Gracie asks, “In Exodus 32, God removes sinful Israelites from His book of life. Does God remove names from His book of life today?
In Exodus 32, God pronounces judgment on many sinful Israelites who instigated and willingly participated in the construction and worship of the golden calf. God says to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out of my book” (Exodus 32:33).
This terminology of “the book of life” is found in the Psalms, in Paul’s letter to the Philippians, and throughout Revelation. We do not know whether this is a physical book with names written in it, or just an expression to refer to those who have been saved by God and will be with Him in heaven.
But we do know that the book of life is nothing like the naughty or nice list parents tell their children Santa Clause keeps. God is not surprised by our sins and rebellion and he doesn’t need to keep a tally of our rights and wrongs to determine if our name should be in His book, whether we will be with Him eternally.
While a simple reading of Exodus 32 may lead people to assume that these Israelites were originally saved by God, but because of their sin with the golden calf, God decided to remove them from the list.
But God knew about these Israelite’s rebellion long before Moses was even born to record these words, and He also knew whether these Israelites would ever come before Him with genuine repentance anytime in the future.
God blotted these people out of His book because, frankly, they were never His in the first place. They never walked in trust with Him, nor did they truthfully repent and turn away from their sinful behavior.
So, does the question apply today? Does God remove names from His book, or, in more clear terms, can a Christian lose their salvation?
The answer is no. Paul writes in Romans 8 that because God has delivered us, no one can destroy us. When we accept the free gift of Jesus Christ, we are His forever. Jesus said, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28).
For believers, salvation is permanent and irrevocable. Whenever it seems like a believer has walked away from the faith and rejected Christ, either they are temporarily far from God but still part of His plan, or they never truly walked with Him in the first place.