Question: I am confused and I was hoping you could please clarify. The Bible states that when one truly repents to the Lord and asks for forgiveness, your sins are then “cast into the sea of forgetfulness.” How is it then that we will all be judged by Jesus for our sins if the sins are cast into the sea of forgetfulness?
Answer: “Come now and let us reason together, says the LORD, though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18) “For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:11-12)
It is true that God forgives our sin when we are saved, but we do confess our sins when we sin after that: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) However, it is like a child confessing to a father, it is a matter of fellowship; the child is not kicked out of the family. As born again Christians we are not judged at the Great White Throne judgment. This is for the unsaved and there they are judged for every sin they have ever committed, so they can pay for their sins in hell, in degrees of punishment. (You might want to check out our article on Hell.)
“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.” (Revelation 20: 11-12) You notice in these verses it says “another book was opened, which is the Book of Life.” That is where our names are found as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. The others their names have been blotted out of this book for not receiving the truth of the word of God.
There is, however, for us as Christians a time, I believe, when we first get to heaven, where Christ reviews our lives and rewards us for what we did for the right motive. Remember that He will reward us for even giving a cup of cold water in His name. This judgment, though, has nothing to do with sin because this has been forgiven and forgotten. I have covered this in our commentary on Romans and 1 Corinthians.
Here is an exerpt from our study of Romans:
“But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” (Romans 14:10)
(10) Listen, you don’t have to judge your fellow Christians’ lives, God will do this at the Judgment Seat of Christ. At that judgment we will not be judged to see if we are saved, but for rewards we will receive for our life of service after salvation. In 2 Corinthians 5:10 we see this same thing: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” God has given us talents and gifts to use for Him in this life, so we are very accountable to Him.
This is from our study of 1 Corinthians:
“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)
(11) In this verse Paul makes it very clear who the foundation is, and that is Jesus Christ!
(12) At the Judgment Seat of Christ we as believers will be judged, this is not to find out whether we are saved or not, no this is for rewards. Look up these references for further information. (2 Corinthians 5:9-11; Rom. 2:16; 14:10, 12; Ephesians 6:8.)
(13, 14) Our motives for doing things will be evaluated, if we did something for selfish pride it will be burned up, and we will not receive a reward for it. But if we did things for the right motive because of a love of Christ, and the people, then we will be rewarded for this. (Look up these references also, Matthew 5:12; 6:1-2; 10:41-42; 1 Corinthians 13, Hebrews 11:26, etc
By the way, the phrase “sea of forgetfulness” is not actually found in the Bible, but the concept is. The idea comes from Micah 7:19 which says, “He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”
I hope this helps,
Gary T. Panell
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