I have always been somewhat curious about the Day of Judgment, or the Day of Christ, or the Day of Jesus Christ. Now, this should be a day of total rejoicing for me as a believer as this is the day that I will finally see God and by His grace enter into His presence for eternity in my new body (see 1 Corinthians 15). However, I have never been quite sure how to deal with the fact that God will judge me for everything I have ever said or done (Matthew 12:36). Since I am found in Christ and my name is written in the Book of Life and He has redeemed me by His blood for the Father, how can I still be judged for my sins? Frankly, Paul’s statement that “each of us will give an account of himself to God” is quite intimidating. I have always rested in the truth that God has forgotten my sins and justified me, an unworthy sinner, by His grace alone, through my faith alone in Christ alone. And now Scripture is telling me that these forgotten sins will be brought before me again? Initial confusion sets in my mind. However, my heart and eyes have been blind to the glorious truth of the Day of Judgement. For this day will not be a day for rising guilt in believers, but instead exaltation of the glory of the Worthy Lamb who was slain. Anthony Hoekema gives great insight to what the judgment will be like for believers as far as them having to give an account of their sins: “The failures and shortcomings of…believers…will enter into the picture on the Day of Judgment. But–and this is the important point–the sins and shortcomings of believers will be revealed in the judgment as forgiven sins, whose guilt has been totally covered by the blood of Jesus Christ.” Aha! Clarity. My mind was completely hung up on the fact alone that I must give an account for my sins and this gives birth to fear and guilt. This line of thinking is of the flesh and is not of Christ. This is not reveling in the grace that has saved me, but ignoring it. Believers, brothers and sisters in Christ, revel in the grace that has saved you today as you ponder upon the might, mystery, and majesty of the coming Day of Judgment. I close with an excerpt from A Godward Life. In it, John Piper gives a beautiful picture of the Day of Judgment for believers. Let me be very clear: This picture is only for believers in Jesus Christ on the Day of Judgment. Non-believers will not find such joy and welcoming, but rather a much different and horrendous picture of misery and rejection (Revelation 20-21). Believers in Christ, as you read, be grateful of God’s love and grace. Non-believers, as you read, see what you will miss out on and consider the might and magnitude of the glory of Jesus Christ in His power to redeem you by His blood.
Piper’s Picture of Judgment (for believers):
“Picture it like this. God has a file on every person (the books of Revelation 20:12). All you’ve ever done or said (Matthew 12:36) is recorded there with a grade from A to F. When you stand before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:1) to be judged according to what you have done, whether good or bad, God will open the file and lay out the tests with their grades. He will pull out all the F’s and put them in a pile. Then he will take all the D’s and C’s and pull the good parts of the test out and place them with the A’s, and put the bad parts with the F’s. Then he will take all the B’s and A’s and pull the bad parts out of them and put them in the F pile, and put all the good parts in the A pile.
Then he will open another file (the book of life [Philippians 4:3]) and find your name. Behind your name will be a wood-stick match made from the cross of Jesus. He will take the match, light it, and set the F pile, with all your failures, imperfections, and deficiencies, on fire and burn them up. They will not condemn you, and they will not reward you.
Then he will take from your book-of-life file a sealed envelope marked “free and gracious bonus” and put it on the A pile (see Mark 4:24 and Luke 6:38). Then he will hold up the entire pile and declare: ‘By this your life bears witness to the grace of my Father, the worth of my blood, and the fruit of my Spirit. Enter into the joy of your Master.” John Piper, A Godward LIfe, Multnomah Books 1997