NAMES WRITTEN IN HEAVEN
"Your names are written in heaven." Luke 10:20
This blessed title the Savior gives to his disciples, is above all present gifts in value. They returned with joy from a successful exercise of their ministry. He lifted their minds to a higher privilege than that. He himself rejoiced over their possession of this privilege. It was the Father's gift. It was a special gift to his elect. The Lord knew those who were his. Their record was on high. But it belongs equally to the whole church of the firstborn. They are all written in heaven--an imperishable record--the Lamb's book of life. They are called by his Spirit on earth, according to this record. They are acknowledged, when their earthly pilgrimage is passed, as the children of God, thus chosen and registered. He will own them as his, when he makes up his jewels. It is an inestimable privilege--a glorious prospect! Am I one of this recorded company? If I believe in Jesus, and love him, and follow him, I am. And how great are the blessings of it!
1. It may satisfy me in every earthly trial. I may be persecuted for Christ's sake--my name may be reviled, and cast out as evil--the reproaches of those who reproach him may fall upon me. Be it so. I have an imperishable record with God. Earthly hostility cannot erase it--earthly sorrow cannot blot it out--earthly judgment cannot reverse it. There it stands--as much mine in the dungeon as on the throne. Christ's suffering flock have gone through much for him. So may I. But they have always been satisfied and comforted in the midst of trials, with the knowledge of their interest in him. Why may not I be? God reveals in the hours of darkness, special manifestations of his love to his people. It makes them know that they are his. I will be content in trial. If he will show his approving face, man may revile and persecute in vain. No scene of sorrow can be so dark, that an assurance of my imperishable portion in Christ will not cheer and enlighten it.
2. It may encourage me to trust entirely in a faithful God. I will go on in the open path of manifest duty, wherever it shall lead. I will boldly acknowledge and follow my Savior in the midst of a guilty world, whatever it shall cost. I may be often alone; but God will be ever with me. I may be often downcast; but Jesus will make unceasing intercession for me. I may be rejected among men; but the Holy Spirit will refresh me with grace from heaven. This is enough. I will trust in God, and not be afraid. I have one great treasure, which no power on earth can remove--my name written in heaven. What peace I may enjoy! What confidence I may have in the hour of danger! What sure protection in the day of conflict! Who can harm me? Who can separate my soul from Christ? Who can change the record which God has made? Let my faith ever abide in its certainty; and my heart ever rejoice in the assurance which it gives.
3. It may comfort me with certainty of my rest. I will think of it in my sorrows--my name is written in heaven. These afflictions will only chasten and correct me. They cannot destroy me. Each new dispensation of trial helps me on to glory. Every cup which my Father mingles, must be a happy cup for me. My Savior has gone to prepare my rest. Surely he knows what I need--what will be suited for me--what will be most adapted to promote my happiness. Who could prepare it better? He tasted of my infirmities--he understands all my temptations--he knows my nature perfectly; and when he prepares my place, it must be the best possible place for me. Everything intermediate is temporary. Changes and successions will roll by me; but the end is fixed; the glorious issue is secure. And in all these successions, it is my blessed privilege to be comforted with looking forward to it. He who has chosen me, and written my name in heaven, will carry me safely through. I shall come to his presence with songs and with everlasting joy upon my head. In this blessed hope, complete in him, and giving him all the glory, I will peacefully wait, and sincerely rejoice, all the days of my appointed time.
4. It may urge me to a heavenly mind. If I belong to that glorious assembly, I would walk, and think, and feel in accordance with my privilege. This is what I greatly need--a mind elevated above the vanities and cares of earth. My motives, desires, principles, meditations, all sanctified, all given to God. Then should I pass a peaceful, happy life--undisturbed with storms--unruffled by anxieties--uninjured by contentions. Why should earthly things cast me down? Why should I be careful and troubled about them? I would fill up the duty of the day. Patiently bear its trials--happily accomplish its usefulness--gratefully enjoy its mercies. But I would never say, "Here will I dwell--it is good to be here." No. My name, my home, my inheritance, my treasure, are all beyond. Like the swallow, I would dip in the stream, and fly onward. I would cultivate hopes, and thoughts, and desires above. Let me thus walk with God in newness of life, and strive in everything perfectly to do his holy will.
5. If my name is written in heaven, these are the characteristics which should mark me daily--satisfied in trial--encouraged in faith--comforted with hope--spiritually-minded in the enjoyment of life and peace. Such are the proper marks of my high calling. Let me daily strive that they may be mine. Then will my Lord not be ashamed to own my name in the day of his glory.
Here it is I find my heaven,
While upon the Lamb I gaze;
Here I see my sins forgiven,
Lost in wonder, love, and praise.
May I still enjoy this feeling,
In all need to Jesus go;
Prove his blood each day more healing,
And myself more deeply know.