Summary: For the Christian, will our sins "be shown on a big screen for everyone to see"? I argue that while we are forgiven and saved by grace, our sins will be brought up at the Bema Judgment because they impact our fruitfulness.
The Big Screen Question: Will what a Christian has done (including their sins) be judged publicly on a big screen?
- John MacArthur says no. He says that our sins will not be mentioned at all. I disagree.
- The issue, of course, is not the big screen, but rather whether in the process of being rewarded our sins will be brought up. This would not be to be condemned for those sins since they are under the blood of Christ. Rather, to the extent that our sins impact our fruitfulness, will they be brought up?
- I am arguing that they will, in the context of our fruitfulness. Not for condemnation, but in the context of rewards.
- I argue that because our sins do impact our fruitfulness, there is no way to judge us for rewards without bringing up our sin.
- Some will say that God has said that He will “remember our sins no more.” That is true, but that doesn’t mean that God gets amnesia about what we’ve done or suddenly has selective dementia. God is all-knowing. It’s impossible for Him to forget anything. When it says that He’ll “remember no more,” it means that He will not bring them up at our judgment. It means that He will not hold them against us. In letting us into heaven, He will act as though we have not sinned because our sins have been forgiven by the blood of Christ. It cannot mean, however, that God is unable to recall large sections of our lives.
- My argument is that those sins, because they impact our fruitfulness, will be brought up at our judgment. Not to be condemned to hell, but because our sinfulness (especially after our salvation) directly impacts our fruitfulness.
The Answer: The Bible does not have a verse that directly addresses how public Christians’ judgment will be.
- There is not a “here’s a whole chapter on how it’s going to go down” passage. There are, however, several passages that give glimpses. We want to look at those and see if we can fill in the picture.
Some Ideas To Consider:
1. We will give an account of our lives to God.
- An uncertainty from just these verses: is it only before God, or before God and the world?
2. 2 Corinthians 5:10 uses the word “bad,” but it refers more to incompleteness than sin.
- This verse does not really support my argument directly because the word “bad” is not likely a reference to sin. It doesn’t work against my argument either.
3. There are several places where the Bible speaks of what’s hidden being exposed at judgment.
- Consider Matthew 7:21-23 for people claiming to be Christians but whose lives don’t back that up.
- Conversely, 1 Corinthians 4:5 speaks of receiving our “praise” from God, not rebuke. That’s an argument (albeit a weak one) against my point.
- It’s worth noting there are other places this same phrase shows up but which are about other issues.
4. Several passages speak of us being rewarded according to what we’ve done.
- We are not saved by our works, but works are the proper result of our salvation. We will be judged for rewards according to our fruitfulness. God expects a fruitful life (see John 15:1-8).
5. Jesus says that we’ll be judged by our words.
6. Jesus says that we’ll be judged by our actions.
7. Revelation says that our deeds are recorded in a book.