REVELATION 20:11-12: “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.” (ESV)

OBSERVATION: Grace or works? Books or “The Book”? This is the question for every heart to ponder. The words of Revelation 20:11-12 are sobering. The Great White Throne is the final place of judgment for all of mankind. Every man and woman will have to stand before God to give an account of their life. They will either be judged by Grace or by their works, by “books” or by “The Book”.

“The Book” is the Book of Life. This is the book that records every person who embraced Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord. When a person embraces Jesus Christ through faith their name is expunged from the “books” of works and judgment, and written with the blood of Jesus Christ in the “Book of Life”. Everyone whose name is not found in the “Book of Life” will have to stand before God and be judged solely on their merit and worth. This is a bleak future because,

  • “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (‭‭Romans‬ ‭3:23‬ ‭ESV‬‬)

It is not a matter of how “bad” the things are in the “books”. The real issue is that if we try to stand before God on our own merit and worth we are found guilty and worthy of eternal punishment, for no man or woman can achieve the glory of God (perfection) on their own.

  • “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (‭‭Romans‬ ‭6:23‬ ‭ESV‬‬)

Imagine how you would feel if you were actually judged on what you have done during your life. All the secret sins, all the hidden shame, all the brokenness and rebellion laid bare before the Lord at His Great White Throne of Judgment. Apart from the Grace of Jesus Christ this is a dismal end. It is an eternal end.

  • “Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (‭‭Revelation‬ ‭20:14-15‬ ‭ESV‬‬)

This may not seem like much of a “devotional thought”. No, it is not. It is a devotional “wake up” call! Someone has wisely said,

  • “Be born twice, die once. Be born once, die twice.” 

There is no escape from this end – save in Jesus Christ our Lord. This is why Paul cries out and pleads with those he writes to when he says,

  • “For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭6:2‬ ‭ESV‬‬)

This day of judgment is still future. There is still time to receive His Grace, to have your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. If you are Born Again by the Spirit of God (born twice), by believing in Jesus Christ, by becoming His disciple, you will only die once. You will not be summoned to the Great White Throne Judgment. You will be called to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb! Grace always trumps works!

 If you have never given your life to Jesus Christ – today is the day! Your eternity is at stake!

  • “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:17-21‬ ‭ESV‬‬)

In Jesus Name!

About Kirk's Devotional Journal

Kirk L. Zehnder is the Founder of Resurrection Christian Outreach. RCO is a ministry that promotes the growth and vitality of the local church through speaking engagements, seminars, various media tools, and written curriculum and books. This ministry was started over 35 years ago by Kirk as a means to strengthen the church that he was pastoring. It grew as Kirk began to share these tools with other churches. Today many of the materials are being used by local churches both nationally and internationally. Kirk's Devotional Journal is a result of struggling with Bible reading programs that never seemed to work. Kirk feels the Lord helped him discover an easy-to-follow program to Read, Reflect, Pray, and Journal through the Bible in one year. This program is called L.I.F.E. Unlike other programs there are no dates to follow. You can miss a day and still complete your reading. You never feel like the dates and verses you missed are chasing you. You are free to enjoy your daily Biblical journey and listen to the voice of The Lord. For more information on the L.I.F.E. plan, send an email to Kirk is also available for speaking engagements, seminars, and retreats. With over 40 years of professional business and pastoral ministry experience, Kirk brings a unique combination of practical wisdom, humor, and Biblical insight. If you would like Kirk to speak at your church, school, or ministry, please send an email to and we will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your opportunity.
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