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In light of Gods grace, how do I interpret the verse that says we will all stand before the Lord to give an account?

Legalism tends to misuse verses to motivate Christians to perform out of guilt. I certainly do not claim to have the last word on God’s will, but I do believe that the Holy Spirit has shed some light on the so-called dreaded final judgement for Christians that some teachers cite.

A careful reading of 1 Cor. 3:8-15 reveals that it is our works, not we ourselves, that will be judged. Verse 13 in the NAS says, “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.” Note what will be judged: “each man’s work,” not “each man.”

Secondly, the Greek literally says at the end of verse 13, “the fire itself will test of what sort each man’s work is,” not “the quality of each man’s work.” “Of what sort the work is” is vastly different from “the quality of the work.” Of what sort speaks of the work’s source, who did it, how did it come about? We know from other passages that the work must be Christ’s work through us if it is to be approved by God. Therefore, it also reveals that this will be a pass/fail judgement. Is it Christ’s work or is it the flesh’s? If the work is from the God-approved Source it will pass, if not it will be burned. The work, not the Christian, will be burned. “The quality of” interpretation, on the other hand, implies a subjective grading scale based upon unknown criteria. The Greek does not support that translation.

The context of the verse you cite, Heb. 13:17, is at the end of the letter where the writer is wrapping up by giving the readers several instructions about their behavior. The verse does not address leadership, those who will give an account, but simply states that leaders will do so. The phrase “as those who will give an account” does not say where, when or to whom this accounting will be given. Because of this, I choose to base my opinion on a final judgement upon 1 Cor. 3 rather than Heb. 13:17. Our works, not we ourselves, will be judged.