Judgment of works was in the 1st century.
Today there is only grace.
If we read the Bible honestly, we will find that all of the judgment passages are about works.
Rev 20 “12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had DONE as recorded in the books….15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.”
2 Corinthians 5 “10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things DONE while in the body, whether good or bad.”
John 5 “28 “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out—those who have DONE what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.”
Matthew 25 “35 For I was hungry and you GAVE me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you INVITED me in, 36 I needed clothes and you CLOTHED me, I was sick and you LOOKED after me, I was in prison and you came to VISIT me.’…..40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you DID for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
Jesus promised this judgment of works in the lifetime of the Apostles, according to works (carrying the cross)
Matthew 16 “4 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. 28 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.””
Rev 22 “12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have DONE.”
Rev 3 “2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your DEEDS unfinished in the sight of my God.”
Of course, salvation was not by works in the Bible.
It is by grace. Nobody could be saved by their works of the law.
They are saved by Grace through faith in Jesus.
BUT…those people in the Bible were expected to fulfill the law.
Why was that?
It is because they did not just throw away the law.
They had to follow Jesus in fulfilling the law.
Jesus fulfilled the law (Matthew 5) and commanded them to follow Him, carrying the cross, enduring persecution, loving one another, selling everything to the poor.
It is because the law still existed.
What standard were they judged against?
It was the law!
They received the Holy Spirit SO THAT they fulfilled the righteous requirement of the law.
Hebrews 10 “I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.””
Romans 8 “4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
To live according to the flesh was to break the law.
To live according to the Spirit was to fulfill the law.
Nobody could keep the law apart from the Holy Spirit’s power by faith in Jesus.
They had received the full power of Christ so that they could walk just like Jesus in radical love, holiness, and doing miracles.
2 Peter 1 “3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
Mark 16 “17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.””
This is not like the faith we see today. Not at all…
The Biblical faith of the 1st Century was radical where they followed Jesus whole-heartedly and walked just like Jesus.
The entire summation of the law was to love one another as Jesus had loved them!
John 13 “34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.””
Both Paul and James preached the SAME commandments of fulfilling the law, and if they rebelled/SINNED then they were judged according to the same law!
James 2 “8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.”
James 5 “9 Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!”
See Paul speaking the same language here.
Roman 13 “8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
Romans 8 “12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an OBLIGATION—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”
Paul gave the same warning as James did, that his race would be in vain if they sinned and were judged (lost salvation).
Philippians 2 “12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always OBEYED—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to WORK OUT your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. 14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in VAIN.”
Why do you think they had to work out their salvation with FEAR and TREMBLING ? It was because God was going to judge their works whether they fulfilled the LAW, just as the entire Bible clearly said to THEM (not us).
Peter warned Paul’s audience to not sin otherwise they would FALL AWAY and lose salvation.
2 Peter 3 “15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. 17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”
The Law ended in AD70 when Jerusalem was destroyed and Israel was judged according to works.
Hebrews 8:13 “By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.”
The judgment of works happened for the last generation under the law. This was the audience of the New Testament – that last generation of the law – they were judged according to works.
Jesus said that the people would be judged by how they treated the LEAST of the brethren – whether they visited the poor, helped the sick, those in prison.
Paul himself said that the APOSTLES were the LEAST of humanity.
1 Corinthians 4 “9 For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the END of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. 10 We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! 11 To this very hour we go HUNGRY and thirsty, we are in RAGS, we are brutally treated, we are HOMELESS. “
2 Corinthians 11 ” Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.”
The judgment was based on how people treated the Apostles in that LAST Generation of the law.
Their faith REQUIRED the works to fulfill the law.
If they broke the law then they were judged.
That judgment ended in the 1st century when the law ended.
Today there is NO LAW.
The Law does not exist today.
There are no Apostles.
There are no “least” of the brethren.
Therefore there is NO JUDGMENT for works.
Today, the only judgment is based on faith in Jesus.
This faith does not need works.
It is because there is no law anymore.
Jesus removed the law and judged the ancient world (Israel and the 12 tribes) based on works in the 1st Century.
That was the end of the Bible.
That is why there are no scriptures written to anyone after the Apostles died in the 1st Century.
Jesus’ last message was about works to the 7 churches of Revelation in the 1st Century that don’t exist today.
There is no more written message after that because the Law ended and there are no more commandments of works.
Today the world is under 100% grace.
There are no laws or commandments to anybody today.
My experience of Jesus in my life has been purely grace, and not any works. There is no judgment of works anymore.
Jesus has taught me 100% grace without works in my journey of life, and not the Bible (that was not written to us anyway).
We are Righteous by faith in Jesus, not by works.
God Himself gives us faith, chooses us by grace.
It is all done by Jesus.
There are no works to be judged.
Today it’s GRACE alone..faith alone..Jesus alone.