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How Will Christians Be Judged?

During the day of judgment, even the most devoted Christian will rely solely on grace for support.

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:9-10: “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”

In other words, all roads lead to the same place: the judgment seat of God. Every Christian will face judgment and will stand before Christ to account for what they have done, good or bad, while they were alive.


Yet, Paul was not only constrained by God’s love in Christ, but he was moved by the truth that he would appear before the judgment seat of Christ.


Let’s take a closer look at it:

1. Who is going to be judged?


Paul mainly refers to believers, not all people (2 Corinthians 5:9-10). This suggests that the judgment discussed is specifically for those who have professed faith in Christ and are part of the Christian community. (Yes, there will be a judgment for those who are non-Christians. Start at Revelation 20:11-15 – 22!). And, remember: Sometimes you just have to wait for the Judgment Seat of Christ to vindicate you (2 Cor. 5:10). Keep being faithful to God and God alone (Gal. 6:9; 1 Cor. 15:58).


2. What is the reason for this judgment?


It's not about punishment but evaluating Christians' works to reward them accordingly. Salvation is secure for believers (Romans 8:1). This judgment serves to evaluate believers' faithfulness and service within the Christian church (locally and universally to other Christians,), determining the appropriate reward and praise for their actions.


3. When does this occur?


The exact timing is unclear, but it likely occurs after death or at Christ's second coming (Hebrews 9:27; Matthew 16:27). This uncertainty about the timing suggests that we ought to be prepared for the judgment at all times.


4. Is the judgment unavoidable (“we must all appear”)?


Everyone, including Paul, anticipates facing judgment (2 Corinthians 5:10). This underscores the inevitability of being held accountable for one's actions before God.


5. Is the judgment for each local church or each Christian him-/herself (“each one”)?


Each person faces judgment individually and independently (Romans 14:12). This emphasizes personal accountability before God. While churches (like those in Rev. 2-3) may have some part, this is for each person, again, individually.


6. How is the judgment carried out (“we must all appear”)?


It involves divine examination of our actions and motives (1 Corinthians 4:5). This suggests that the judgment goes beyond surface actions to the deeper motivations and intentions of the heart.


7. What is the uniqueness of the judgment (“judgment seat of Christ”)?


It's known as the "judgment seat of Christ," similar of a legal tribunal in Corinth (2 Corinthians 5:10 – bema seat). This reference provides a context for understanding the seriousness and authority of the judgment process.


8. Who is one to make the judgments? Who is the judge (“judgment seat of Christ”)?


Jesus Christ is the judge, as indicated in the Bible (John 5:22). This highlights God’s authority and righteousness fundamental in the judgment.


9. What is the “yardstick” of judgment (“what he has done in the body, whether good or evil”)?


Our actions in this life, whether good or bad, are evaluated (2 Corinthians 5:10). This standard underscores the importance of living a life consistent with Christian principles and values—by God’s grace and his Spirit.


10. What are the results of the judgment (“receive”)?

Each person receives what they deserve, either reward or loss, though our salvation remains secure (1 Corinthians 3:14-15; Jude 24-25; Rom. 8:28-39). This emphasizes the accountability and consequences associated with the judgment, while also affirming the assurance of salvation through faith in Christ.


In short, while our deeds don't determine salvation, they reflect our faith. We aren’t saved by what we can/cannot do – but what we do shows whether we are saved!


Remember: During the day of judgment, even the most devoted Christian will rely solely on grace for support.


The judgment process may bring regret -- but grace ultimately triumphs because we are forgiven in Christ. And this leads to the joys of heaven!