We believe that Jesus will judge us simply because the Bible says so: “Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 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” (2 Corinthians 5:9-10). In this passage, we learn that we should do well at whatever we do, because Jesus will examine our works to see what kind of reward should be given us.
Jesus gave us quite a few glimpses of what the judgment will be like. If you read Matthew 25:14-30, for instance, you’ll find that he will judge his servants in order to reward them for their faithful or unfaithful service. To one servant he’ll say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” To another servant he will say, “You wicked and lazy servant.” Presently we love and obey him – that is how we express our salvation. At the judgment we’ll be rewarded according to that love and obedience.
God judges us in this life as well. For instance, God judged Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 because they lied to the Holy Spirit. God also judged some of the Corinthians because they dishonored the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:29-30).
Hebrews 12:5-11 tells us why God judges us: as our earthly fathers chastised us to correct us, even so our heavenly Father will chastise us to bring us to holiness. When we choose sin, God will let us taste its bitter fruit that we may learn from it and turn more wholly to him for life.
Perhaps you’ve heard that Jesus saved us from judgment. In one sense that is true. When you first believed in Jesus, God wiped the slate clean from your youth to the day you invited Christ into your life. But after that, we are responsible to confess our sins and practice our faith with the light we have so that the blood of Jesus will continually cleanse us (1 John 1:5-10).
What Do You Think?
a. Jesus died and rose again to save us from sin. If we pursue sin, are we taking our salvation seriously? Why or why not? Are we taking his suffering and death seriously?
b. When the early church saw God judge Ananias and Sapphira (they had both fallen down dead), they feared God mightily (Acts 5:11). Knowing that God is willing to chastise you, will you fear to sin?