In what sense are members of Christ’s Body to be judged? The Scriptures plainly declares, Romans 8:1, “there is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus”. The remainder of that verse is missing in the original text. The Lord Jesus plainly declares, John 5:24, believers “shall not come into condemnation”. In John 3:18 the Scriptures declare that believers are not condemned. In Romans 8:34, the question is asked, “Who is he that condemneth”? “It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”
These Scriptures seem to settle the matter that believers are not now condemned and shall not come into condemnation. But now we must find the correct explanation of some other Scriptures which are addressed to believers.
1—I Corinthians 11:31 and 32—“For if we judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.”
2—II Corinthians 5:10 and 11—“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
3—Romans 14:10 to 12—“But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give an account of himself to God.”
4—Colossians 3:23 to 25—“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance; for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done; and there is no respect of persons”.
When we carefully study Acts 5:1 to 11, the experiences of Ananias and Sapphira, and those men in the assembly at Corinth, I Corinthians 5:5, who were delivered to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, and I Timothy 1:20, who were delivered unto Satan, we appreciate the fact that there are no believers today who have Divine authority to deliver fellow-believers to judgment. In that sense, present judgment of saints must be different. And perhaps there may be some difference in this day of Gentile favor as to the manner in which the Father chastens His children. However, we may be sure that self judgment is still in order and will save the believer from judgment from the hands of God.
From the Scriptures which we have quoted, it is apparent that members of the Body of Christ are going to receive for the wrong which they have done. The question is suggested: “what are they going to receive?”
When according to Romans 14:10 and II Corinthians 5:10, the believers stand at the judgment-seat of Christ, it is certain they will not be there to learn whether or not they have earned eternal life. Eternal life is the free gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23. We are saved with an everlasting salvation, by because God is rich in mercy and great in love. Ephesians 2:4 to 8.
When we read I Corinthians 15:58 and Hebrews 6:10, Luke 14:14, I Corinthians 3:14 and II Timothy 2:12, certainly we are taught that we shall be rewarded, by our blessed Lord, for the service we have rendered in His Name and the sufferings we have endured for His sake.
The verses that follow II Corinthians 5:10 seem to teach us that we shall have to give an account to the Lord for our faithfulness or neglect in giving the saving message of reconciliation to the unbelievers. Surely in II Corinthians 5:10 to 21 a great responsibility is placed upon the members of the Body of Christ. In giving account for the deeds done in the body, we shall answer to the Lord as to our faithfulness as ambassadors of Christ. Many teachers teach from Thessalonians and Philippians that the crown of joy or rejoicing will be given to those who are faithfully telling the Gospel message to sinners.
But we are sure that God is not unrighteousness to forget our labor of love, that our labor is not in vain in the Lord, and that if we suffer with Christ we shall reign with Him.
We can never get into heaven by serving the Lord, for it is altogether by grace through faith in the redemptive work of Christ. But we shall receive the reward for service when we shall appear with Him in glory.