A. A. Hodge On The State Of Believers In The Judgment

16. Upon what principles will his judgment be dispensed?

The judge is figuratively represented (Rev. 20:12), after the analogy of human tribunals, as opening “books” in judgment, according to the things written in which the dead are to be judged, and also “another book,” “which is the book of life.” The books first mentioned doubtless figuratively represent the law or standard according to which each one was to be judged, and the facts in his case, or “the works which he had done.” The “book of life” (see also Phil. 4:3; Rev. 3:5; 13:8; 20:15) is the book of God’s eternal electing love. Those whose names are found written in the “book of life” will be declared righteous on the ground of their participation in the righteousness of Christ. Their holy characters and good deeds, however, will be publicly declared as the evidences of their election, of their relation to Christ, and of the glorious work of Christ in them.—Matt. 13:43; 25:34–40.

Those whose names are not found written in “the book of life” will be condemned on the ground of the evil “deeds they have done in the body,” tried by the standard of God’s law, not as that law has been ignorantly conceived of by each, but as it has been more or less fully and clearly revealed by the Judge himself to each severally. The heathen who has sinned without the written law “shall be judged without the law,” i.e., by the law written upon his heart, which made him a law unto himself.—Luke 12:47, 48; Rom. 2:12–15. The Jew, who “sinned in the law, shall be judged by the law.”—Rom. 2:12. Every individual dwelling under the light of the Christian revelation shall be judged in strict accordance with the whole will of God as made known to him, all of the special advantages of every kind enjoyed by him individually modifying the proportion of his responsibility.—Matt. 11:20–24; John 3:19.

The secrets of all hearts, the inward states and hidden springs of action, will be brought in as the subject matter of judgment, as well as the actions themselves, Eccle. 12:14; 1 Cor. 4:5; and publicly declared to vindicate the justice of the Judge, and to make manifest the shame of the sinner.—Luke 8:17; 12:2, 3; Mark 4:22. Whether the sins of the saints will be brought forward at the judgment or not is a question not settled by the Scriptures, though debated by theologians. If they should be, we are sure that it will be done only with the design and effect of enhancing the glory of the Saviour and the comfort of the saved.

—Archibald Alexander Hodge, Outlines of Theology: Rewritten and Enlarged (New York: Hodder & Stoughton, 1878), 574–75.

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