Question: When we get to heaven and have to give an account, what does that mean? What are we accountable for?
Answer: When we get to heaven, yes, we have to give an account of our lives. We see this in several passages: “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.” (1 Corinthans 3:11-13)
“‘What sort. ‘The purifying fires of Christ’s judgment seat [“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. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.” (2 Corinthians 5:10, 11)] will try our works of what sort they are, not how numerous or how great they are. Quality and motivation count more with the Lord than quantity and reputation.” (Dr. Henry M. Morris The New Defender’s Study Bible)
“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 3:14)
“All are saved who have made Christ the foundation of their lives, and they will be saved even though their works are burned up at the judgment seat. This judgment, therefore, is of believers only, and will determine only rewards or loss of rewards. ‘Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.’ (1 Corinthians 4:5)
“In light of the certainty of our eventual meeting with Christ at the judgment seat, it is vital to live in daily obedience to the guidance of the indwelling Holy Spirit. We must be especially respectful of our bodies and what we do with them, for He has made them individual temples to house His glory.” (Dr. Henry M. Morris The New Defender’s Study Bible)
Chuck Smith comments on these verses and says, “Jesus Christ is our foundation and everything we do in this life builds on that foundation. We can build with gold, silver, and precious stones, or with wood, hay, and straw. In other words, we can use permanent materials or disposable materials, as we build our lives.
“But when this life is over and we face the Lord, what we have done for eternity will last and give us rewards. What we have done that was temporal and earthly will be gone, and we will lose the rewards we could have received, had we lived our lives with eternity in mind. Are you doing things today that will matter for eternity? If not, then you are wasting valuable time.” (Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel)
“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. For it is written:
“As I live, says the Lord,
Every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall confess to God.”
So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.” (Romans 14:10-12)
The judgment seat of Christ is to look at our motives for doing things. If we did things for the wrong motive, out of pride, lust, etc. we will not receive a reward for these things. But even giving a cup of cold water in Jesus name will be rewarded. “And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:42)
“Believers will be judged, not for salvation but for rewards. There is only one thing that is absolutely sure to happen to every person—each one will have to face God some day. Not even ‘death and taxes’ are certain for everyone, but meeting God is (Amos 4:12; Hebrews 9:27). Believers will meet Christ at His judgment seat to receive rewards or loss of reward (1 Cor. 3:13-15; 2 Cor. 5:10), while unbelievers will meet God at His great white throne for consignment to the lake of fire (Revelation 20:12-15).” (The New Defender’s Study Bible)
After we are saved we are to live a life of good works, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.” (Matthew 16:27)
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8, 9)
So we are not saved by our good works, but once we are saved we are to follow Christ’s example and do good works. We will be rewarded for everything we did with a right motive.
I hope this helps,
Gary T. Panell
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