Depending on the church you attend or have read, you may not be aware that the Bible speaks of a second judgment for Christians.
It’s called the judgment seat of Christ, where every believer gives an account of deeds and words spoken (2 Cor 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” (NIV) (emphasis added).
This is different than the first judgment, which provides condemnation for Satan, demons, and unbelievers (John 5:24, Rev 20:1-15).
God forgives and forgets all of our sins before salvation. After that, there is a log kept. These things matter in our eternal destiny, and we can prepare adequately and not be afraid of that encounter before Jesus.
Why is it essential for us, as counselors and deliverance ministers, to address this?
During our fifth session teaching on how to walk out deliverance, we cover Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV):
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life (emphasis added), and only a few find it.”
The fundamental key to staying on the narrow road is to obey God and His commandments. Not so that He will love us more but because that’s where protection and provision reside. Veering off the narrow road puts us in a position where we become more vulnerable to the demonic realm. The broad path leads to destruction and death, up to and including an eternal spiritual demise.
God’s grace, His empowering presence, gives us what we need to obey. If we go astray, it’s His mercy and doggedness that will keep trying to steer us back to the right road so we can receive forgiveness, restoration and move ahead on our journey to the best-expected end in heaven.
Salvation is an event, but it is vital to persevere to the end of our journey. Matthew 10-13 warns us about pushing through in the end times:
“At that time, many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (NIV)
Perseverance and pushing through doubt, tough times, trials, and tribulations are critical requirements for taking hold of all that God has for us, including eternal life.
Obedience Helps Keeps the Doors Closed
Some clients mistakenly believe that after deliverance, all of their temptations and struggles in an area will disappear. We have to recalibrate them; the torment should be gone because the offenders (demons) are now outside of them rather than inside. However, when they return to the house (Matt 12:43-45), they are still able to put thoughts in their minds, so the battlefield remains active. Also, there are old habits that need to be displaced by new, godly ones. That transformation usually involves a process of small victories rather than an instantaneous change.
Persevering, making the right choices, winning mind battles, and obedience to God’s word are vital components of walking out deliverance effectively.
There is a debate in the Body of Christ about what happens at Christ’s judgment seat:
- Grace-only teachers and Once-saved, always-saved proponents (OSAS) exclude or minimize this teaching. They contend that crowns and rewards only are handed out and we do know that not everyone sits on the fifty-yard line in heaven.
- Some teach that individuals who professed Christ in the past will be shocked that their name is not in the Book of Life, because of their disobedience. They believe that while believers cannot be snatched out of the Father’s hand, they can choose to walk away from their saving faith. We’re in that camp.
This second judgment is genuine, clearly spelled out in Scripture, and every Christian best prepare for it.
We can approach it with confidence and not fear if we know how to get ready.
Works matter. If we love Jesus and have a proper understanding of His love for us, we will want to obey out of gratitude and worship.
James 2:14-26 makes it clear also that if we have faith in Christ’s finished work, there will be works (obedience) evident in our lives. Many, at the Judgement seat of Christ, will say that they called him Lord and did works in his name, but they will be told to depart because He never knew them (Matt 7:21-23).
Sobering and chilling? What’s a person to do?
- If you don’t have it already, seek greater revelation about and pray for an encounter with God’s amazing love for you. Without that, you are more prone to pursuing God with a works-based rather than relationship-based focus. We want to know and be known by, God and He wants that to happen also. That’s going to include being an active member of a bible believing, Word-preaching church.
- Determine to gain revelation about your true identity- child of God and friend of Jesus, among others.
- Decide to obey God’s commands and not continue in deliberate, habitual sin. To profess Jesus and continue willfully in sin is to deny Him. Confessing and repenting of sin restore us to Him.
- If you want to turn away from habitual sin but are unable, you may need deliverance from demonic strongholds. Seek it out.
IF you are reading this and are suddenly apprehensive of what your time before the Throne might look like, join the party! It’s not a bad issue to address this side of eternity.
Holy Fear is Good
Those scriptures are there to have a holy fear of the Lord so we can repent and turn away from selfish and sinful lifestyles after salvation. I’m not espousing a particular theology here, instead to focus on what the Bible says unequivocally. Salvation is a gift, by grace, through faith alone. It is not by works, so no man can boast. But, actions matter, especially for those who are more mature and even more so for teachers.
Some counselees are concerned that they have committed the unpardonable sin mentioned in Mark 3: 28-30 and Matt 12:31-32:
“ Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.”
My response is simple: If you are here, repentant and seeking help, you’ve not committed that sin! God’s mercy and grace abound so that we will respond to Him, turn away from willful disobedience and reclaim our rightful place seated at the right hand of the Father with Christ.
Let’s press ahead on our journey, fear-free, with the right understanding and choosing to walk in the obedience of what He has called us to do.