Pristine Grace

Distinguishing Grace
by Jim Byrd

     At the great, white throne judgment, concerning those who will be "cast into the lake of fire," John wrote that their names were "not found written in the book of life" (Rev.20:15). The book referenced is the Lamb’s book of life, written before the world was made (Rev 13:8) which contains the names of God’s elect, inscribed with the indelible ink of sovereign grace. The Holy Spirit could have inspired John to write, "And whosoever would not believe on Christ was cast into the lake of fire" and that would be accurate for they would not come to the only Savior to be saved by Him. Or, the Holy Spirit could have inspired John to write, "And whosoever did not repent of their dead works and submit to be saved by the obedience of the Son of God was cast into the lake of fire," and that would also have been a valid statement because all who perish refused to turn from self-righteousness and be saved by the person and work of Christ. But, John was led to write, "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." With those words, the Holy Spirit set forth the very origin of salvation and the cause of both faith and repentance, all of which is owing to the election of grace which took place before the world was made. Why were some given in covenant mercy to the eternal Surety to be redeemed by His blood and robed in His righteousness while others were left to perish in the lake of fire? This distinction is to be attributed solely to the sovereign pleasure of the Lord. "Even so Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight" (Matthew 11:26).