As many of you already know, the classic movie, It’s A Wonderful Life, produced by Frank Capra in 1946, is usually shown during the Christmas season. I believe this is a great, inspirational, Christian movie you can watch any time of the year. If you have not seen the movie, I suggest you purchase one or borrow it from a library and view it. It, of course, should not replace the Bible as God’s word, yet it has so many spiritual themes and lessons in it that I could not wait for December to come around again to post an article about it! So, here goes!
What George Bailey, (James Stewart), the main character of this movie, always dreamed of doing since he was a kid was to leave his home town and live a life experiencing and accomplishing something “big” and “important” for society.
I’m going to see the world. Italy, Greece, the Parthenon…the Coliseum. Then I’m coming back and go to college and see what they know…
By the end of the movie, however, George Bailey ended up receiving an unusual gift from his guardian angel, Clarence. It was a book entitled, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. In a previous post, (January 23, 2013), I correlated that book to the Book of Life described in the Bible where, as most Christians understand, you need to have your name be written in it in order to continue having an abundant life for eternity with God.
But let me ask this question: Why is there a Book of Life when we have Jesus Christ as being The Life?
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6, NKJV)
Salvation is through Jesus Christ alone! Read these other verses:
…let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
…that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.”
Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”
1 John 5:11-12
And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
The Book of Life, of and by itself, does not save anybody. Only he who acknowledges Christ, repents, believes in Him will have eternal life. There is no other way we can be saved – no other deity; no man made religions. Only Christ is the way of salvation. Why, then, does this Book of Life exist? And why is the Bible not used this way?
Let me ask again, if Jesus is the Life, why does God need a Book of Life? Here is my humble attempt to explain this. And, in order to do this, let me give you three parables.
Wait! What? You think only the Bible can have parables? Who says?
My Parable #1
The Book of Life is like the man who went to the airport to fly overseas and meet his family. When he approached the airline customer agent near the boarding gate, he asked if there was a seat available in the plane for him. After checking the manifest, and knowing that all flights were booked to capacity, the agent told the man he was not allowed to board the plane and continue on his journey. Other people in line behind him went through the gate without any problems.
My Parable #2
The Book of Life is like the youth who arrived at a college university in order take a class on a favorite topic he had always wanted to study. The registrar told him that the class was full. Since the want-to-be-student’s name was not registered for the course, he could not attend the class. Other students enrolled were let through.
My Parable #3
The Book of Life is like a man who entered a fancy and popular restaurant to enjoy a dinner along with family and friends. As he entered the lobby area he was greeted by the maître d’ who asked for his name. Thereafter, noticing that he did not have his name listed on the reservation roster, the host told him he could not enter the dining hall. Meanwhile, others who had just come into the establishment and had reservations were escorted in.
Comparison of the Parables
All three parables have something in common. Each had a person who registered names.
1) The airline agent recorded those wanting flight reservations.
2) The college admissions officer enrolled names of students for classes.
3) The restaurant maître d’ took reservations of those desiring dining reservations.
All three professionals in the parables represent Jesus Christ who writes our names in the Book of Life according to the Father’s will. (John 6:44).
Here are other lessons from my parables. I believe there will be immense educational opportunities throughout eternity. We will not have to enroll ahead of time to enter classrooms. The Godhead will be the teachers as well as others like Paul, Moses, and David. Angels will be teaching. Heck, they have been around for eons of time! They know a few things they can share with us. And we Christians will be teaching one another. We will not have all knowledge when we become spirit beings. Learning new things is what life is all about – to me anyway.
Also, of course, we will be traveling without limitations. No lines to get on to board flights. No waiting. No fuss. Life would be no fun if there is no travel.
We will be eating, drinking and feasting for tomorrow will never end. Not that we will be gluttons, but we will enjoy meals with one another as family. Heck, one of the first things we will have is a banquet with Jesus Christ! (Matthew 26:29)
All of this will be reality because of our names being written in the Book of Life.
The Book of Life’s author is Jesus Christ. And it is hand written by Him.
2) The Bible is about Jesus Christ. It points to Him throughout the book. But…
The Book of Life is about us. It points to God’s people, the saints, throughout the book.
3) In the movie, It’s A Wonderful Life, the book that Clarence, the angel, gave to George Bailey was written by Mark Twain who was dead and in his grave when the movie was made. It is mostly about one person, Tom Sawyer who, if he were not a fictitious character, would have been dead also. But…
The Book of Life was written by God, Jesus Christ, who died and rose again from the dead. It is about the many who will live forever.
Yet, the biggest question was answered in the movie, It’s A Wonderful Life. It is the key of the whole movie: What would it be like if George Bailey had never been born? The same question can be asked about Jesus Christ. What would it be like today if Jesus Christ had never been born as a human being on this earth?
The ramifications and conditions of that question would be unimaginable for us Christians today. The Bible would still be incomplete. There would be no Church. There would still be no salvation offered to mankind. We would never have our names written in The Book of Life. Or, wait a minute, would our names still be in there?
Questions Still Persists
I know I am digressing a little here. I cannot help it. But gnawing questions still linger my thinking about this subject. When was the Book of Life written by Jesus Christ? Was it written before the foundation of the world with all of our names all written in it – way before we were born? Or is it constantly being updated now?
If our names have been previously written before our existence, then who reserved our names for us? If you re-read my three parables you will note that the plane reservation could have been made by someone else, by the wife for example, for the traveler, ahead of time. Someone else, a loving parent in this case, could have registered the student prior to his arrival on campus. And the same with the dinner reservation – someone else, like a close relative, could have done it for the customer in the restaurant long before his entrance into the establishment. What am I getting at?
Well, my personal Bible study this year, 2013, will be very much focused on predestination and GRACE. I want to be able to write online what I have learned and have understood about these topics. You may ask, why bother? What is the big deal? Just my curiosity, mostly. Also, to me, it is significant in helping me understand and appreciate the nature of evangelism and the Great Commission Jesus Christ has given us. (Matthew 28:18-20). There is so much I do not know. There is so much studying to do.
But, Christ was born! That is why there was rejoicing and singing at the end of the movie. “… Glory to the new born King…” It is the reason we can be singing, Joy To The World, always being joyful as we wait the return of Jesus Christ who will have His book with Him with our names written in it entitled – The Book of Life.