For the rest of the summer, we’re doing a sermon series at Country Bible Church entitled, “I’m glad you asked.” Anyone can submit anonymous questions regarding the Bible and/or spiritual issues and we’ll do our best to answer them in Sunday Sermons. To make sure that everyone’s question gets answered, I’ll be dealing with them all one at a time in the morning devotions as well. My daily answers will be as brief and to the point as possible. I’ll give the question, exactly as it was received and then give the best answer I can. The first question is, “if we accept Jesus as our savior and have eternal life why are we judged when we get to heaven and what effect does our judgment have on getting into heaven?”

First, let me assure everyone that the Bible teaches clearly that Jesus paid the penalty for the sins of all who believe. No one who has placed their faith in Christ will be judged for their sins. The debt that we owe God as a result of our sins has been paid. Christians will not stand before the great judgment seat of God to answer for and pay for their sins. Jesus did that for us. Instead, all believers will stand before what Paul calls, “The judgment seat of Christ” (see 2 Cor 5:10). This is often called the “bema seat of Christ.” This judgment has no effect on our acceptance into heaven because it actually takes place in heaven. It is totally concerned with the rewards we earn in this life for our service. A key passage on this is 1 Corinthians 3:12-15. It says, “ Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”

People are pardoned individually as they come to faith in Jesus. The result of the acceptance of God’s pardon offered in Christ is eternal life. Rewards will be given out to every believer who serves Christ in this life at the judgment seat of Christ. Just as there are degrees of punishment in hell, so too are there degrees of rewards in heaven. Each believer will receive the rewards he has earned for serving Christ in this life. Believers are always encouraged to live with an eternal perspective.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19-20