One day we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ and give accounts for our lives (2 Cor. 5:10). On this day, not only our actions – made in public or in private – will be known, but also the very motives of our hearts. What is not “gold”, “silver”, or “precious stones”, but “wood”, “hay”, and “straw” – i.e. everything that is not built on the finished work of Jesus – will be burned (1 Cor. 3:11-13).
There is a great seriousness in this day, but also a wonderful hope for us who have received Jesus. The Bible teaches that we who believe in Jesus, who have received His righteousness, which is a free gift, can be bold before God on the day of judgment. Not only will be barely survive the day of judgment it – we can be bold in it!
16And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. 17Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. (1 Jn. 4:16-18)
Not only people in general, but also many Christians, are afraid of the day of judgment. What could this be an indication of? According to the Apostle John, that we haven’t understood how much God loves us. When love has reached its goal in us, we are not afraid, but bold, on the day of judgment!
Why? Because as Jesus is – so are we in this world! As holy, righteous, and pure as Jesus is – that is how holy, righteous and pure we are – not sometime in the future when we come to heaven, but here, today, in this world!
How can we, human beings with failures and shortcomings, be as holy, righteous and pure as Jesus Himself? Not because of anything we have accomplished, but only because we have received Jesus’ own righteousness. This is the good news of the Gospel! Believe in Jesus and you receive His righteousness!
In many countries in the world there is a legal principle called “double jeopardy”, which means that we cannot be convicted or punished for the same crime more than once. The Gospel is that the consequences of the sins of the world, once and for all, was placed upon Jesus at the cross. We who believe that Jesus is risen from the dead go free on the day of judgment, because the punishment for the sins of all humanity has already been executed on mount Golgotha.
When we fear the day of judgment, we do so because we believe that we will be punished by God. As long as we are afraid of the day of judgment, we have not been made perfect in God’s love and the knowledge that Jesus has taken the punishment for our sins in our place, and that we have been made the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21).
As we truly understand the depth of God’s love and Christ’s redemption, we become bold and secure in the fact that we are righteous before God because of Jesus. This boldness is not only meant for us to enjoy in this life, but also on the very day of judgment. Because as Jesus is – so are we today, in this world!