“And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Reference: Revelation 20:12-15 )
The Book of Life. The writer of Revelation alludes to the belief that everything that one has done is recorded in great record books. And from those books the names of those found worthy are entered into the Book of Life, which is literally (according to the writer of Revelation) the names of people who are deserving of eternal life. If your name is not there . . . well, you read what is excerpted here.
Peter Riedeman in his Confession of Faith says, “So we truly believe that all our words and deeds, good or evil, are recorded before God and his Son as though written in a book. When the time comes, God will open his secret book and show to each all their deeds.” And based on those deeds each person will be rewarded or punished. But, beloved, I am not preparing to deliver a fiery exhortation. Quite the opposite in fact. I believe, and I want to tell you, that it is the cumulative nature of those deeds that will be rewarded or punished.
If we were perfect beings, each deed would be glowing in its report and our names would be prominently featured in the Book of Life. But our God knows we are not perfect; that is why our God sent Jesus Christ, of whose birth we are in the midst of celebrating. (See the companion pieces of Advent postings.) I don’t think we can or should read the book of Revelation separate from the story of salvation. I do not think the book of Revelation intends to set aside Christ’s redemption of the faithful. But sometimes when we talk about judgment and punishment etc we forget that our faithful belief and worship of God has secured our name in the Book of Life. Do not fear that day of judgment beloved, whenever it may come! Selah!