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Are Christians judged for their sins?

Quick Answer: Are Christians judged for their sins? Christians will not face any judgment for their sins. Christ died to take away our sins, once and for all (Hebrews 10:14). As a result, we have passed from judgment into new life in Christ, and there is now no condemnation for us (John 5:24; Romans 8:1). 

Diving Deeper: Scripture is clear that God “remembers our sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12). The Bible does, however, speak of an impending judgment. While some teach there are multiple judgments presented in Scripture, it’s clear there is simply one judgment event with different names: the Judgment of Sheep and Goats (Matthew 25); the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10); and the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15). This single judgment event is a black-and-white evaluation of humanity with no grey area. We are either viewed by God as believers (sheep) or unbelievers (goats). There is no grey area, and there is no middle ground.

Some have pointed to 2 Corinthians 5:10 as a second and separate judgment for Christians. However, the passage actually states that “we must all appear” at the judgment seat of Christ. The word “all” refers to all humans. Furthermore, 2 Corinthians 5 says there will be recompense for the deeds done in the body, whether good or bad. So, think about it: What bad deeds have believers committed that have not been taken away by Christ? None. And what good deeds will unbelievers be judged for? None. Their deeds are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).

So then, what’s the big picture here? There is only one judgment event, and 2 Corinthians 5 is simply describing that unbelievers will be recompensed for their bad deeds while believers will be recompensed for their good deeds. This mirrors the judgment event described in Matthew 25 and in Revelation 20-21. In Matthew 25, there are two groups: goats and sheep. Likewise, in Revelation, there are two groups: the unbelievers in chapter 20 and the believers in chapter 21. The former is judged for their sins, while the latter is celebrated and invited into eternity with God forever.

What about 1 Corinthians 3 which states that fire will test the quality of each one’s work? Isn’t this a second and separate judgment for Christians? No, here Paul is simply addressing messages built on a foundation other than Christ. He’s saying the work of false messengers will burn up and not be celebrated by God. This is why the example of Paul laying a foundation and Apollos following on that solid foundation is given, along with the contrast of another (faulty) foundation being laid. In short, this is about messenger and message, not about the individual works of every believer being judged.

A believer doesn’t need to worry about being judged by God. In fact, Scripture is clear that if we fear judgment, we have not been perfected in God’s love. Fear has to do with imagining judgment and punishment (1 John 4:18). But the simple solution is to trust in God’s perfect love that casts away all fear. When Christ returns for a believer,  it will be “without reference” to your sins (Hebrews 9:28). In fact, for the believer, the Day of Judgment will be a day of celebrating that Jesus took away all of our sins and made us righteous forever. There will be no cause for any tears or sorrow at all (Revelation 21:4).

Let’s Make It a Conversation:
1. How have you viewed the Day of Judgment in the past?
2. How has this discussion influenced your view?
3. Do you think it’s even possible to look forward to that day? If so, why?

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