Justified At The Judgment

The following is from my book, Heaven:Where Few are Many!

(No. 1)
Heaven is a glorious place and those in Christ are to look forward to being there. In fact, we are to be “looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along” (2 Pet. 3:12, NLT). However, I have heard some Christians say things like: “I am afraid I might not make it.” But, as we have said, the promise Jesus made, the prayer Jesus prayed, and the price Jesus paid, should help His people be unafraid.
The thing that some believers seem to fear most is the Judgment Day. They have the idea that Jesus is going to “chew them out” for the things that they have done or not done. But if you get “chewed out” you will also be “cast out.” In other words, if you have any sin marked against you on Judgment Day, then you will not go to Heaven. Jesus said, “If you die in your sin,” then “where I go you cannot come” (John 8:21). Notice that He did not say that you “may not” or “might not” or “probably will not,” but He said you “cannot” come.
But someone says, “Then we are hopeless and helpless.” After all, the Bible teaches that “there is not a just man upon the earth who does good and sins not” (Eccles. 7:20). If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8). Christians do sin and fall short of what God expects. Paul said, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Note carefully that he did not say “y’all” have sinned, but he said “all” have sinned. Believe it or not, “all” includes all of us, both saints and sinners—and even Paul, the apostle. James put it this way when writing to Christians: “For we all stumble in many ways” (James 3:2). Note that it is “all” (not many, most, some, or few, but all) who stumble in “many” (not some or few, but many) ways.
Thus someone asks: “How then are we going to get to Heaven?” The answer is by being “in Christ.” When we are in Christ we are a “new creation” and God does not look at us in the same way as before (2 Cor. 5:17). God looks at us in a whole new and different way. Now that we are in Christ, the “old things” (counting our sins against us, considering us guilty, alienated, and enemies) have “passed away” and now “all things have become new.” Now God looks at us as He looks at Christ Himself. Why? It is because we have been “baptized into Christ” and, therefore, have “put on Christ” (Gal. 3:26-27). Since we are in Christ, God does not count our sins against us. Read it for yourself: “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18-19, NIV).

We who are in Christ are continually cleansed from our sins by His blood (1 John 1:7). Our “transgressions are forgiven” and our “sins are covered” (Rom. 4:7). It is a constant and continual cleansing. Paul wrote: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1). If there is no condemnation “now” then there will be no condemnation “then.”
The thing we must realize is that we who are in Christ will not come into judgment for our sins whether past, present, or future. Christ has already suffered the penalty for our sins, and we will not be judged for them. Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life” (John 5:24). Observe that the believer “shall not come into judgment.” We will be at the Judgment, but not to be judged (condemned) for our sins, because we have no sin (or sins) for which to be judged. We will be at the Judgment primarily for our welcome and our rewards.

Jesus has already suffered the penalty for our sins and they have been remitted, blotted out, and will never be held against us at any time (Heb. 10:17). They do not count. I am not saying that our sins do not matter because we should all seek to live sinless lives (1 John 2:1). But I am saying that they do not count against us when we fail and fall short of what God expects of us, which we all do on a daily basis.
Many Christians fear the Judgment because they have the mistaken idea that one must do “the very best they can” in order to be saved. I know I have made the statement—more than once—that “I am doing the very best I can.” But the truth is I do not do the best I can, much less the very best I can. I could give more, study more, serve more, visit more, teach more, pray more, help others more, eat better, exercise more, quit saying I am doing the best I can, and on and on the list could go. In fact, I know some of the best people on this planet who love Jesus and are seeking to do His will for their lives, but I do not know, nor have I ever met, anyone who does the best they can.
We must keep in mind that if we are saved at all, we will be saved by being in a relationship with Christ and not because we keep all of the rules, regulations, and requirements found in the Bible. Of course, being in Christ will cause us to want to do His will and seek to please Him, but we will never, ever do all the things He has told us to do “good enough” to be saved by doing those things. In fact, we do not even come close. Therefore the thing to remember and focus on is the fact that it is faith in Jesus that will get us to Heaven. Romans 5:1 reads: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Justified basically means just-as-if-I’d never sinned. I am aware that some theologians and Bible teachers have ridiculed this simple explanation, saying that it is thoroughly inadequate to define what justification is. Yet, it seems to me that by the time they are finished explaining it as they understand it, it comes out to be exactly this: when God justifies us, He treats us just as if we had never sinned. There is no way around it. That is exactly the state of those in Christ now, and that is exactly how we will be at the Judgment. Since we are going to be justified at the Judgment, then that should call for jubilation, and it is all because of Jesus!

Wayne Dunaway

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