Q: #88. When a believer appears at the Judgment Seat Of Christ, will any of his sins be brought up?
By: Steve Shirley
A: I must admit, until recently, I had not really put the time into studying this that I should have. However, a recent little debate got me looking into this more deeply. The person I was discussing this with did not believe that any sins were brought up at the Judgment Seat Of Christ, and I did, although I was not really sure I could explain why.
I came to find that there are basically 3 positions regarding sin at the Judgment Seat:
1. No sins will be brought up.
2. Sins will be brought up, but not judged or punished.
3. Sins will be brought up, including unconfessed sins, and there will be judgment, and possibly even some punishment.
The 2nd view is called a moderate view, and that is the position I hold. Let me explain why I hold this view.
(2 Cor 5:10) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
(1 Cor 3:12-15) Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; (13) every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. (14) If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. (15) If any man's work shall be burnt, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
These verses tell us two things I would like to examine. First, if there are "bad" things, and things that will be "burned up" at the judgment, this certainly isn't things of which God approves. If God doesn't approve of them, that tells me they are sin, and therefore, sin will be brought up at the judgment.
In addition, the word "appear" in (2 Cor 5:10) comes from the Greek word "phaneroo." According to Strong's, this word means "manifest as opposed to what is concealed and invisible; To be revealed in one's true character." This is what will happen to ALL believers at the Judgment Seat Of Christ. Christ is going to TOTALLY examine our lives.
(Eccl 12:14) For God (Jesus) shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
(1 Cor 4:5) Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels (motives) of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
EVERY aspect of our lives will be brought into the open. All secret things, and things hidden in the darkness, will be brought to light. According to (Rom 14:10-12), "every one of us shall give account of himself to God." When we do, many of us will be ashamed (1 Jn 2:28).
Everything that we did all through our lives is going to be tried and tested by fire. MANY things will be burned up. For example:
Things we did with wrong or selfish motives.
The deeds we did to be seen before men (Mt 6:16-17).
Things we did not do faithfully.
Wasted opportunities to bring God glory.
Missed opportunities to bless someone less fortunate.
Wasting our God given gifts.
I also believe this will be a time when:
Teachers will receive the stricter judgment (James 3:1).
Leaders will give an account (Heb 13:17).
We will give an account for not warning the wicked (Ezek 3:18).
We will answer for knowing to do good, and not doing it (James 4:17).
Can you imagine the sorrow as we see these missed opportunities pass by? Can you imagine the shame as the motives of our hearts are revealed? Can you imagine the sadness at seeing how much God had for us, if we had only taken it? Can you imagine the heartbreak as we see the souls that could have been won? Is it any wonder that God will wipe away tears (Rev 7:17)(Rev 21:4)?
Now, it might surprise you to hear me say this, but I still believe the predominant emotions we will feel at this judgment are ones of JOY, PEACE, and THANKFULNESS. Why?? Well, let me tell you .
Even though the balance of this study has been focused on the sins aspect of this judgment (in response to the question asked), I do not believe the majority of this judgment will be focused on our sins. It is for being rewarded! This judgment is not punitive, nor will it be one of condemnation. Let me give you a picture of how I view it.
I see it like a father having a talk with his son. Out of his love for him, he wants to show him where he did wrong in some area. He isn't out to punish, nor condemn him. The father wants to show him the path he should have taken, and if he had, how much better off he would have been. For instance, in this judgment, I picture Jesus as saying, "My son, WHY did you choose this, I wanted so much to bless you there. WHY didn't you do this, I would have given you a reward if only you had listened. I blessed you with SO many gifts, WHY didn't you use them? I sent that person who needed help to you, because you had a gift to help them, but you didn't use it...
Yes, this will be a sad moment as we see those rewards we could have had, however, I also believe we will fully understand just how AWESOME the grace of God is, and how much we needed it. We will understand that even while our lives are being examined, we have TOTAL assurance that we will not be condemned, nor judged for these failures. We will NOT lose our salvation! Judgment and punishment for ALL of our sins was paid for by Jesus Christ on the cross.
(Rom 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.
(Jn 5:24) 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.
Jesus Christ gave Himself that He might redeem us from all iniquity (Titus 2:13).
In the Bible, Paul likens our lives on this planet to a race (1 Cor 9:24-27)(Heb 12:1). We spend our whole lives training for and running this race. When we die, the race is over. The Judgment Seat of Christ will be like the awards stand (Judgment in the Greek is "Bema" which can actually mean this). Yes, I would guess that few of us will receive a "first place trophy." but maybe some reading this won't be that far away. However, we should keep something in mind. What happens to those who don't win the race? Are they punished for not winning? No! Are they judged or condemned for not finishing higher? No! Will they wish they had run the race better? I think nearly everyone will.
There will be no sin in Heaven. Jealousy or envy is a sin (James 3:14-16)(Gal 5:21,25-26)(Rom 13:13)(1 Pet 2:1). Therefore, I think we can conclude that while we may miss out on rewards, we will not be jealous or envious over those who got many rewards. We will rejoice with them, and completely understand why they got those rewards. Won't it be wonderful to be rid of our selfishness?
Friend, it is not too late! The treasures we lay up in Heaven will one day be our rewards. Be rich with God instead of laying up treasures on Earth (Lk 12:21). Do good, be rich in good works and deeds, be generous and willing to share, to store up a good foundation for the time to come (1 Tim 6:18-19). Be willing to sell all that you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven (Mt 19:21)(Mk 10:21)(Lk 12:33)(Lk 18:22). Start today to lay up treasures in Heaven that neither moth, nor rust can destroy, nor thieves can steal (Mt 6:19-20), and that will be IMPERISHABLE (1 Cor 9:25). These are the treasures that will survive the fire!