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God is with you, Part 6

1 Peter 1v17a

We are all accountable

7th April 2017

Writing to Christians, Peter says:

1 Peter 1:17
Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.

Are we truly aware that God the Father "judges each man’s work impartially"?

We're Christians, and all our sins are forgiven, and we can get the impression that God doesn't judge our works impartially, that as Christians, we get favourable treatment. Well, we do and we don't.

If you're a Christian, all your sin has been forgiven, you will not be judged. You have already inherited eternal life. On the Day of Judgement you will be counted among the sheep, and not among the goats. You will not be judged, but your work will. Everything we say and do will be judged - impartially - because God is judge of all the earth, and a righteous judge will always judge impartially.

It's unthinkable to me that if I'm unkind to another person, that's somehow less serious because I'm a Christian. If anything, surely it's more serious. I'm supposed to be one of God's holy people. I'm supposed to know better. I'm supposed to be enlightened by the Holy Spirit. If a Christian goes round behaving badly, being judgemental, or unkind or prejudiced, or committing any other sin, then surely that's at least as serious as anybody else doing it. It seems worse to me, but the Bible says God judges it impartially. The same sin has the same tariff, the same seriousness.

I've heard some Christians say "It doesn't matter if I sin of not; I'll be forgiven". You have to wonder if the people who say things like this are really Christians, because a Christian is somebody who has repented, who knows it does matter if we sin.

God will judge our works - good deeds and bad deeds - impartially:

Deuteronomy 10:17
For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality…

Romans 2:11
For God does not show favouritism.

Ephesians 6:9
And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favouritism with him.

This last one is talking about slaves and masters. You can take that to mean "God doesn't love masters more than He loves slaves", which is true. But it's talking about God as our judge. God as judge must show impartially or He'd be a bad judge. But God is the perfect judge. There is no favouritism with him. When I get something right, I get just as many Brownie points with God as anybody else. And when I get something wrong, God is just as displeased with me as with anybody else.

And yet some Christians will ignore their own sin, saying "that's all forgiven. Atonement has been made". But it's still sin, and God still hates it.

You will not be judged. You will be with Jesus for ever in glory. But everything you say and do will be judged by God. Consider:

1 Corinthians 3:10b-15
Each one should be careful how he builds. For no-one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

Surely this passage shows us that your works and mine will be judged on the Day of Judgement.

I've heard it said that it's as if God makes a video tape of everybody's lives, but on the Day of Judgement a Christian's sins are blanked out of the tape. No, they're not. On the Day of Judgement, our work will be shown for what it is. Your good deeds and mine, and your sins and mine, will be shown for everybody to see. We will escape, we will be saved, but the gold and the silver and the precious stones will remain, while the hay and the straw will be burnt up.

So you get eternal life with Jesus, the forgiveness of sins, the adoption as God's children, and the Holy Spirit. You get all this as a totally free gift, through repentance and faith. But treasure in heaven, you have to earn.

You don't hear this very often, do you?

Someone I know got really upset when I explained this. He thought everybody's life in heaven would be exactly the same as everybody else's. I had to point out to him that God is not a communist. All who believe get the forgiveness of sins, eternal life, seeing Jesus face to face and so on. But, in addition to what we all get, you get also what you've earned. God will weigh in the scales your wrong doings and your right doings, and you will get what you've earned.

How we live on earth determines what treasure we get in heaven. Some of us will be living in shacks, and some will be living in palaces. Some of us will escape as if through fire, and some of us will have sacks of gold.