It's important to recognize that Christians, however will not be part of that final judgment of sin. That is an amazing fact not completely understood by many Christians. Praise God, the judgment of believers has already taken place! What that means is that if you are truly born again, then the judgment for your sins was made at the cross. That is a phenomenal thing to understand: Jesus became our substitute and, therefore, took all the judgment intended for our sins upon Himself (Romans 8:3; Galatians 3:13). That is the deep meaning of grace provided to us through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
Consequently, Christians need not fear eternity in the sense that our past sins will be judged. We read in Hebrews 8:12 that God forgets our sins. Thus, a forgotten sin is not later dredged up. We also read these comforting words in 1 John 2:1-2, "My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." It's a wonderful thing to truly understand God's ability to forgive and forget our sins through His amazing grace and what was done for us on the cross!
Now, that doesn't mean we are to rest easy and go about a sinful lifestyle, disregarding what God's Word commands. To truly know grace, we must understand what the Bible tells us in Titus 2:11-14, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”
WILL CHRISTIANS BE JUDGED?
The answer is "Yes, because while our sins have been paid for in full and are 'remembered no more', we will still have to provide an account of what we have done for God after becoming Christians." We are told in Romans 14:10-12, “For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat…so then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” That concept is echoed in 2 Corinthians 5:10, “For 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.”
I think we can somewhat liken the judgment of Christians to an "awards ceremony", with varying rewards based upon what was accomplished on earth. The rewards will be various crowns (2 Timothy 4:7-8), robes (Revelation 19:8), and the authority given to us as we conduct the affairs of heaven with the Lord (Luke 19:11-27). Yet we must also realize that if there is little account to give, then it will be met with heartbreaking disappointment and sadness (especially when shown the many opportunities that were presented to us and then how we ignored them due to fear; not listening to the Holy Spirit; or because we were too busy, selfish, or caught up in worldly desires).
BEING A GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT
While we should not be trying to earn our salvation because it is only by grace that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8-9), we should be working to ensure we can stand before Jesus and hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant!" (Matthew 25:21).
I believe to a great extent many Christians miss the most obvious way they can help further God's Kingdom: and that is to witness to those around them. You don't have to be an evangelist to do so. Witnessing is not a gift, it is a commandment and everyone can do so in their own way. We read in 1 Peter 3:15 these important words which help guide us with that important task, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have, but do this with gentleness and respect.”
Another important concept Jesus taught can be found in Matthew 6:19-21:
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
I think many people fail to truly understand that very important concept and, thus, do not properly help their church and other ministries that have been called to spread God's Word. The concept of "storing up treasures" is obviously related to our finances and the material possessions of this world. Jesus was clearly telling us to think about things beyond earth, which means helping those in need and supporting ministries that are doing work for God's eternal Kingdom.
Thus, the "awards ceremony" will likely represent a time of sadness for many Christians. There is no doubt about it, The Judgment Seat of Christ will be a judgment. For me personally, I know that I will have to answer for the times I failed to witness to someone, did not stand up for my faith as I should have, did not help someone in true need, or lived a "worldly" lifestyle rather than met God's expectations.
As I conclude this article, I'd like to remind everyone that it's never to late to begin and, indeed, there's still much we can do! Yet time is of the essence, as I believe that some day very soon Christians will experience the Rapture, and then earth will experience the tribulation — a time so bad that the Bible explains it has never been experienced before nor shall it ever be experienced again (Matthew 24:21). If you are a Christian, you should help share God's Word with others and if you are not, then you should evaluate where you want to spend eternity, and do so soon.
Finally, I'd like to leave you with the words of Jesus in Luke 21:36, “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man”.