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What’s at Stake on Judgment Day?

I once heard a sermon, which portrayed Jesus lifting the veil of His bride and discovering to His horror that her face was disfigured, ugly, and repulsive to Him. We were summarily exhorted to work harder to overcome our sin nature and hope against hope to avoid that horrible fate at Judgment Day!

Isn’t that an awful indictment of the finished work of Christ? There is no veil to life; it’s been lifted (2 Corinthians 3:16,18)! And even if there were, there is only loveliness under it. We’re spotless! (see Ephesians 5:26-27)

God’s Word teaches that the Believer will be judged,"For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God…each of us shall give account of himself to God" (Romans 14:10-12).

1 Corinthians 3:8-15 and 4:5 indicate both the criterion and the potential results of the Believer’s judgment. In verse 10 Paul says he laid a foundation. In verse 11, he states what the Foundation is …Christ.

In v. 10 he says, "Let each man be careful how he builds." He’s referring to our method of building and the "materials" we use. Then he says it’s possible to build one of two ways:

  1. gold, silver, precious stones (survives the fire)
  2. wood, hay, stubble (consumed by the fire)

That’s a pass/fail judgment. Verse 13 says (lit.)"fire will test of what sort of each man’s work is." If the work stands the fire, the man receives a reward (14) if it burns up, he experiences the loss of his potential reward, but he himself will be saved (15).

Folks, that is not a public, verbal flogging, but a revelation of the worker’s method and materials. I repeat, it’s a pass/fail judgment. Was it Christ’s work or was it fleshly striving? Independence or dependence? Unrighteous or righteous? to use God’s words….

Though I can’t lose my salvation, I can accelerate my growth process by faith and obedience. It can be retarded to the degree that when I eject from my dead earthsuit and stand for judgment, the only thing which will withstand the fire is my salvation itself (1 Corinthians 3:15).

Salvation is a work of God, not the flesh. That’s why it will not be consumed at the Judgment. Only a work of God will pass through the fire unscathed. Only works done by cooperating with Christ to allow His Spirit to express life through you will receive a passing grade on the Day of Judgment.

Hey, no condemnation awaits any Believer on Judgment Day (Romans 8:1)! There will be no withering fire leaping from Jesus’ eyes as you face Him at the judgment. There may be tears in His eyes because there certainly does await a potential loss of reward which you could have earned by allowing Him to do His work in and through you (1 Corinthians 3:15). He longs for you to win this, but the born-again person will never hear those horrible words, "Depart from Me, ye wicked, for I never knew you…" That is an entirely different Judgment Day for the lost (Revelation. 20:12-15) , not for the saved.

About the Author

Bill founded Lifetime Guarantee Ministries to encourage people to experience the reality of Christ as life. His transparent, humorous, down-to-earth style and sense of humor made him one of the most effective teachers of his time. He communicated with great clarity the full extent of what God accomplished in Christ and what that means for the Christian identity. Although Bill passed away in June 2011, his messages are timeless and will continue to impact generations to come.