3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are written in the book of life.
4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, rejoice.
This is the only passage in which the apostle Paul mentions the book of life, but it is mentioned seven times in the book of Revelation. The scripture refers to different books that God keeps, and finding them all makes for an interesting study. Some think the book of life contains the names of all that are born into the world and those who die lost have their name blotted out of it. They see it as a book of natural life. There is such a book, it is called the “book of the living” (Ps. 69:28). I believe the book of life is a different book, and that it contains the names of all those who have eternal life.
• There are people with physical life that are not in the book of life (Rev. 13:8; 17:8)
• The book of life is associated with the sacrifice of Christ (Rev. 13:8; 21:27)
• Those not written in the book of life will suffer the second death (Rev. 20:11-15)
Some have a problem with the apostle Paul mentioning the book of life when it is so prominent in the book of Revelation (which is not about us). Well, the book of Revelation also talks about redemption through the blood of Christ! In observing the divisions in the Bible, we must be careful not to overlook the connections. I believe that both the mystery saints and the kingdom saints have their names written in the book of life. Eternal life is only found in the Son of God (1 Jn. 5:11-12). He is central and foundational to both programs. Having your name in the book of life is a cause for great rejoicing (v.4; Lk. 10:17-20).
There is, however, an important distinction regrading the book of life. In the coming tribulation period, the saints must labor to stay in the book of life (Rev. 3:1-7; 22:19). The Body of Christ is never given such a warning because we are sealed with the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption (Eph. 4:30). The tribulation saints must keep themselves in the love of God (Jude 21), but nothing can separate us from the love of God (Rom. 8:35-39). Under the gospel of the kingdom, a man must prove his faith by his works in order to be justified (Jam. 2:14-26). Under the gospel of the grace of God, we are justified instantly and permanently by the faith of Christ the moment that we believe (Gal. 2:16). In this age of grace, we do not labor to have our names written in the book of life, but we should labor because we are in the book of life (v.3; 2 Cor. 6:1; 1 Cor. 15:10).