And He said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” John 6:65.
Imagine going to the White House, or maybe Buckingham Palace, and you want to go inside to see what it looks like and to meet the President or The Queen of England. Imagine taking it upon yourself to TRY walking through the front gate. How far do you think you’ll get? Not very far! If you’re at the White House, you’d have armed police/security on top of you in no time. If you’re at Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s Royal Guard stands in front of the entrance to the Royal Palace grounds and would prevent you from going any further. No matter how much you plead or beg, you’re not getting in to either of those places without the proper permission to do so. Now, imagine you do have permission. The White House security nor the Palace Guard will just take your word for it. I imagine that a representative of the President or Queen would have your name written down on a special form letting security know that you have been granted permission to come inside (with proper ID, of course).
Both Revelation 13:8 and Revelation 17:8 talk about the Lamb’s Book of Life and those whose names were NOT written in it BEFORE the foundation of the world. Those whose names WERE in the Lamb’s Book of Life before the foundation of the world are those who were chosen to be saved. Ephesians 1:4 says that we (Christians) were chosen “in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him…”. I believe the Lamb’s Book of Life is like that special form with our names on it granting us access into the Kingdom. But how do we get that access?
I believe it is through the work of the Holy Spirit. God sent His Holy Spirit to draw us to Himself. The Holy Spirit opens our spiritual eyes and illuminates our minds giving us comprehension to understand the gospel so that when the gospel is preached, we respond to it.
Many people claim to be Christians. Many think just because their names are on a church membership roll, that makes them a Christian. Some think that showing up to church on Christmas and Resurrection Sunday every year is all that’s required. Others think that just mere intellectual assent to God’s existence is all they need. That’s like saying we know WHO the President is, but the President has no clue who we are. We may see him on the TV on a daily basis and someone will mention his name and we say, “Oh yeah, I know who he is.” But, mention to the President who I am and he’ll say, “Sorry, I don’t know who that is.” There will be many people who will come before God thinking they’ll be able to waltz right in and have a seat at the table. But, their names were not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life before the foundation of the world. They’ll say, “But I know who you are because I heard about you in church when I was a child,” or “I know who you are because I heard a preacher on TV talk about you.” But they will only hear, “Depart from me for I never knew you” (Matt. 7:23). Why? Because their name was not in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Just as no one can take it upon themselves to walk into the White House or Buckingham Palace unannounced and without the President and Queen granting them entry, no one will be able to come to Jesus and enter into Heaven unless God has granted them the ability to do so.