Summary: An extensive study on this question, more fitting for a Wednesday evening Bible study.
WILL CHRISTIANS BE JUDGED?
1. Christians will be judged by Christ.
2. This is also called the Bema Judgment.
- Greek word translated in English as “judgment seat.”
3. This judgment is different than the Great White Throne Judgment for the unsaved.
IF MY SINS ARE FORGIVEN, HOW CAN GOD JUDGE ME AT FINAL JUDGMENT?
1. The judgment will be for rewards and not for salvation.
- This is not to determine whether you go to heaven or not.
- This is not to punish you for sins committed either before or after you were saved.
- This is not purgatory.
- Berkholf: “Scripture leads us to believe that [the sins of believers] will be [revealed], though they will, of course, be revealed as pardoned sins.”
2. God says that because of what Christ has done for us that He will “remember no more” believers’ sins.
3. The “forgetting” of our sins cannot literally mean that God is unable to recall them because God is omniscient.
- It is literally impossible for God to forget anything or to be unaware of everything.
a. One way to think about it: the “forgetting” means not remembering at judgment.
b. One way to think about it: the “forgetting” mean forgiveness, not ignorance.
c. One way to think about it: the “forgetting” is no more literal than the casting of our sins into a sea of forgetfulness.
- The phrase “sea of forgetfulness” doesn’t appear in the Bible, but the idea does in Micah 7:19 with a statement of God throwing our sins into the depths of the sea. Does anyone here think that God literally throws our sins into an ocean or that this is merely a beautiful picture of the way in which God forgives our sins?
- Another similar poetic phrase is in Psalm 103:11-12. There is speaks of our sins as being removed as the east is from the west. Does anyone here think that God literally takes our sins to the west or that this is simply a beautiful picture of the way that God forgives our sins?
d. One way to think about it: my sins are forgotten in the context of being judged for them, but the consequences of those sins and their impact on my fruitfulness is still in play.
e. One way to think about it: the Bema Judgment is not about being punished for sin, but being praised for service.
- Or, the Bema Judgment is not about being punished for failure, but being praised for fruitfulness.
WHAT IS THE POINT OF THE BEMA JUDGMENT?
1. The point of the Bema Judgment is rewards, not judging sin.
2. Our salvation was determined by choosing Christ.
3. We will be rewarded based on how faithfully and fruitfully we served Christ.
4. The building materials in 1 Corinthians 3 represent our work.
5. The idea of being “evident” (1 Corinthians 3:13) means to makes known, to be visible, to reveal its nature.
6. The loss in 1 Corinthians 3:15 is not a loss of salvation, but of rewards.
7. The idea of “bad” in 2 Corinthians 5:10 doesn’t mean moral evil, but something being “worthless” or “useless.”
8. It’s important that there be an evaluation of what we’ve done as believers for Christ.
- It’s an issue of accountability.
9. Good works are not a bonus feature to a Christian life – they are an expected part of our Christian life.
IS OUR SIN FORGIVEN BY CHRIST WHEN WE'RE SAVED?
1. Our sin has been atoned for at the cross.
- Emphasize: Hebrews 10:14.
- Romans 5:19; Romans 8:1, 31-34; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 1:4; Galatians 3:13; Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 2:13; Hebrews 10:12, 14; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 2:1-2, 12.
2. When the Bible says that Christians won’t come under judgment, it means judgment for sin, not that we’ll never face any judgment at all.
- Emphasize: Colossians 2:13.
WHAT WILL BE JUDGED AT THE BEMA JUDGMENT?
- This is not a complete list, but is instructive.
1. How we treat others.
2. How we exercise authority over others.
3. How we use our money.
4. Whether we’re willing to suffer and sacrifice for Jesus if needed.