When the Lord comes back, there will be a judgement of believers. It doesn’t matter if we are ready or not. It doesn’t matter who we are. Many times in the Bible it states that God is a respecter of no persons when talking about judgement.
All Christians will be subject to judgement, there will be no exceptions
Paul tells us in Romans 14:12, that we all will have to give an account of ourselves to God. Our works here on Earth will be tried to see if we we are sincere (1 Cor 3:12-15). In 2 Cor 5:10, we are told that we will be judged for all things done in our body. This will be a very humbling time for Christians, every secret thing will be brought forward (Ecclesiastes 12:14).
This judgement will occur when Christ returns for this church
John 14:3 states, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” The words “receive you unto myself” refer to the Rapture, when all living believers “shall be caught up . . . in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thes 4:17)
In 1 Thes 4:14-17 it says, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
Many times we forget that God wants to be with us. He is our creator, he knows everything about us. He wants to bring us home so we can be with Him and not live in a world of sin anymore. However, we have a job as believers, to let others know about Jesus saving grace so that they can go home also. Living our faith will only get hard as time goes on, there will be persecution. In 1 Thes 4:18, Paul says we should comfort one another about the Lords return, that way we stay focused on the Lord.
The Judge is Christ
In John 5:22 it says, “For the Father judgeth no man but hath committed all judgement unto the Son”. This is stated again in Romans 2:16, that Jesus will be the judge. The one who paid the penalty for our sins is the one that will be judging us as believers.
In 2 Timothy 4:8, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” First, Paul points out here that the Lord is a righteous judge. Second, due to Paul remaining faithful to the Lord and the gospel entrusted to him, the Spirit witnessed to him that God’s loving approval and the “crown of righeousness” was awaiting him in heaven. God has reserved rewards in heaven for all who remain loyal to Christ Jesus and His gospel.
Believers judgement will be serious and solemn
During our judgement we can suffer the possibility of damage or loss. In 1 Corinthians 3:15, it says if our works are burnt we will suffer loss (yet we are still saved). The careless believer is in danger of suffering loss or damage in the following ways:
- A feeling of shame at Christ’s coming (2 Tim 2:15; 1 John 2:28)
- Loss of his or her life’s work for God
- Loss of glory and honor before God
- Loss of opportunity for service and authority in heaven
- A low position in heaven
- Loss of rewards
- Repayment for the wrong done to others.
Will we be ashamed when the Lord returns? In 1 John 2:28, “And now, little children abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.” I think if we are honest with ourselves, we all have something we would be ashamed of if we knew the Lord was coming right now. We should always expect the Lord to be coming any moment. It keeps us ready, it keeps us focused. Too many times we think that the Lords coming is far off and we have time to change. With that attitude, we will always procrastinate. We will always have something we are not proud of, but we should have confidence that we tried to live right for God.
In 1 Corinthians 3:13-15 Paul talks about one’s works being burned up. “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. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” God will evaluate the quality of life, influence, teaching and work in the church of each person. If our work is judged unworthy, he will lose his reward, yet he himself may be saved. What I find scary is the influence part. How many people come into our lives and we don’t share the Gospel or road to salvation with them? I think that will be the most humbling aspect of the judgement.
Something that should be made clear is that the believers judgement doesn’t involve a declaration of condemnation by God. Even if all our works are burned, but we are saved (but if we’re saved we should want to do good for God), we still will get to be in Heaven; we will just have little responsibility and no rewards.
In Part II, it will be discussed how all of our actions will be revealed. We will have to give an account of all our deeds and how we will be forgiven for any bad deeds, but those deeds can lead to a loss of joy.