Four Views on the Role of Works at the Final Judgment

Four Views on the Role of Works at the Final JudgmentToday, I was made aware of an interesting book (at least for me) due to be released in the summer, the anticipated date being 9th July. The book follows the pattern of many theological releases today, particularly comparing differing views on a specific subject.

Now we have one entitled Four Views on the Role of Works at the Final Judgment.

We have four authors discussing four different views on this topic, which are as follows:

Robert N. Wilkin: Works will determine rewards but not salvation: At the Judgment Seat of Christ each believer will be judged by Christ to determine his eternal rewards, but he remains eternally secure even if the judgment reveals he failed to persevere in good works (or in faith).

Thomas R. Schreiner: Works will provide evidence that one actually has been saved: At the final judgment works provide the necessary condition, though not the ground for final salvation, in that they provide evidence as to whether one has actually trusted in Jesus Christ.

James D. G. Dunn: Works will provide the criterion by which Christ will determine eternal destiny of his people: Since Paul, Jesus, and the New Testament writers hold together ‘justification by faith and not by works’ with ‘judgment according to works’, we should not fall into the trap of playing one off against the other or blend them in a way that diminishes the force of each.

Michael P. Barber: Works will merit eternal life: At the final judgment, good works will be rewarded with eternal salvation. However, these good works will be meritorious not apart from Christ but precisely because of the union of the believer with him.

I plan to purchase this one in the summer.


6 thoughts on “Four Views on the Role of Works at the Final Judgment

  1. Indeed only Tom Schreiner comes close to the biblical revelation here! (Out of these four) But there are tough texts like 1 Cor. 3: 13-15, etc. The real believer can only lay the “foundation” that God has already laid, and of course that foundation is Jesus Christ, (1 Cor. 3: 11). And not of course a “Purgatory” (place), but perhaps something of a “purgation”, but again ‘In Christ’, at the “Bema” Seat, 2 Cor. 5: 9-10-11…in the “fear” of the Lord! Grace, salvation and reward are found together…Rev. 22: 12. (Eph. 2: 8-9-10)

    • Note,1 Cor. 3:15 is a problematic text, but it surely must be metaphorical, “through fire”. It cannot be “the” salvation itself, but our real “ambition” to please and show forth that reality, as ‘In Christ’, as regenerated…saved, being saved, and final salvation itself! (Jude 1: 1 ; 24-25)

  2. I’d have to agree with Robert N. Wilkin here. The reward of salvation is heaven and eternal fellowship with God and Christ. Good works (truly done through God’s strength with the correct motives) results in crowns, but they are simply thrown at Jesus’ feet since it is only through HIM that any works of “goodness” were performed. So the works aren’t from US anyway, so why should we be REWARDED for them. We really aren’t.

    I Cor 3:15 is saying that if nothing of value (good works done from God’s power with correct motives) was done by that person, they still recieve heaven, but they suffer the “loss” of not experiencing being used by Christ and being able to give Him that glory back by throwing those crowns at His feet.

    Works CANNOT be the evidence or proof of salvation, because many people are saved during their last seconds of life (or never even experience a life where they are ABLE to perform “works” — the severly disabled). They have no time or no ability to produce “good works”, therefore they would have to be exceptions (since we cannot see them NOT going to heaven). And if THEY were exceptions, then it could be argued there are OTHER exceptions to the “works as proof of salvation” rule, which opens up a whole can of worms.

    Salvation – in the heart and mind – seen by God and rewarded with heaven and His presence.
    Works – external – seen by men, but rewarded by God with something (crowns) to give MORE glory to His Son. And then never spoken of again because all that REALLY matters is Christ – not what we did or didn’t do.

    • Yes, Dunn and Barber really miss the mark here! Btw, the blessed testimony of the so-called ‘Good Thief’ on the/his cross was profound…following Luke 23: 40-41… “Jesus, remember me when You come into your kingdom!” (Verse 42) He acknowledged the Lordship & kingdom of Christ, and while he was dying! Indeed the depth of God’s grace to save and change us is profound!

      • Well, I must say it’s nice to actually AGREE with you on something for a change, Robert. 🙂 God bless.

        PS. BTW, one COULD argue that the thief on the cross did do a work – a work of testimony — by proclaiming (preaching?) Christ as King of Kings in his death. Some have not even had a chance to do even that. Thank God that He looks on the heart alone, caring not at all about what we can or cannot “do for Him”.

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