“…another book was opened, which is the Book Of Life…” Revelation 20:12
Yahweh’s Book Of Life is not a written ledger.
His accounting isn’t comprised of columns for debits and columns for credits. There is no sum total for “Balance Paid So Far” or “Balance Still Owed.”
Which isn’t good news for those of us with a stubborn desire for independence who pride ourselves on being pay-backers:
~ says the child to the father who granted him freedom and wealth in spite of being rejected for his love and knowing the boy would squander away the gift (1)
Yahweh’s reply shows the fallacy of our ledger:
Yahweh’s Book Of Life is not like a side-by-side picture book.
You know, the kind in which the viewer, usually a child, compares one image against another similar, but slightly different image. “Ah ha, I see that the person has three loaves of bread here, but in this other picture she only has two loaves.” The Book Of Life is not like that.
Which isn’t good news for appearance-comparers, of which my haughty pride can easily twist me into:
~ says the religious person who compares his activities of self-achieving righteousness to his perception of the stereotypical activities of others, all the while ignoring the unrighteous going-ons of his heart, mind, and mouth (3)
To the overtly religious, Yahweh’s reply is meant to make us reconsider:
Yahweh’s Book Of Life is not written like a checklist.
Nor is grading on the curve even a thing at the City Of Heaven’s gate.
Which isn’t good news for us cross-it-offers who like to measure our productivity by striking things off a list:
~ says the rich young leader who is hoping to earn eternal life (5)
To which Jesus says our measurements are entirely wrong:
Yahweh’s Book Of Life is not like an embarrassing collection of photos.
There are no snapshots of our worst moments frozen in perpetuity for critical eyes to see.
Which isn’t good news for the history-keepers: those who like to reminisce about the past faults of others as if they reflect their present-day condition. And are there not times when I too am guilty of focusing on the former rather than the redeemed?
~ says the judgmental host showing total indifference to a woman who recognizes both the extent of her sinful ways in the past and the extent of God’s forgiving ways for her future (7)
The compassionate Messiah bends near and speaks with love:
So what then is Yahweh’s Book Of Life like?
Yahweh’s Book Of Life is like a list of unworthy party guests.
Which is really good news for invitation-of-grace-accepters, of which I desire the humility to be one every moment of every day.
~ says the great and gracious master to his servants after he has been lied to, humiliated, and insulted by guests who offered his servants the lamest of lame excuses for not coming to his extravagant party as a way of saying they not only reject the host and his offer, but they prefer other things (9)
For in Christ, any thought of payback is an ugly insult to the One who hung. Any attempt at comparison is sinful self-advertising pride. Any desire to make it on one’s own erodes the humility needed to accept grace. Any indifference to redemption indicates a heart filled with little love.
As Kenneth Bailey writes. “The self-confidence of the self-made person crashes and dissolves like a mighty wave on a sandy shore when eternal life is at issue.” (10)
Yahweh erodes all notions of parity, voids all payback notices, dissolves all checklists, and washes all histories clean.
There is no earning forgiveness, acceptance, rightness, completeness, good-enoughness, fullness of payment, restoration, or salvation.
There is only grace.
Only grace gets you in the Book of Life.
Yahweh’s Book Of Life is an elegant record of peace-backers, mercy-seekers, cross-lovers, history-forgivers, and grace-accepters because nothing less and not one ounce more is required to dance with Yahweh in eternal life than to say, “I believe.”
- Based on the story of the two lost sons in Luke 15
- Based on Romans 6v23
- Based on Matthew 6v17 as well as the story of the Pharisee and tax collector in Luke 18
- Based on Matthew 7v1, 6v16
- Based on Luke 18v20-21
- Based on Matthew 19v23-26
- Based on Luke 7v39
- Based on Luke 7v50
- Based on Luke 14
- From Kenneth Bailey’s Book “Poet and Peasant and Through Peasant Eyes” on page 164