We may read these passages and think that God will judge the works of believers:
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.”
But what is the good that we do in the body?
Paul says later in the chapter:
2 Corinthians 5 “19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Jesus reconciled the world by becoming sin on the cross.
The “good work” is to be reconciled to God by believing in Jesus to receive God’s Righteousness.
What about this passage?
Revelation 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…..The lake of fire is the second death. 15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.”
What is the criteria for salvation here?
It is whether the person’s name is in the book of life.
The way for a person to enter the book of life is faith in Jesus.
John 6 “47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life.”
So then the “works” is about FAITH in Jesus.
We see the same thing in these passages:
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. “
What is the good that they have DONE to be saved?
Jesus says it in the same chapter: It is to BELIEVE.
John 5 24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and BELIEVES him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.”
John 6 “28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the WORKS God requires?” 29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to BELIEVE in the one he has sent.””
You see that the only thing that matters is FAITH in Jesus.
God ONLY judges unbelievers because they don’t believe.
John 16 “8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me;”
But believers are saved by faith alone and not works.
John 3 “16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever BELIEVES in him shall not perish but have eternal life….36 Whoever BELIEVES in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.”
God cannot judge believers for works because Jesus already died for our sins on the cross and rose from the dead to make us righteous and sinless!
We are righteous by faith in Jesus and not our works.
God will never judge believers for their works because the ONLY standard of works is the law.
The believer is not under law but under GRACE where works cannot be judged.
Romans 11 ” 6 And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”
Romans 4 “4 Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. 5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their FAITH is credited as righteousness. ….. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”
Work have nothing to do with salvation – either before we believed or after we believed. We did not do works to be saved and therefore our works after salvation also have no eternal rewards.
Therefore God will never judge the works of believers.
The believer is not judged at all because we are already Righteous and have Eternal Life!
We are not dead in sin(works) but ALIVE in Christ forgiven ALL sins.
Colossians 2 “9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness…..through YOUR FAITH…..13 When you were dead in your sins….., God made you alive with Christ. He FORGAVE us ALL our sins,””
God made us Righteous and Perfect because of our faith in Jesus through His FINISHED work of His Death and Resurrection!
As Jesus is, so are we in this world.
Jesus is not judged by God, and therefore believers are also not judged by God because we are in Christ alone!