Are Christians going to face judgment? Will Christians be judged?
If, when we die, we go to heaven or hell, where does judgment day come in with a saved Christian? Will they still be judged on judgment day? If so, why aren’t we forgiven for our sins?
This is something we need to think about very carefully. We believe that the Bible teaches that when a believer dies, they go to be with the Lord. As Paul the apostle said: to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. As Jesus told the thief on the cross who believed: today, you will be with Me in paradise. Many other passages bring us back to the simple, thought that believers go immediately to the presence of the Lord when they die.
It is always difficult trying to sort out things chronologically when it comes to the age to come. But from every indication we have, the ultimate judgment of God (what we sometimes called the Great White Throne Judgment, from Revelation 20:11) happens later, at some time in eternity future. Here’s what it says in Revelation 20:11: Then I saw a great white throne and him who sat on it, from whose faith, face heaven and earth fled away, and there was found no place for them.
We see the mention of a great white throne – a throne that is great in its status, great in its power, and great in its authority. It is white in its purity and holiness – and it is, of course, a throne. It is a place where a King reigns in divine sovereignty. Continuing on here into verse 12 it says this: 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. That describes a great and a comprehensive judgment. It speaks of judging the living and the dead. It speaks of everybody being judged. Later on, it’s going to speak even of those from the sea. It presents it in terms that indicate for us a very comprehensive judgment.
However, many if not most Bible scholars believe that Christians never appear before this great white throne. It isn’t because we can hide from the great right throne – nobody can hide from the throne of God’s judgment. But the idea is this is that we are spared from this awesome throne of judgment, because our sins were already judged in Jesus at the cross. We don’t escape the judgment of God; we satisfy the judgment of God in Christ Jesus.
Every Christian has a judgment day in at least two senses. First of all, it’s the day their sins were judged. For those who reject Jesus, those who are headed for eternity apart from God and Savior, Jesus Christ, that happens at the Great White Throne Judgment. But there’s another sense in which for Christians, their day of judgment was already at the cross. That’s when their sins were judged. My sins as a believer in Jesus Christ and yours as well. If you have put your faith if you have repented and believed in Jesus Christ, then your sins were judged. In Jesus at the cross, your sins were judged completely So, what sins remain to be judged at the great white throne for you? It’s none. It’s zero. That is again for the one who has put their faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ, especially his work on the cross. Our Judgment Day is not the great white throne. Our Judgment Day is the cross.
It is as if God sets this to all of humanity: you can pick your judgment day. Repent of your sins, put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior and your Lord, and your judgement day can be 2,000 years ago at Golgotha where Jesus paid the penalty for your sins. If you refuse to do so, then there is a judgement day awaiting you at the Great White Throne as Revelation chapter 20:11-12 tell us.
That being said, there is a second day of judgment that Christians need to keep in mind. Christians will have to stand before another throne – what we call the judgment seat of Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:10 says for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, either good or bad. When we pass from these bodies, to the world beyond (and our resurrection bodies), we must each give an account according to what we have done, whether good or bad. That’s exactly what 2 Corinthians 5:10 says.
At the judgment seat of Christ, what we have done or not done, will be judged, but not only that. Also, our motives for what we have done will be judged. Paul presented essentially the same idea in 1 Corinthians 3:12, where he spoke of a coming assessment of each one’s work before the Lord. In that passage, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul made it clear that what we have done and our motive for doing it will be tested by fire and the purifying fire of God will burn up everything that was not of Him.
Please note, the judgment seat of Christ is not punishment for the things we have not done rightly. Instead, the things that we have not done unto God’s glory, both in action and in motive will simply be burned up. And it will be as if we never did those things to begin with, and we will be rewarded for what remains. I think it is kind of sad to consider that there are some people who will get to heaven, thinking they have done great things for God – and they will find out at the judgment seat of Christ (when the purifying fire of the assessment and the judgment of Jesus passes over what they did and their motives for doing it) that all those things will be burnt up, and it will be apparent to them that they really did nothing for God, certainly nothing great for Him. On this basis, rewards will differ for God’s people in the age to come.
The question was absolutely correct in that Christians will not appear before the throne of God’s judgment, what we call in the Revelation 20:11-12 sense, the Great White Throne of judgment. However, having been saved, what we do for the cause of Christ, how we live unto His glory, and our motives for doing those things – that will be assessed by Jesus Christ, and the things that we have not done out of right action and motive will be burned away and it will be as if they never existed.
Is there a judgment for Christians? Yes, there is a judgment for Christians, the judgment seat of Christ, as mentioned there in 2 Corinthians and in 1 Corinthians. But we will not face the Great White Throne judgment. Our sins were paid for, by what Jesus did at the cross. I’m very grateful that God gives humanity a choice as to when their day of judgment will be. I hope you are in agreement with me saying, it’s much better to put our faith in Jesus Christ (in who He is, and what He has done, especially what He’s done at the cross in the empty tomb), the True Jesus revealed to us by the Bible, it’s better to do that, and have our judgment day already passed. There, on that afternoon, when Jesus Christ was crucified.
What does it mean to say, “Lord, I believe – help my unbelief”?
What did the man in Mark 9:24 mean? When he said to Jesus to help his unbelief, if he had already stated that he believed.
What the question draws attention to is that wonderful verse in Mark 9:24, where the man who had an afflicted son came to Jesus, and he said, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.” It is such a beautiful thing to say to God. If we look to our own experience with God, we know exactly what the man meant. If we went just by his words, maybe we would say, “That man is speaking in contradictions. Maybe he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. There’s nothing really there.” But that is not the way we want to go with this. This goes beyond a mere analysis of the words, to look at the heart that the man had, which said this: “Jesus, I really do trust in You, while at the same time recognizing that my trust in You is not perfect. There are many flaws and weaknesses in my trust in You. Yet I cannot deny that I do in fact, trust in You.” So the man said, “Lord, I believe, Help my unbelief.”
If we understand what the man said, they’re in Mark 9:24, it really helps us to understand what our the nature of our faith should be regarding Jesus. There are many people who are very troubled by the idea that they are unable to perfectly believe. They are unable to chase away absolutely every doubt, every questioning, and they think that unless their faith is perfect, they will never be saved. That is the wrong way to think about it. Dear brother or sister: you are not saved by the perfection of your faith. You are saved because you have a perfect Savior, in whom you have placed the best faith you can give to Him. Don’t worry about trying to have a perfect faith. Instead, concern yourself with bringing the best faith you have to Jesus Christ and set that faith upon Him.
Again, we kind of understand this by our own experience what the man meant. He couldn’t deny that he believed, while at the same time he understood that there was some element within him that did not believe Jesus perfectly.
How should Christians regard the Sabbath?
How should Christians view and act upon the Sabbath?
The New Testament makes it very clear, for example, in Colossians 2 where it says, let no man judge you in regard to a Sabbath. Also, by the fact that the few indications we have in the New Testament are that Christians met together for fellowship in the early church, in Apostolic times not on the last day of the week, the Sabbath, but on the first day of the week, that is Sunday. They gathered together there on the first day of the week to recognize that they had a day of worship and rest, but they weren’t under obligation under the same Old Testament commandments.
So, the New Testament, basic teaching on the Sabbath is this: that the Sabbath is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and in the rest that He gives us. Nevertheless, we should set aside time for worship, and we have wisdom from God that tells us it is wise to set aside time for rest.
But as for when that exactly has to be the New Testament doesn’t tie us down to a specific day. In the Old Testament it was clearly the seventh day (the Sabbath). In the New Testament, there’s the suggestion, I’m not going to claim it’s entirely clear, but there’s a suggestion that the believers got together on the first day of the week on Sunday. So, we’re not commanded to a specific day.
Did Jesus keep the Sabbath?
How did Jesus keep the Sabbath?
Jesus observed the Sabbath, the seventh day, and he did that because He came to perfectly fulfill the Old Testament law and to do it on behalf of those who would believe in Him. You see, Jesus’ perfect law keeping is credited as righteousness to all those who repent and put their faith in Him. So Jesus did keep the Sabbath.
It should be clear that if a believer today wants to make the seventh day (Saturday) their day of worship and rest, they have absolute freedom in Jesus Christ to do so. That’s why Paul said, Let no man judge you regarding a Sabbath in Colossians 2. He didn’t say, “Don’t keep the Sabbath.” He said, “Don’t let anybody judge you whether you keep it or you don’t keep it. No one should judge you.” This is something that Christians can come to an understanding between themselves and God for themselves.
Are the 10 Commandments for today?
Can you talk about the 10 commandments and the law and how they relate to us today?
We often want to separate the 10 Commandments from the rest of the Mosaic Law. You need to understand: the Ten Commandments are part of the Mosaic Law. There are many things in the Mosaic law that are not binding upon believers today because they were either focused towards Israel and their time and place, or because those laws are fulfilled in Jesus Christ – the ceremonial or the ritual aspect of those laws. We must remember that, if a Christian is required to keep that 10 Commandments, just as an ancient Jewish person was required to keep the 10 Commandments – then we are under the entire law. Of course, there is no reason why Christians should not be under the sacrificial law; instead, either the law is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and therefore it is to be understood in a New Covenant aspect.
Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that I’m trying to say, “throw out the 10 Commandments or the Old Testament law.” No, we need to know the Old Testament law, we need to study it, we need to teach it because:
- Some of it is repeated in the New Testament and given us things that we need to obey today.
- Some of the Old Testament law reflects the heart of God, where the particular expression of obedience in the Old Testament may be different than the way it’s expressed today. But the heart of God is the same.
- Ultimately, because it points us to Jesus Christ, both in the fulfillment and in the description of the many different aspects of it.
Christians are not under the law, and the 10 Commandments are part of the law. Now, most everything in the 10 Commandments is repeated in the New Testament as something for us to observe and do. But we do it because this is what we have from God in the New Covenant, shown to us by the heart of God in the Old Covenant.
What should the church do to get ready for the rapture?
Is there anything that church needs to be doing to get ready for the rapture?
What the church needs to know and to do to get ready for the rapture is first and foremost, repent. We need to repent! Repentance is a great and vital message that needs to be brought to the church again and again. Repentance is a word of hope. We don’t have to continue on in the same way we’ve been going. We can have new life and victory over sin in Jesus Christ.
Again, believers need to repent. Repentance is not just something that begins the Christian life (although it does begin the Christian life – repentance and faith are two sides of the same coin). But repentance does not only begin the Christian life, repentance is something that is done throughout the Christian life. Christians and churches need to repent. They need to be humble before God and they need to trust God and be ready for whatever difficulties the world, the flesh, or the devil throw at us, and be ready like never before.
Did Mary know the Messiah had to be born in Bethlehem?
Did Mary know the Messiah had to be born in Bethlehem from Scripture?
We know that Mary the mother of Jesus knew scripture well enough. Sometimes it seems to be an accident that Mary and Joseph ended up in Bethlehem in the nick of time. We have many misconceptions about the nativity scene and the whole Christmas event as we think about it. Much of what we think about regarding the Christmas event doesn’t match up to what the Scriptures actually say. The Bible does not say That Mary came into Bethlehem as she was having labor pains – the bottom line is we just don’t know at stage of her pregnancy she was at when they came to Bethlehem. The Bible doesn’t tell us. They could have come into Bethlehem several weeks before she was there to give birth.
I am confident that Mary and Joseph knew that the Scripture said that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. We know this from Mary’s song. What is classically in Christian thinking is called her magnificant. That’s from the Latin word that begins the famous phrase of Mary’s song, my soul magnifies the Lord. We know from that song that she was a woman who knew the Bible. There are so many allusions To Old Testament Scripture, again and again in Mary’s song, that we just have that confident assurance, she knew the Scriptures.
And as someone who knew the scriptures, we could be confident that she understood that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem. These things were not secrets. All we can do is conjecture that Mary and Joseph perhaps being in Nazareth, we’re both looking for an excuse, and a reason to go down to Bethlehem to go south. And when the command for the census came, they said, “Thank you, Lord, this is the way that You have provided.” We can speculate all day long: Would Mary and Joseph have tried to go down to Bethlehem anyway, without the census? Maybe. But that’s just speculation. Nobody can say one way or the other with any degree of certainty.
Are generational curses real today?
Are there generational curses today? And if so, should we pray against them?
I believe that there are not generational curses in the way that people use that idea today: the idea that some kind of curse or judgment of God could be passed down through generations on an individual.
If you read Ezekiel chapter 18, it is clear that God regards it as a wicked thing for a person to say that they are being judged for their ancestors’ sins. I don’t think God puts a curse in the way most people mean it – as something that has to be broken. In Jesus Christ, we are redeemed from the curse of the law, as it says there in Galatians. Jesus had the power to free us from any kind of curse like that.
Now, I do believe that in a sense, there are generational curses, not as things that have inherent spiritual power, not as something conjured up by a witch or sorcerer, nothing like that. But they can be true the sense that patterns of sin get ingrained in the culture of a family.
In talking with a friend of mine, a man named Lu Wing, who is a molecular biologist, he told me that there is some way that our behavior can even have some measure of influence upon our genetics. Scientists are just beginning to research this and understand this. This leads to the idea that there may be a genetic aspect. There is certainly a cultural and a societal aspect in which sin influences a family and subsequent generations.
When most people in the church today use the phrase generational curse, that’s not what they mean. They mean something more like the new age, honestly – we don’t believe it in that sense. But we do believe that sin has and certainly can have an effect throughout generations.
If anybody is troubled by the idea that there may be some generational curse upon them, all you have to do is read what it says about the curse and Galatians and say, simply this, Jesus, I believe that the curse was placed on you on the cross so that I can be set free from it. In the name of Jesus, I’m free from any curse. It’s really that simple. There doesn’t have to be any kind of ceremony regarding this. It’s a very simple thing, to put your faith in Jesus Christ and to receive by faith, what he has done for you.
Are the people in Israel today Biblical Jews?
Are the people in Israel today the biblical Jews?
We know from both historical and even genetic studies, that the Jewish people have this continuous line back to what we would consider to be the Jewish people of the Bible. So yes, the people in Israel today are the biblical Jews. Although, let’s remember, Israel as a nation is not populated only by Jewish people. There are Arab Israelis. There’s Arab Israelis in the government. There’s Arab Israelis in different other functions in the society. There are a significant proportion of Arab Israelis. And I suppose there’s a few other nationalities just thrown in there for good measure. But in the general aspect, yes they are the biblical Jews.
I believe that the Bible teaches very plainly that God is not finished with Israel, with the Jewish people as the Jewish people. They have a remaining place in his plan. And part of that plan in the very end times is Israel will be restored and regathered like never before.
What we see now in the land of Israel is only a first fruits, a precursor. It’s the trailer before the movie of the ultimate re-gathering. When you study the Old Testament passages having to do with the new covenant, you see that this gathering and restoration of Israel is part of the New Covenant. We often don’t think of it that way. But all I recommend is you go read the Old Testament passages having to do with the new covenant, and you will see that God’s enduring role for the Jewish people is there.
I need to be very clear about this as well. The Jewish people are chosen, but they are not chosen unto salvation universally. In other words, God’s choosing of the Jewish people does not mean that all of them are going to go to heaven. Now I know that that has been the teaching of some rabbis throughout history. As a matter of fact, hundreds and hundreds of years ago, there was a rabbi who taught basically that Abraham stood at the gates of hell and he looked at everybody who was entering into hell, just to make sure that none of his covenant descendants by accident started to go into hell. If there was such a one, one of his Jewish descendants, he would stop them and send them to heaven instead.
There are people who think that salvation has to do with genetics, just belonging to the right family. They said, No, that’s not what the Bible teaches. The Jews are a chosen people, but they are chosen to have an instrumental role in God’s unfolding plan of the ages. God had to choose a people to express what his kingdom would be like – He chose the Jewish people. God had to choose a place to express these things – so He chose the Land of Israel. God had to choose a people who would be the custodians and the recipients of His Word. God especially had to choose the people who would bring forth his Messiah for all of those things and more. The Jewish people are the chosen people and God’s purpose for the Jewish people is not completed. Now, this chosen status before God, sometimes it has been a great blessing for the Jewish people. Sometimes it has been a great burden for them to bear. But in that regard, they are chosen by God.
Did Peter lead the church in Rome?
When Peter closed his first epistle was he using symbolism when he mentioned the saints in Rome? Or was he actually leading a church in Rome at that time?
At the end of 1 Peter, it says she who is in Babylon elect together with you greets you and so does Mark my son. I think Peter is speaking symbolically, and likely he is speaking from Rome, though we can’t say this with absolute certainty.
I don’t have a problem with saying that Peter wrote this from Rome, but I don’t think that this mention in 1 Peter demands it. Babylon is not only a place, a real city and a real empire in Old Testament times, but it’s also a concept in the Bible. And the concept of Babylon is basically the picture of the world. You have Babylon, which is the word city of the world, and you have Jerusalem, which is the City of God.
Peter very well could have led the church in Rome for a time. We know that Peter did not found the church in Rome. Peter didn’t found it. Paul didn’t found it. It was founded by anonymous scattered believers who came and establish congregations in Rome. When Paul came to Rome, there was already a congregation there, and Peter as well. We know this from New Testament history.
I don’t have any problem with saying that Peter was the leader of the church in Rome, at least for a time. I don’t have a problem if somebody wants to say that Peter was the bishop of Rome, even though that’s a highly charged title, because essentially, that’s what the pope is. The Pope is a bishop; he just happens to be the Bishop of Rome and that has primacy or preeminence over every other Bishop or city or institution, at least in the thinking of Roman Catholics. What I have a problem with is the idea that Peter passed that authority down to anybody else – to me the great debating point.
How do I handle spiritual attack when I worship?
If one feels spiritual attack, especially during large praise and worship times, what’s God’s hand in it?
God’s hand is to strengthen you and sustain you in the midst of attack – the attack itself doesn’t mean anybody has been abandoned. The devil can certainly attack people at church. So you shouldn’t let it throw you or bother you that you were spiritually attacked, or maybe someone you know, was spiritually attacked at church. That’s not the issue. God is in it to strengthen believers. When any believer is attacked by the world, the flesh, or the devil, God is there to strengthen and to give that believer the resources they need to make it through such a time, if they will put their attention and their trust in him.
If we receive the Holy Spirit at salvation, why did some in Acts receive the Spirit later?
I truly believe that we receive the Holy Spirit at the time of salvation. Why did the Samaritans that believed to have to wait for john and Peter to lay hands on them, after Philip shared with them?
There are a few different ways Christians approach this question. There are people who try to make the argument that those Samaritans were never really saved to begin with. I don’t really buy that. I would just say this – every believer receives the Holy Spirit when they believe. The Bible says, “if anyone has not the Spirit of God, he doesn’t belong to Him.” The Spirit is our seal, our evidence, part of the thing that marks us off as being belonging to Jesus Christ. However, I do believe that God has continuing experiences for believers, that a believer’s experience of the Holy Spirit does not end at their conversion. There may be continual fillings or experiences of the Holy Spirit.
Regarding the Samaritans, my first inclination is to say that some of those from time to time, may be quite remarkable. And so that’s what I would say is what you’re seeing in those subsequent experiences of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts. It’s not that they received something that they never had before, but they received something in greater measure, or in fresh experience, that they did not experience before that.
Is America in the Bible, prophetically speaking?
Isaiah 46:9-10 says that God created the end in the beginning. If America isn’t in the Bible, did God forget about America and the present world?
God hasn’t forgotten about America. It may just simply be that America does not have a pre-announced place in God’s great end-times scenario. Who knows? Maybe America will play a significant role. But God just didn’t talk about it. Perhaps America will go through some judgment and be tremendously diminished in its capabilities in that judgment. God does know the end of the beginning, and = God certainly knows America, and He knows whatever role America will or won’t play in His unfolding plan of the ages. But just because God knows something doesn’t mean that He has declared everything in His Word.
Now, I know that people sometimes point to Amos 3:7 that says that the Lord will not do anything without telling His prophets. Clearly, we understand that is speaking with prophetic exaggeration or hyperbole There are significant things that God has done that He gave no prophetic forewarning. For example. what God did in and through the church – bringing Jew and Gentile together in one body. The New Testament specifically says that that was a mystery not revealed to those in ages past.
How can my faith become stronger?
How can my faith become stronger? It seems that I have faith at times, but I feel weak in that area at other times.
Let me give you two ways very practically that you can build your faith First of all, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. That’s what it says in Romans 10. So, read your Bible, meditate deeply on what the Bible says, talk about the Bible, fill your heart and mind with God’s word, and that will build your faith.
But there’s a second aspect to building faith. And it’s simply this, it’s being active with the faith that you have. I know this isn’t a perfect analogy, but I could say this, that faith is something like a muscle. When you work it out, it gets stronger – so work out your muscles, trust God for something small, and then something bigger. Start praying for things believing and make a note about what you pray for. And then when you see the prayers answered, put it in that notebook. And it’ll build your faith.
Go out and do things where you can see God move and God work. And that will build your faith and write them down. You’ll make note of those things and those will be like memorials of faith to build your faith.
Where is the Garden of Eden today?
Where is the Garden of Eden today?
We don’t know. Remember, the Garden of Eden was part of the pre flood world. That world was dramatically transformed in its geography, in its geology, and so it would be absolutely impossible to place where the Garden of Eden was then, and where it is today.
Actually, it’s good that we don’t know. I could see all kinds of mischief coming from that.
Do the Black Hebrew Israelites teach some true things?
What do you think about the black Hebrew Israelites? Do you think that some of the things they say may be true? When I listen to them? I don’t want to believe it, but they back up their statements with the Bible.
I have not made a deep study of the various Black Hebrew movements, but I’m not troubled by the idea that maybe one or two things they say are true. But in the whole, what they teach is just wrong. It’s heresy. Fundamentally, most all Black Hebrew groups deny the Trinity and the deity of Jesus Christ. That’s enough to say that they are wrong, and they are opposing God with what they do.
If we all come from Adam, why are there so many different races?
If we all come from Adam, how do we have different races like Asians, whites and blacks?
God built into Adam and Eve, the capability for this genetic variation. And because of that genetic variation, we have this great, great diversity among human beings.