“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” – Revelation 20:12

Muslims use this verse to say that we all (including Christians) will be judged by our works, which contradicts Ephesians 2:8-9 that say, Christians are saved by grace, not by works. I feel sorry for Muslims because I start to believe that God has somehow given them their heart desire to their own destruction (Romans 1:26, 28). It’s very sad to say how they only open the Bible to search passages that seem to support whatever it is they try to object to justify their belief and discredit Christianity, though they always end up being refuted and exposed:

But these men, like irrational animals – creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed – do not understand whom they are insulting, and consequently in their destruction they will be destroyed  – 2 Peter 2:12

But these men do not understand the things they slander, and they are being destroyed by the very things that, like irrational animals, they instinctively comprehend.Jude 1:10

Let’s analyze Revelation 20:12:

“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and THE BOOKS were opened: AND ANOTHER BOOK was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in THE BOOKS, according to their works.”

We discover in this verse that John mentions more than two books [i.e. Books and Book (the book of life)] open before the dead. Notice that the works of the dead are from THE BOOKS, not the other Book (Book of life), which means the dead here are not written in the other Book (Book of life). In the next few verse down, we see this:

And whosoever was NOT FOUND written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. – Revelation 20:15

This prompts us to realize that, indeed, the dead in Revelation 20:12 were not in the Book of life, they were judged by their works that were written in the other BOOKS. Only in 20:15, we see the book of life being mentioned again. So since the dead in 20:12 is not written in the Book of life, their works won’t save them.

Even verse 13-14 shows us that these dead were/are NOT with God:

13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it. Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them. THEY WERE JUDGED, each one ACCORDING TO HIS WORKS. 14 Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. – Revelation 20:13-14

As we see, it’s these dead people (Non Christians) that are judged by their works!

Unlike the dead in Christ (Christians) who are already with the Lord after they died,

13 but we don’t want you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning THOSE WHO HAVE FALLEN ASLEEP (have died); so that you don’t grieve like the rest; WHO HAVE NO HOPE. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so GOD WILL BRING WITH HIM THOSE WHO HAVE FALLEN ASLEEP IN JESUS. – 1Thessalonians 4:13-14

59 They stoned Stephen as he called out, saying, “Lord Jesus, RECEIVE MY SPIRIT!” 60 He kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, “Lord, don’t hold this sin against them!” When he had said this, HE FELL ASLEEP (died).Acts 7:59-60

But I am in a dilemma between the two, having the desire to depart and BE WITH CHRIST, which is far better.Philippians 1:23

And NOT judged by their works:

There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION TO THOSE WHO ARE IN CHRIST JESUS, who don’t walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus MADE ME FREE from the law of sin and of death. –Romans 8:1-2

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, HATH ETERNAL LIFE, and SHALL NOT COME INTO CONDEMNATION; but IS PASSED from death unto life.John 5:24

According to the Bible, anyone whose name is written in the Book of life is saved:

Daniel 12:1,

And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time THY PEOPLE shall BE DELIEVERED, EVERYONE that shall BE FOUND WRITTEN in the book.

Exodus 32:33,

And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I BLOT OUT OF MY BOOK.

Him who sins against me, I will blot out of my book(Book of life), meaning he who sins not, remains in the Book and is saved. However, no one in this world is without sin (Romans 3:23, 2Chronicles 6:36, Ecclesiastes 7:20…), but Jesus (who alone was sinless – 2Corinthians 5:21) came to die for our sins to save us (Matthew 1:21, John 8:24, Romans 5:6-9…).

Now, all God wants from us is to believe and accept the sacrificial death of Jesus; that He died for our sins. If we do that, eternal life is ours the moment we believe and our names are recorded in the book of life:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever BELIEVETH in him should NOT PERISH, but HAVE everlasting life. John 3:16

As Christians, the Bible says that our life is hid in Christ (Colossians 3:3-4); we have passed from death to life:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, HATH everlasting life, and shall NOT come into condemnation; but IS PASSED from death unto life.John 5:24 (cf. Romans 8:1-3, Colossians 1:22, 1 John 3:14, 5:11-12)

To those who don’t believe, He said:

He that believeth on him IS NOT CONDEMNED: but he that BELIEVETH NOT is CONDEMNED ALREADY, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. – John 3:18 (cf. John 3:36)

I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye BELIEVE NOT that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.John 8:24

Yes, the dead will be judged according to their works, but what works? Because no one is saved by his works of righteousness (Isaiah 64:6, Galatians 2:16)! Works here, refers to what have they done with the Gospel? Have they accepted it or not?

That if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, YOU WILL BE SAVEDRomans 10:9

So, the question is, have they confessed the Lordship of Jesus? Have they believed that God raised Him from the dead for their justification? (Romans 4:25)

The Bible says that those who have confessed and believed the Lord Jesus are not judged by their works (righteousness) because Jesus already took their punishment on Himself:

But we see him who has been made a little lower than the angels, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God he should taste of death FOR EVERYONE– Hebrews 2:9

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  9 NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast – Ephesians 2:8-9

NOT BY WORKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS which WE HAVE DONE, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; – Titus 3:5

For while we were yet weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man. Yet perhaps for a righteous person someone would even dare to die. 8 But God commends his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we will be saved from God’s wrath through him. Romans 5:6-9

So John is not talking about Christians in Revelation 20:12 since Christians are already saved by the blood of Jesus. He talks about the unsaved souls whose names aren’t written in the book of life:

And whosoever was NOT FOUND written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. – Revelation 20:15

Anyone who rejects Jesus’ sacrificial death for their sins will be thrown into the lake of fire because no one can obey the entire law in order to please God:

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. –  James 2:10

But to those who believe in Jesus’ death as their sin sacrifice, the word says,

8:1 There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh – Romans 8:1-3

Conclusion:

As we see, there’s no contradiction here. It’s the unsaved souls that will be judged by their works, not Christians. Their works will not save them either since before God all are sinners. No righteous judge will let you go free when you’re caught committing crime, even though you’ve been a good person all your life. God is a holy God and requires the best (1Peter 1:16), that’s why He sent Jesus who is sinless (2Corinthians 5:21) to die for us.

Accept whatJesus had done for you, O Muslims!