If Jesus has forgiven all our sins, then why do we have to stand before God and be judged when we die? What is left for God to judge, if all our sins have been taken away? — A.B.
One of the Bible’s greatest truths is that when we turn to Jesus Christ in repentance and faith, God forgives our sins and gives us the gift of eternal life. We no longer need to fear death or Hell or judgment, because Christ endured them for us. As the Bible says, “He forgave us all our sins” (Colossians 2:13).
At the same time, the Bible tells us that some day each of us will stand before God. If we have denied Him and refused to follow Him, we will be judged for our unbelief. God will say, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). These are sobering words, and they should make every one of us stop and be sure of our commitment to Christ.
If we know Christ, however, our salvation is already assured. We’ll still stand before God — but not to be judged for our salvation. Instead, we will stand before God to be rewarded for our good deeds. The Bible says, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). These too are sobering words, reminding us that we are accountable to God for the way we live as believers.
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Thank God for His love for you — a love so great that He sent His Son to die for you. Now, respond to His love by living for Him every day.
My husband passed away three years ago, and about the only thing that keeps me going is the thought that some day we’ll be reunited in heaven. Am I just deceiving myself, or is it really true that we’ll be together again? — Mrs. J.M.
No, you aren’t deceiving yourself; the Bible assures us that those who know Christ will be reunited with their loved ones in heaven. The Bible says Christ died for us “so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him” (1 Thessalonians 5:10).
Let me assure you, however, that God understands your loneliness and grief, and He wants to encourage and help you every day. And He will as you turn to Him — as I have experienced in my own life since my wife, Ruth, went to be with the Lord almost two years ago. I miss her more than I can say, and every day I yearn for her presence. When death takes someone we deeply love a hole is left in our hearts, and it isn’t easily filled. In fact, it won’t be completely filled this side of eternity.
But when we know Christ, there is hope — hope for today, and most of all hope for eternity. Heaven is far more glorious than we can ever imagine, and all the burdens and heartaches that trouble us now will vanish. Not only will we be with those who’ve gone to heaven before us, but we will be with Christ.
Make sure of your commitment to Christ; if you are unsure of your salvation, ask Him to come into your heart today. Then thank Him for the hope He gives us, and ask Him to help you keep your eyes focused on Him every day.
The Rev. Billy Graham, whose column appears in Faith & Values every Saturday, can be contacted at “My Answer,” c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201 or www.billygraham.org.