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Questions and Answers

Q: "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will NOT BLOT out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.", Revelation 3:5. From reading this verse, it appears that there is something one could do (sin) that would cause God to remove our name from the Book of Life. We (Baptists) teach that once one is saved they are always saved. This seems to be a direct contradiction.

Answer: When taken in context of the letter to the Church in Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6), the emphasis in this passage is assurance of the believer's salvation, not the threat of losing one's salvation. The Greek word translated as overcometh is nikao. The Greek carries the meaning to conquer, to carry off to victory, or come off victorious. In reference to Christians, it speaks of those that hold fast their faith even unto death against the power of their foes, and temptations and persecutions. Nikao is used and translated 'overcometh' in each of the letters recorded in the second and third chapters of Revelation. This same Greek word, nikao, is also used and translated as 'overcometh' in 1 John 5:4-5. Assurance of the believer's salvation is the theme in these verses as well. "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" Salvation is in the Person of Jesus Christ and faith in His redemptive work, not one's work or accomplishments. Therefore, one cannot lose one's salvation by their works or failures. Those who have trusted through faith Jesus Christ as their Savior are assured their names would not be blotted out of the Book of Life and Jesus would confess to the Father that He knows them. This truth is substantiated by Jesus' promise recorded in Matthew10:32-33: "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." Dr. John Walvoord submits the following insights concerning Revelation 3:5:

"Some have indicated that there is no explicit statement here that anybody will have his name blotted out, but rather the promise that his name will not be blotted out because of his faith in Christ. The implication, however, is that such is a possibility. On the basis of this some have considered the book of life not as the roll of those who are saved but rather a list of those for whom Christ died, that is, all humanity who have possessed physical life. As they come to maturity and are faced with the responsibility of accepting or rejecting Christ, their names are blotted out if they fail to receive Jesus Christ as Savior; whereas those who do accept Christ as Savior are confirmed in their position in the book of life, and their names are confessed before the Father and the heavenly angels."[1]

These are some thoughts to ponder.


[1] John F. Walvoord. The Revelation Of Jesus Christ. (Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1966) 82.








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