At salvation all judgment is removed from the believer. Faith in Christ removes all condemnation. Christ was judged in our place and therefore the believer will not be judged. The word for judge in Greek is “krino” and means to sentence or to condemn. At physical birth every member of the human race is condemned because of Adam’s original sin. This condemnation can be removed only by faith in Christ. He took our condemnation (judgment) on the Cross and paid the penalty that was demanded by the justice of God. (John 3:18; Romans 8:1)
The word for sin in Greek is “hamartia” and literally means, “missing the mark.” There are three types of sin in the Bible. Imputed sin is Adam’s original sin imputed to the entire human race at physical birth. It is this sin that separates us from God (spiritual death). (Romans 5:12, 6:23; I Corinthians 15:21-22) Inherent sin is the sin nature inherited at physical birth by every member of the human race passed down genetically by the father. (Romans 5:12,18,19; Psalms 51:5) Personal sin is not imputed to the human race, but is committed after physical birth because of the sin nature and personal volition. (Psalms 32:2; Romans 4:8; II Corinthians 5:19)
Adam’s original sin results in spiritual death, which is separation from God for all eternity. This means that the human race lacks the righteousness necessary to have a relationship with God or to enter Heaven. (Romans 3:23; Isaiah 64:6) Inherent sin makes people sinners because they possess a sin nature. A person is not a sinner because he commits personal sin; he sins because he possesses a sin nature. (Romans 5:19; James 1:13-15) Personal sin results from succumbing to temptation from the sin nature. Every person chooses to sin from his or her own volition. (Romans 7:15-20; I John 1:8-10)
The Scriptures are clear that spiritual death is a result of Adam’s original sin, which is imputed at birth. It is therefore spiritual death that is the penalty for sin. It was Christ’s spiritual death on the Cross that paid the penalty for Adam’s original sin. This judgment satisfied the justice of God and faith in Christ secures forgiveness forever. The Bible says, “In Adam all die, but in Christ shall all be made alive” (I Corinthians 15:22) “Death” in this passage refers to spiritual death and “alive” means spiritually alive.
Christ also paid the penalty for inherent sin (the nature passed to us from our fathers). The power of sin in the life of a believer can be broken, but only on the basis of Christ’s payment for inherent sin. Positionally the believer is secure forever since he possesses eternal life and is kept by the power of God. However, experientially the believer still possesses a sin nature. (John 3:16; Romans 8:8-10; II Corinthians 5:17)
Since the sin nature is not eradicated at salvation the believer continues to sin. (Romans 8; I John 1:8-10) These sins are called personal sins and were imputed to Christ and judged. At salvation personal sins are forgiven and forgotten by God. (I John 2:2; Ephesians 1:7) However, there must be a solution to post-salvation sinning. God, in His magnificent way, has provided the solution. After salvation, the believer simply names, admits, or acknowledges his personal sin directly to God and is forgiven and cleansed. Not only does He forgive the sins we name, He cleanses from any unknown or forgotten sins. (I John 1:5-10)
Jesus Christ was judged for all sin, imputed, inherent and personal. He paid the penalty by His substitutionary spiritual death on the Cross. (Matthew 27:26; John 19:30) Forgiveness of sin means deliverance from the penalty of sin and the complete removal of sin. The word in Greek for forgiveness is “aphiemi” and means “to send forth” or “to send away”; a perfect description of what God does with our sin.
There is coming a time when every believer will stand before Jesus Christ to be evaluated (judged). This evaluation is NOT based on our sins or human works. It is based, instead, on our response to God’s plan for us to learn and apply His Word and to grow-up spiritually.
The Judgment Seat of Christ is for believers only and takes place some time shortly after the Rapture of the Church. At the Rapture, all living and dead believers from the Church Age will meet Jesus Christ in the air and will be led in a processional to Heaven. Having received a glorified body like Christ’s we will be fully conscious, fully recognizable and with increased knowledge. God’s Word seems to indicate that there will then be a time of celebration, when we will worship and praise our Savior. (Romans 14:12; I Corinthians 4:5; 15:51-54; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Philippians 3:21)
Scripture tells us that our Savior has already departed to prepare a dwelling place for us, the Bride of Christ (as we will be called in Heaven). But before the Lord can reveal all that will be ours for the eternal state, we must all be evaluated at the Judgment Seat of Christ. It is during our evaluation that we will suffer momentary shame for those failed opportunities to execute our spiritual lives. (John 14:1-3; II Corinthians 5:8-10; Romans 14:11-12)
Most of us, as believers, will never receive recognition in this life for our accomplishments, but I assure you that this will not be the case in eternity. There is going to be great inequality in the eternal state for believers. It is our fulfillment of God’s plan under the control of the Holy Spirit that will be rewardable in eternity, not our human good works. Only divine production is rewardable. All divine production is a matter of God’s grace and is never based on human works. The possible questions are going to be: “Did you tap into God’s system?” or “Did you go it alone?” (I Corinthians 9:24-27)
God’s plan for your life is simple; fulfilling it is also simple. It becomes difficult only when we fail to utilize all that God has given us and begin to manufacture our own problems by rejecting truth. The days in which we live are uncertain and the national scene is unstable at best. Yet those believers who CHOOSE to execute the Christian Way of Life can remain stabilized, confident and faithful in time of pressure or even national disaster. Why? Because you know the One Who controls history and you have learned that you have a place in it. You have a personal sense of destiny that has been secured by your faith in Christ and realized by your consistent intake and application of God’s Word (Bible doctrine). Only with Bible doctrine in your soul that has been converted into wisdom through application, will you be able to put everything in life into its proper perspective. (Matthew 11:28-30; James 1:1-12; II Timothy 1:12)
So, how are you going to meet your Savior? Will you have fulfilled the mandates of Scripture to advance to spiritual maturity, which has led you into a life of purpose? Or will you make it into Heaven “by the skin of your teeth”, having failed to advance in your Christian life, which has led you to a life of misery and failure? At the Judgment Seat of Christ, it will be too late to do anything about your failure; the time is now, today! You must take the initiative to study and apply God’s Word if you want to hear, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” Upon hearing this from our Lord Jesus Christ, rewards beyond anything you can imagine will be yours for all eternity. (Matthew 25:21; James 1:25)
For every believer there are only two choices after salvation:
1) Execute God’s plan, purpose and will, or 2) Execute your own plan and play into Satan’s hand. The first will result in what the Bible calls gold, silver and precious stones, analogous to divine production on earth. The second will result in what the Bible calls wood, hay and straw, analogous to human production on earth. Both will be judged (represented by fire) at the Judgment Seat. When gold, silver and precious stones are subjected to fire, it only purifies them more and enhances their value. When wood, hay and straw are subjected to fire they are burned up. It is, therefore, only divine production that survives the Judgment Seat of Christ and is rewardable. (I Corinthians 3:13-15)
Divine production is good of intrinsic (lasting) value done by a believer when he is filled with (controlled by) God the Holy Spirit. Divine production is a result of spiritual growth and is a grace function of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. Therefore, all the honor and glory belongs to God, not to the believer. As a matter of fact, God’s Word seems to indicate that these rewards will be placed at the feet of Christ, as a testimony to the fact that He deserves all of the honor. (Revelation 4:10-11)
All other production is human good and contributes nothing to your spiritual life. Human good can be a distraction, if not understood and if it is allowed to be a substitute for your spiritual life. Going to church, giving money, praying, witnessing, loving other Christians can be either divine production or human good depending upon the motivation: filled with the Spirit or not filled with the Spirit. Divine production adds NOTHING to your spiritual life. Why? Because it is the RESULT of your spiritual life (your private relationship with God). You DO NOT HAVE a spiritual life apart from the knowledge and application of God’s Word. NO BIBLE DOCTRINE, NO RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, NO TRUE LOVE FOR GOD…NO SPIRITUAL LIFE. (John 4:24; Romans 12:1-2; II Timothy 2:15; 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12; II Peter 3:18)
The Judgment Seat of Christ is a serious matter, not to be taken lightly. As a believer you cannot lose your salvation and you will never be judged for your sin. You will be happy for all eternity regardless if you live your spiritual life or not. But what a tragic waste of a life and what a tremendous loss of rewards. But most tragic of all is when you stand face to face with Jesus Christ and have to explain to Him why you failed to glorify Him while you were here on earth. (II Timothy 2:11-13)