SOMETHING TO CONSIDER FROM LUKE 10
Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come … (and) the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” And He said to them, “… do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.” (Luke 10:1, 17, 20)
I have been a follower of Christ, now, for many years. But I have never commanded a demon to leave a person’s body. Most surely, I have been in the oppressive presence of unbelievers who had submitted their souls to the tyranny of these evil spirit-beings. And my wife and I have been keenly aware, on many occasions, of their attacks upon our lives, our home and our ministries. We have come to know firsthand the reality of spiritual battle and our need to “put on the full armor of God.” But I have never participated in an actual exorcism. So, I cannot relate to the joy of delivering others from demonic possession.
But I can relate to the joy of another kind of ministry: explaining God’s Word to God’s people. This is the calling Christ has placed upon my life. Indeed, every believer has been called by God to perform his own unique ministry, one that makes him – in some special way – a joyful participant in the Great Commission. It is the privilege and pleasure of every born again Christ-follower to prepare others for eternity.
But did you notice that Jesus spoke of an even greater joy than the joy of ministry?
Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven. (Luke 10:20)
Both the Old and New Testaments have some things to say about this heavenly record. It is called “the book” (Daniel 12:1) … “the book of life” (Psalms 69:28; Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5, 17:8, 20:12, 20:15) … and “the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27). But its full name is
“the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.” (Revelation 13:8)
It is a record of the redeemed; and its Recorder is God Himself (Exodus 32:32). In this book is a list of those whose deliverance has been secured by the blood of Jesus. That is, it is a book of the righteous, and it includes those who lived both before and after the Cross of Christ (that is, both Old and New Testament believers). (Exodus 32:32; Psalm 69:28; Hebrews 12:22-23; Daniel 12:1).
Interestingly, the names listed were not recorded on the day of each one’s salvation. Instead, they were written down “from the foundation of the world.” That is, in eternity past, before His first act of creation, God wrote in this book the names of those to be redeemed. (Revelation 13:8, 17:8)
And they are there to stay. Backed by the promise of God, not one name will ever be removed from this divine journal. Every one of them was written with permanent, indelible, impossible-to-be-erased “ink.”
Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1st John 5:5) … (and) He who overcomes … I will not erase his name from the book of life; and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. (Revelation 3:5)
So, why should the presence of one’s name in this book be cause for such great rejoicing?
- For those who live during the Great Tribulation, only those whose names are written in the Book of Life will reject the antichrist’s miracles and his mark of ownership. As a result, they will escape God’s everlasting punishment. (Revelation 13:8)
- During this same time of global distress, national Israel will face yet another holocaust (known as “Jacob’s trouble”). Those Jews whose names are written in the Book of Life will be rescued from this attempted genocide. (Daniel 12:1)
- At the final judgment only those whose names are written in the Book of Life will be delivered from the Lake of Fire. (Revelation 20:12, 15).
- And after the creation of the new heaven and new earth, only those whose names are written in the Book of Life will be able to enter into “the holy city, (the new) Jerusalem.” (Revelation 21:10-27)
For one to be delivered from the kingdom of eternal darkness unto the Kingdom of eternal light is cause for exceedingly great joy. What’s more, he is not the only one who rejoices over his salvation:
If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. So, it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish. (Matthew 18:12-14)
In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. (Luke 15:10)
So yes, let us rejoice in our service for Christ. But let us be filled with great wonder and delight and joy and pleasure … and let us be “thrilled to pieces” … and turn cartwheels … and whoop and holler … and sing … and dance … and let us shout with exceedingly great joy in our salvation through Christ. Because nothing, nothing holds a candle to one’s name being written in “the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.”