How will you be judged? In the end, when you stand before the Almighty God, how will you be judged? I don’t mean what will the judgment be, but on what basis will you be judged?
Many teachers have said that believers will be judged on their works. They use Revelation 20:12 as their support:
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.
But the Scripture that says this also says that those who are with the Lord are alive. Believers are not the “dead” in this passage. Believers are always alive in Christ. Even in this chapter of Revelation (vs 4) believers are said to be alive. The dead are those who have not come to Jesus.
You see, in the offer of salvation, God does not give better works for judgment. If you listen to some people, you might get the idea that believers will somehow be able to tip the scales of judgment in their favor because they have done more good works than bad. But Jesus doesn’t offer better works, He offers life. And the life He offers is His life. So believers are not just people with better works.
Some teachers suggest that there will be a time of review for each of us, a time when our lives are laid out for everyone to see and when our sins will be exposed to everyone. Imagine having every sin, every act and every word and every thought, exposed for all to see! And these teachers tell us that will be the beginning of Heaven. We will die and, when the judgment comes, we will suffer through some of the most excruciating humiliation imaginable. Doesn’t sound like Heaven to me!
No, the only ones who will be judged “according to their works” will be unbelievers. And even that is because of their own choice. They reject the new life and identity and forgiveness that Christ offers.
Believers will be judged—are you ready for this?—according to who they are. Those who are in Christ will be judged as those who are in Christ—pure and spotless and as righteous as He is. When we stand before the Almighty God, we stand as His children made acceptable in Jesus.
Now, I know someone will say that this opens the door for believers to “go out and sin all they want and still think they are saved.” Yup. But I didn’t open that door. The Lord who loves you and me left that door open. But do you want to do that? Really? No, there is a new life in you and sin is inconsistent with that life. It isn’t doctrine that keeps us from sin, it is the life of Jesus in us. And, as I have said so many times before, there are many reasons for believers not to sin—fear of eternal judgment isn’t one of them.
Jesus sees you as who you are in Him. You belong to Him. In Him “you were washed . . . you were sanctified . . . you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11). The things you do no longer define who you are in His eyes.
And in the Day of Judgment, His are the only eyes that matter.