Q. I recently read a commentary which said “According to Rev 20:12d the wicked dead will be evaluated by Jesus at the White Throne Judgement for severity of punishment according to their culpability”. Would you please comment on the “severity of punishment” idea?
A. It’s hard for me to accept that idea. Even a believer’s good works don’t meet the Lord’s standards unless they are prompted by Him and done in His strength (John 15:5). How could He find anything an unbeliever does to be acceptable?
Also, the only works the Lord requires of us is to believe in the one He sent (John 6:28-29). Could He judge unbelievers on the quality of work He doesn’t require, when they’ve failed to do the the one thing He does require?
And finally, He judges believers on the motives behind their work (1 Cor. 4:5). Anything done for impure motives will be disqualified. The only acceptable motive is to demonstrate our gratitude to Him for what He did for us. No unbeliever could claim that motive.
In short, I think this is another one of the man made attempts that have come along lately to explain away the notion of eternal punishment .