Declaration of eternal life ∙
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. – Ephesians 4:30
John 1:4 and In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
John 10:10 I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Judy Cashner now wears a T-shirt with the words: I am not dead yet! You would think that the mere fact that she was standing, looking well with a smile on her face, that the shirt was redundant. But this was not the case.
It seems that she was declared dead by Wells Fargo Bank in 2019. She was informed of her demise by a letter received on August 10, 2020, addressed to her estate. It is not clear why Wells Fargo thought she was dead, but as far as they were concerned, she was.
The letter read: “We are sorry for your loss and understand this is a difficult time for you.” Her estate was informed that credit card payments received after her passing would be applied to transactions made after her death. And then concluded with a query: “If this was not your intent, please call us.”
Word of Judy Cashner’s death came as quite a shock to her. At first, she thought it was a joke. When Cashner contacted Wells Fargo to have the situation corrected, she got more bad news about her death. Wells Fargo also had taken it upon itself to tell three credit reporting agencies that she had died. This had severe ramifications for her. She and her husband were in the process of refinancing their home. But their lender could not obtain the information it needed to approve the loan because she was no longer employed. After all, she was deceased.
It was no simple matter for Cashner to demonstrate beyond any reasonable doubt that she was still alive. Ultimately, she had to go to a local Wells Fargo branch, where she presented her driver’s license and signed a form called a “declaration of life.” The situation was finally resolved. Apparently, even those falsely reported as dead are entitled to the same legal protections as anyone else when erroneous information appears in their credit file. But imagine all the havoc did (The Oregonian).
Of course, many people of been declared dead who were not. Mark Twain quipped, “The report of my death was an exaggeration.”
Keeping track of living populations is an ancient practice. In the Ancient Near East, governments and families kept records of people. Such records had many practical functions, just as it is in modern times: taxation, military duty, and establishing property ownership. The ancient books or scrolls had to be updated as the actual population changed. When someone was born or moved into a town or region, it was necessary to add that person’s name to the book. When someone dies or moves away, it is essential to remove his or her name from the book. Thus the listing was always a current record of those alive at any given time. They had much in common with modern-day censuses.
In other words, the book that held their names was a “Book of Life.” Only the names of the living were found in it. The names of those who had died were removed, which is blotted out periodically as needed (Stuart).
The nation of Israel had a similar registry of live births. In fact, the Father also keeps a record in heaven (Exodus 32:32). He has a book of life in which every person who would ever be born has their name written. He refers to it as the Book of Life.
Philippians 4:3 They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life.
REFLECT & PRAY
The Book of Life refers to the Father’s record of those who belong to Him and are part of His forever family.
Father thank You that You have a Book of Life. In eternity past, You put my name in it. When I believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord, You guaranteed that my name would never be blotted out from the Book of Life.
But the Father’s records are a bit different than human records. Because each person can have two births: one physical and the other spiritual. Since the Fall of Adam and Eve, all people have been born physically alive but spiritually dead. Hence, the Lord Jesus Christ taught that in order to enter the kingdom of God, we must be born again.
John 3:3 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Thus, somewhat of an odd bit of a paradox exists in the Father’s kingdom. Apparently, it works like this. All live births of all people are recorded in the Book of Life before they are ever born. The Father being all-knowing and eternal knows everyone’s name in advance of their earthly existence from eternity past.
His Book of Life is a book of the living, and all who are born initially appear in it. The Father does not arbitrarily put some names in it and not others. However, it is refined over time just as governments and family lists are.
But the criteria are different. It is not merely about life and death but about eternal life and spiritual death.
1 Timothy 2:4 [The Father] wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed but wants everyone to repent.
All people born into the world have the potential for eternal life. The Father fervently desires that each person will be with Him forever. But He allows people to make their own choices. However, throughout the ages, most ignore, reject, disdain, put off, or otherwise forfeit that potential – and so their names are eventually blotted out of the Book of Life (Stuart).
Ultimately, the Father’s Book of Life will contain only the names of those who have eternal life.
That is why the Lord Jesus Christ is so adamant and blunt when speaking with Nicodemus. Entering into heaven requires not one but two births.
John 3:5 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
When a person is born, a certificate of birth is issued. A “declaration of eternal life” is issued when a person is born again. And their name remains forever in the Book of Life. The declaration of eternal life bears no signature but has been sealed forever by the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 1:13 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.
© Dr. H 2022