Everyone must prepare for judgement
We often live our lives as if there will be no judgement. However, John’s vision of Christ having eyes of fire in Rev 1:14 reminds us that there will be a judgement, and that Christ will be the perfect Judge of all. This means that we must all prepare for judgement (Hebrews 9:27). The time of repentance is now (Acts 17:30-31).
For those of us who have repented, how are we to think about the judgement of Christ?
As Christians, we do not fear ultimate judgement b/c of what Christ has done. Romans 8:1 tells us that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. However, we are expected to be good stewards & our faithfulness on earth will be measured by heavenly standards. Let me demonstrate this with a few passages.
2 Cor 5:10
For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good our bad.
This is not talking about Christians being judged based on their morally evil or good, Jesus dealt with that. Our sins have been forgiven and we have been provided the righteousness we need. Here Paul is talking about the our faithfulness as Christians to Christ’s kingdom being evaluate based on the eternal value of our service. In other words, was our fruit eternally worthwhile and profitable or not. Think of it this way:
If we are investing in our own kingdom that work will be burned up, but if we are investing in God’s Kingdom then that work will last.
1 Cor 3:13-15
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. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
This does not mean that we will earn extra merit toward our salvation. It simply means that we were good stewards of the grace provided for us & that will be beneficial in the Kingdom. But even the rewards we receive for “kingdom fruit” is a testament to the power of Christ. One of the ways the NT describes these rewards is “crowns.” But notice what Rev 4:10 says,
the 24 elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne…
Even the rewards we receive at the judgement seat of Christ are ultimately a testament to the grace of God and for his glory.