I was recently asked, “How will we, as Christians, be judged as we stand before God.” There is actually a considerable amount of confusion in the Christian community regarding the end-times in general and the judgments that will be handed down in particular.
First, let’s remember the Good News of Jesus Christ means your sins have been forgiven and washed clean. Through your faith in Christ you do not need to worry about whether you will live in heaven for eternity. You are in! You have your own key.
However, once inside the door you will stand before the judgment seat of God and give an account of your life here on earth.
- Romans 14:10-12 For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow to me, and every tongue will give praise to God.” Therefore, each of us will give an account of himself to God.
- 2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due to him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
As Christians, we must appear before God and He is going to judge us based on the good and bad we have done during our life! Ugh. I have done some really bad things that I am embarrassed and ashamed about. Is this something I should look forward to?
Actually, this is an important time in our walk with our God and you should be excited about it. You will be standing before the Great One. Your creator. The creator of the universe. And He not only knows who you are but everything about you. You are His child. He loves you and He always will. For eternity.
You are standing before Him, sinless. That’s right. Your sins were wiped away. Completely forgiven. Cleansed. Thanks to the sacrifice made by Jesus, our Lord and Savior. So, you are not standing before God for Him to decide whether you are going to spend eternity in heaven. That was already decided when you accepted Jesus into your life. Rather, God is going to determine additional rewards you may or may not receive in heaven.
- Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
In this study I will not delve into what scripture says about what these rewards might be. Just know that God has created them and believes they are so important he is personally deciding who gets them and is handing them out Himself.
Here Jesus explains man can only be saved by following Him. And when Jesus returns, each of His followers will be rewarded in heaven by their works.
- Mat 16:24-27 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
Paul provides a good explanation of what God will be looking at in our lives. The good and the bad, as it is described. In summary, God will be looking for quality rather than quantity.
- 1 Corinthians 3:5-15 What is Apollos, really? Or what is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, and each of us in the ministry the Lord gave us. I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused it to grow. So neither the one who plants counts for anything, nor the one who waters, but God who causes the growth. The one who plants and the one who waters work as one, but each will receive his reward according to his work. We are coworkers belonging to God. You are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master-builder I laid a foundation, but someone else builds on it. And each one must be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than what is being laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, each builder’s work will be plainly seen, for the Day will make it clear, because it will be revealed by fire. And the fire will test what kind of work each has done. If what someone has built survives, he will receive a reward. If someone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss. He himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
The city of Corinth would well understand the significance of fire as shortly before this was written it suffered a terrible fire that destroyed much of it. God has asked us to be His witnesses. His work requires the Good News of Jesus Christ to be told around the world. How did you invest your life in seeing that happens? The apostle Paul traveled and spoke to many people, planting seeds as he describes it. His friend Apollos followed him and watered, by encouraging and teaching. Using those efforts, God made those plantings grow.
This is a great description of teamwork. We cannot all speak like Paul or teach like Apollos. We do all give witness through the way we live our lives. So that is important and will be taken into account. God has given each of us one or more gifts. How have they been used? What this scripture is saying is that God is going to be rewarding us solely on results. It does not matter how many churches we helped build if their foundations cannot stand up when tested by God’s fire.
- Hebrews 12:29 For our God is indeed a devouring fire.
Results. It is not enough for you to expect God to reward you based on how much you gave to your church unless your church is doing His work and actually producing results. Are they reaching those that do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior? If not, you are responsible and you will personally be held accountable because your results will be based on your tithes. Thus, you need to make sure your church (or other ministry you are supporting) is successfully doing God’s work. If not, fix it. If you cannot do so quickly, I suggest you find some other place to invest your money. This scripture is telling us that God will not accept excuses; no matter how plausible they might sound to you today. You will be judged solely on results.
My pastor is continually reminding us that eternity hangs in the balance. So true. And not only for the ones we are able to lead to Christ but also for ourselves. The rewards God is promising us are for eternity. The investment you make today will return a great and everlasting reward for everyday of eternity once you arrive in heaven. Can you think of anything else you can possibly do and obtain a better return?