New Poem: ‘The Book of Life’
Before the night he was betrayed,
The Lord of glory died;
Indeed before the world was made,
The Lamb was crucified.
Before the sin, the spear, the lash
(Eternal was the flood!)
God put his inkwell at the gash,
And filled it with his blood;
Then with his crimson ink and quill,
A holy world compiled,
And wrote his kind and costly will:
The name of ev’ry child.
Then, finally, with tears, he took
A blade to foreordain,
And graved the title of the book:
The Life, the Lamb, the Slain.
* * *
And if your name is written there,
Though you may be the least,
You will not fall to any snare,
Nor bow before the Beast.
You will not marvel when it roars,
Nor any feat admire,
Nor drink the poison that it pours,
Nor taste the Lake of Fire.
But you will live forevermore,
Where dusk and dawn are done.
The Lamb will be the moon, and soar
Around an endless Sun.
And if, lamblike, you taste his shame
And finish life abased,
Remember, written one, your name
Will never be erased.
* * *
And so you ask, “How may I know
My name is in the Book?
May I beseech my God to show
The page where I may look?”
No. None may peer within by prayer,
Nor if he wait, or strive.
You know your name is written there,
Because you are alive.
Rejoice, my child, all heaven sings
When you make demons fall.
And yet to be inscribed with kings
In heav'n surpasses all.
Recent poems from John Piper:
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