8 – AND all who dwell on earth will worship it, 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 17:8 – The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. 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, because it was and is not and is to come.
Twice in Revelation, we see the concept of God writing the names of people in the book of life from before the foundation of the world. At the same time, we see that there are those whose names were not written in the book of life before the foundation of the world. Clearly, we must grasp that something happened before creation that has to do with our salvation.
Did you think that your salvation came about as God’s plan B? Did you think that God, after the fall of man, looked down and chose to make a rescue plan? Such would be false, very false. God planned salvation history before creation.
How about taking some personal credit for your salvation? After all, you were smart enough to believe and turn to Jesus while so many others are too rebellious to do so? Such an opinion is drastically unbiblical (see Ephesians 2:8-9). No, we are not saved because we were smart enough or good enough. If we take Revelation seriously, we will see that, if we are saved, we are saved because God wrote our names in his book before all of history began. God chose a people for himself before he set the planets spinning.
What does this thought do to our pride and what does it do to our evangelism? It should crush any vestige of pride in us. We are saved, if we are saved, because of God’s mighty and sovereign will. That is not to say that we did not make a choice; we did. But, it is to say that we could not have made a choice that was right without God first moving us. If we have to ask whose will is ultimate in our salvation, we should recognize that it is God’s will that is ultimate, which is what makes grace gracious.
What does this do to our evangelism? It should actually make our evangelism more joyful and confident. You see, there are people in the world whose names are already in the book of life. We need to go and find them. WE need to tell them the truth. We need to call them to repentance. Since we do not know whose names are in the book, we tell everybody. And we make an honest offer: If you will turn from your sin and trust in Jesus, you will be saved. That offer is absolutely genuine, as all who turn from their sins and trust in Jesus will be saved. Such people will find that their names have been in God’s book of life from eternity past. Yet, their choice to trust in Jesus and turn from their sin will be completely authentic, a true decision, even if God was sovereign over it.
There are so many questions that people raise in this discussion, and that is not the point of my post. So, let’s not have any arguments that start with, “But you haven’t thought about…” Here is what I know. All whose names are in the book of life from before the foundation of the world will be saved. Thus, if I am saved, I owe all gratitude to the God who chose to write my name in his book before I ever existed. And, I share the gospel with others all around me because I know that those who turn to Jesus for salvation will be rescued by God in just the same way.