Bible study raises questions, as does any lifelong study. If “only Jesus saves” then what about “good people” who don’t believe Jesus? If “predestination” and “foreknowledge” are part of God’s plan, then do we even have a free will? These questions are normal, thoughtful, and good.
The Apostle John saw the Book of Life in his vision recorded in the last book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation. In John’s Gospel, John makes it clearer than any other New Testament writer that we receive Jesus and his Eternal Life merely by believing in him—all because Jesus did the rest of the work at the Cross. But, John never mentions “believing” in the Book of Revelation. That’s because Revelation addresses a different topic, not from any disagreement.
Revelation records what John saw, that’s all. Among the many things John saw, he saw the Book of Life. Based on Revelation, a “Biblical” theology tells us only a few things about the Book of Life: It was written before Earth was made, it belongs to Jesus (the Lamb of God who was slain for our sin), it has the final say at the Great Judgment at the very end of all things, and people who take the “mark” of the End Times’ Antichrist, hailing and worshiping him, do not have their names written in the Book of Life. That’s what we know.
The Book of Life offers clarity and still has mystery. Believing Jesus grants Life, power, happiness, and the Holy Spirit’s dwelling in our bodies in this lifetime. But, believing Jesus also includes resurrection from the dead and reigning with Jesus for one thousand years—after the Antichrist and before the Great Judgment.
It’s theoretically possible that “good people” who somehow didn’t believe in Jesus could be saved from the Lake of Fire at the Great Judgment, but the Bible is silent about that; we just don’t know. If so, however, it would be because of the Book of Life. Though mysterious as some things must always be, whatever the answer to questions about justice, Eternity, Fire, and the Great Judgment, the Book of Life will have answers and it will all make perfect sense.
John 20:30-31, Romans 8:29–30, Revelation 13:8; 20