The Day of Judgment and the Book of Life

Photo by  Johannes Plenio  on  Unsplash

Does anyone hear mention of God’s judgment these days? Do believers need to take the Day of Judgment seriously? Do we ever talk about God’s holy wrath?

Thanks for asking! You did ask, didn’t you?

The Apostle Paul writes to the Roman Church, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (1:18). This is an early indication of what is to come. The temporal wrath, revealed now, can work remedially to those who humble themselves and accordingly seek safe shelter from God’s ultimate wrath on the Day of Judgment.

As Lutherans, every week we confess in the Creed, “I believe … that he will come again to judge the living and the dead.” In the Book of Revelation we learn in the 20th chapter that we will all stand before the great White Throne of Judgment. The books will be opened. As in a courtroom all the evidence will be presented. God’s verdict will not be arbitrary, but completely just. All of us will be fairly convicted for our evil thoughts, words, and deeds. (cf. Psa. 14:1-3; Rom. 3:10, 23) On our own merits we stand condemned!

So are we to fear God’s wrath? We would be fools not to. Luther states in his Small Catechism concerning obedience to God’s commandments, “We are to fear his wrath and not disobey him.”

In fact, apart from this fearful reality, I’m not sure any of us would cling to the merciful remedy that our Heavenly Father has provided for us through the death and resurrection of his dear Son!

There is a final book to be opened on the Day of Judgment. And that is the Book of Life! Those whose names are recorded there will be sheltered from the dire final consequences of their sins. These are they who knowing themselves unworthy, and fearing God’s wrath, have clung to the gift of Christ’s righteousness in their stead. Knowing of the Judgment matters!

Since You Asked…

Why is the Triune Name of God repeated so frequently in our worship services?

The mystery of the Trinity is one of the most distinctive elements of our Christian Tradition. Christianity is not alone in claiming to be monotheistic (belief in one Supreme Being, one god). But Christianity holds that this One, True God has revealed himself to us as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Scripture teaches that God the Father has revealed himself through God the Son and in God the Spirit. Only the Son can be seen, and only through the Spirit are we enabled to believe in the Father and the Son. And so we often invoke the name of the Triune God in the mystery of our faith.