Part 11 Who besides unbelievers will be judged?

Questions: Will others be judged?  Who will be the judge?

Answers:  1)All followers of Jesus will be judged.  However, we will not come before the great white throne judgment seat and be judged for our sins.  Jesus already paid the penalty for our moral wrongs.  Instead our judgment will be to give account for our lives as believers and to be rewarded for our good works.  The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 14:10-12But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For it is written, “AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.” 12 So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.”   Paul tells us that we are not to wrongly judge and criticize other believers because we are going to be held accountable for our own shortcomings.  Barclay writes, “We stand before God in the awful loneliness of our own souls; to him we can take nothing but the character which in life we have been building up.”[1]

We read further in 2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”  Here again see that all believers will be judged in the end times.  This is when we will be recompensed or rewarded for certain actions outlined in the Bible.  Jesus gave some examples of future rewards in Matthew.  Actions such as giving, praying, and fasting will be rewarded in heaven (Matt. 6:1-6).

Paul writes that once we become a follower of Jesus all our works will be tested by fire at the believers’ judgment.  Fire is simply a symbol for testing.  1 Corinthians 3:11-15 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. 14 If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

We will be rewarded for using our gifts to further the Lord’s work.  Some works are more valuable than others.  Some people occupy their time with religious busy work and Paul calls these works wood, hay, and straw; when tested by fire and these works will burn up.  Other works, such as investing in the spiritual lives of others through discipleship or serving others in need or accurately teaching the Word of God, are labeled precious stones and expensive metals and will survive the fire and be rewarded by God.  In the end we will be held accountable for using the gifts God has given us.

2) Angels will also be judged.  Peter writes in 2 Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment.”

Interesting is the Bible teaches believers will help in the work of judgment and will judge angels.   1 Corinthians 6:2-3 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?”

3) In the end it will be Jesus who will function as the judge of the world.  2 Timothy 4:1 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom.”  Peter makes a similar statement about Jesus in Acts 10:42 And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead.”  The right to judge the entire universe has been given to the Son by the Father.  For everyone living or dead Jesus Christ will either be their deliverer or their judge (Matt.25:31-46).

[1] New American Commentary – Volume 27: Romans.

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