Words: Mary Ann Pepper Kidder (b. Mar. 16, 1820; d. Nov. 25, 1905)
Music: Frank Marion Davis (b. Jan. 23, 1839; d. Aug. 1, 1896)
Note: We know little about either the author or the composer. For what I have on Mary Ann Kidder, see the Wordwise Hymns link. Frank Davis was a composer who lived in Indiana. He wrote this melody while in Burr Oak, Michigan.
The author asks a significant question: “Is my name written there?”–meaning is it recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life, in heaven. The Book of Life is mentioned a number of times in the Scriptures. Paul speaks of “fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life” (Phil. 4:3). That it lists those who qualify to enter into the heavenly kingdom is made clear by the warning in Revelation: “Anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 21:15). And, “There shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life” (Rev. 21″27).
For Mrs. Kidder–as for each of us–the question of whether our names will be there is a crucially important one. She says, “Lord, I care not for riches, neither silver nor gold; I would make sure of heaven, I would enter the fold” (CH-1). So, how does one do that? To be found in the Lamb’s Book of Life requires being rightly related to the Lamb! It will mean we have personally claimed Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as the one and only payment for our sins. As stanza CH-2 puts it:
Lord, my sins they are many, like the sands of the sea,
But Thy blood, O my Saviour, is sufficient for me.
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). But His Word promises “as many as received Him [Christ], to them He gave the right to become children of God–to those who believe in His name” (Jn. 1:12). His name represents His authority and His power to save.
The Apostle Paul states it succinctly: “I declare to you the gospel….That Christ died for our sins” (I Cor. 15:1, 3). When the Philippian jailor asked, “What must I do to be saved?” Paul answered without hesitation, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:30-31).
“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.” (Jn. 3:16)
That is how to be saved. But can we know, for certain, now, that we are saved? Yes! “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….These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God [says John], that you may know that you have eternal life” (I Jn. 5:11-13). And Paul testified, “I know the One in whom I trust, and I am sure that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until the day of His return” (II Tim. 1:12, NLT).
Nothing is able to snatch us from the hands of the Lord (Jn. 10:28-29). Nothing is able to separate the child of God from the love of Christ (Rom. 8:28-39). On the basis of God’s promises, those who have trusted in Christ as Saviour can say, as Mary Ann Kidder does in stanza CH-3, and the following refrain:
Oh! that beautiful city, with its mansions of light,
With its glorified beings, in pure garments of white;
Where no evil thing cometh to despoil what is fair;
Where the angels are watching, yes, my name’s written there.
Yes, my name’s written there,
On the page white and fair?
In the book of Thy kingdom,
Yes, my name’s written there?
1) If you are certain you are saved, can you explain why? (That is, what is the basis for your confidence?)
2) How would you explain to another person, in simple terms, how to be saved? (If you need help answering this question, please see God’s Plan of Salvation.)