“The Beast, the Book, and the Beauty of the Lamb”
“If your name is in the Book (Lamb’s Book), your calling is not to stay alive, but stay in love.”
“Do not be intimidated by brilliant people on your campus who do not know what the central purpose of the universe is and are living in total darkness with all of their brilliance. Don’t be people who live in the dark and don’t know what the point of it all is; don’t be intimidated! If you have seen and know these three things – the plan of the universe is the Lamb slain, the song of the universe forever is the Lamb slain, the central point in history is the Lamb slain – if you know those three things, you know vastly more than they do and it is important and totally life changing. You don’t need to know a lot of things, you just need to know a few things and believe them with all of your heart.”
– John Piper
“The Beast, the Book, and the Beauty of the Lamb”
Passion 2016, 1.3.16
3 Implications for Your Life
So in the first part of our journey we saw the Lamb before the foundation of the world, slain in the mind of God; then, in eternity-future, we saw the slain Lamb as the central song of the universe; and then, at the center-point of history, we saw him actually slain outside Jerusalem.
Then we took the trip again and we saw a people appointed from eternity in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain, then purchased in history by the actual slaying of the Lamb, and then praising the slain and triumphant Lamb in eternity-future with everlasting joy.
And now our journey ends here in Atlanta and Houston. It ends with three implications for your life. Three effects of having your name in the “Book of the Life of the Lamb That was Slain.”
1) Your name is in the book of life so that you will see the glory of the Lamb.
That’s the effect of being in the book. Seeing the Lamb as beautiful is the great vocation of the Christian. This is the fountain of all all that is godly in your life — seeing the Lamb as supremely beautiful — more magnificent, more satisfying than anything else. And the devil knows it. That’s why Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:4, that Satan “has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.” Seeing the glory of the Lamb is the first, and all-decisive, purpose of your life — if your name is in the book.
So the risen Lamb says to us — everyone of us — from Revelation 1:18, “I died, and see I am alive forevermore.” And again in Revelation 5:5 the elder says to John, “Weep no more;see, the Lion of the tribe of Judah has conquered.” And again from Revelation 22:7 the Lamb says, “See, I am coming soon.” This is our great calling — to see the Lamb for who he is.
And so John tells us in first chapter of Revelation what he saw when he saw the risen Lamb:
His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. (Revelation 1:13–16)
If your name is in the book it is your great and first calling — to gaze on the revelation of God until you see the glory of the Lamb (see John 1:14; 17:24) — more beautiful, more precious, compelling than anything else.
2) And this means, second, that since your name is in the book, you will live and die humbly and happily to show that Jesus is better than life.
If your name is in the book, your calling is not to stay alive, but to stay in love. To love the Lamb more than you love life. The Beast was killing Christians globally by the thousands. He was doing it in the first century. And the beastly contenders with God are doing it today. And what does heaven say about these saints who see the glory of the Lamb as more precious than life. It says this: “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death” (Revelation 12:11). No. They loved Jesus unto death. Not their lives. So while they were being killed, they were conquering!
And by their life and by their humble and happy death, they showed that the Lamb is more precious than life.
And what does the Lamb say to those about to die such a death (Revelation 2:10)? He says, “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” “Do you hear me?” Jesus says. “I will give it to you. No, I will not send ten thousand messengers to crown ten thousand martyrs! I — I myself, will come to you. I will carry you to my home, and I — I myself, will crown you. Because you trusted me as more precious than life.”
Is your name in the “Book of Life of the Lamb That was Slain”? If it is, then your calling is to see him as more beautiful than all, and to live and die humbly and happily to show that he is more precious than life.
3) Which leads to one last great privilege of being in the book — you will share in his glory.
You will “eat of the tree of life in the paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7). And beyond all imagination the triumphant Lamb says to you, “The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne” (Revelation 3:21). Sitting with the Lamb of God on the throne of God is what it means — in the end to have your name in the book.
John saw his face “like the sun shining in full strength” (Revelation 1:16). Yes, and we sitting with him on the throne, what of our faces? Jesus answers: “The righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matthew 13:43). The Lamb will “transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” (Philippians 3:21). And you will be free from all sinning and all sorrow and all sickness and shame. And you will be as happy in the presence of the Lamb as you can possibly be.
And if you are afraid, and you do not know that your name is in The Book of the Life of the Lamb that was Slain, listen to what God wants you to hear. This is from the final chapter of this final strange book of the Bible — God’s final word to you in the Bible and in the message: “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price” (Revelation 22:17). The Lamb paid the price. If you will have him as your Treasure, your name is in the Book. And you will not worship his contenders.