Here’s something you’ve probably wondered about at some point...
WILL GOD REVEAL YOUR SINS ON JUDGEMENT DAY?
Let’s say that you are a Christian already – you have asked Jesus to save you from your sins and to come live inside you and take over your life. You know that some day, you will stand before God and give account for your life. Will God share your sins with the world that day?
Will He say, “Kevin failed to report lottery ticket winnings on his tax return and failed to pay Maine Use Tax on the computer he ordered from South Dakota?” Will He say, “Desiree just left her house too late, then lied to the pastor about how she was late because of a big traffic jam in Appleton?” Will He say, “Pastor Steve Young was caught talking during a fire drill in Kindergarten, and the teacher sent a note home to his Mommy and little Stevie conveniently ‘lost’ the note on the way home?” This could be a concern, especially since the last of these is a true story. (Note that Little Stevie was not a Christian at the time!)
I understand people’s concern about this because it says in Revelation that books will be opened that have people’s works in them. Uh-oh, does that mean the world will know that you told Sally that you weren’t feeling good when you were actually taking Ursula on a date behind her back because you thought that Ursula would be a girlfriend upgrade if things worked out? Will it be shouted from the housetops that you used a chess program on your computer to help you beat a Yahoo chess opponent?
Let’s start by discussing the two judgements. One is the Great White Throne Judgement. At this judgment, books are opened with works in them, and everyone not found in the Lamb’s Book of Life will be thrown into the lake of fire. Will all your works be there, visible to all? I don’t believe your sins will be recorded there. Why not? Because Jesus’ blood washes away the sins of the believer. If they’re washed away, how can there be any record of them in heaven anymore?
Part of God’s New Covenant is that He will remember our lawless deeds no more. When we are forgiven, our sins are separated from us as far as the east is from the west. How far is that? If you go straight north and keep going in a straight line, you will eventually cross the North Pole and start heading south again, assuming that you haven’t fallen through the ice or been eaten by a polar bear by then. But if you start traveling east until you can’t go east anymore, you’ll never stop. You can always go east some more. Your sins are so far gone, you could never “arrive” at them – they are cast into the sea and forgotten, out of reach to the world.
What about giving account for every idle word, as Jesus said? Well, if you’re not a Christian, your sins are still recorded, and you will indeed pay for every wrong word you’ve ever said. But the Christian will not have to pay for any words – Jesus paid for all of them! If you’ve had a big mouth like I used to have, you’re probably very glad that Jesus was punished for your wrong words and that God destroyed the transcripts!
So there will be no books with your sins in them at the Great White Throne Judgement! Now what about the Judgement Seat of Christ? This is a judgement only for believers, because anyone who loses everything at this judgement is still saved, but only as if by fire – and that could not be truly said of an unbeliever, who would not be saved at all. At this judgement, your good works done with the right motives survive, and any works not done with the right motive (or just plain not what God had for you to do) are burned up. The minister who wanted a big church to feed his ego and prove his detractors wrong will lose his church work. The special music singer whose main motive was to impress the cute freckled redhead in the second row will lose the work of singing that song. The man who faithfully shared Jesus with people he met because he cared about their souls will keep his soulwinning works; the guy who just wanted a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for most tracts handed out will lose his soulwinning works. The pure works will survive the fire; the impure ones will not. But that’s OK; you wouldn’t want those impure works to follow you to heaven anyway. Any sinful motives were wiped off the records as sin before judgement, but this is where the works themselves will be burned up or preserved. You don’t get eternal credit for works done with the wrong motive.