Question of the Week: Will Christians Be Judged At The Great White Throne Judgment?
The short answer is yes. In order to properly contextualize this conclusion there are a few things that need to be properly understood. Judgment, in biblical terms, isn’t always referring to condemnation and punishment. The word means “to come to conclusions.” Likewise, the Judge present at the Judgment should be established to understand who will judge those who have received mercy and those who have rejected it. And finally, with both of these facts in place, a careful reading of the passage mentioning the Great White Throne Judgment will hopefully allow all of this biblical material to fall properly in place.
Who Will Judge Non-Believers?
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.
John 5:24-30 (NKJV)
In this passage, Jesus is speaking to an audience hostile towards Him following a direct claim that He was equal with God. In order to further emphasize His point, He claims for Himself a right that only belongs to the God of Israel. The audience He was speaking to rightly understood that God alone would judge the earth according to Genesis 18:25 and Isaiah 33:22. For Jesus to claim this right for Himself would be to claim to be that God in the same way the One He referred to as His Father was. By the voice of Jesus, the dead will be raised. Something God alone has the power to do. By the authority given to Jesus by the Father, He will judge all nations. And through the judgment given by Jesus, there will be a resurrection for both the good and evil. With this truth statement made by Jesus and confirmed through His own resurrection, any claim of God judging would have to rightly refer to God the Son given this information.
Who Will Judge Believers?
Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 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 5:9-11 (NKJV)
Paul the Apostle identifies Jesus as the one who our lives ought to be pleasing towards due to the fact that our good and bad deeds are not only known to God, but will be judged by Him. Due to the fact that the audience is clarified to be those who are believers, (we are well known to God, rather than I), they are the ones in mind who will stand before this judgment seat. In further confirmation of Jesus’ point, Paul the Apostle also identifies Christ as the one who who judge those who belong to Him.
What Is The Great White Throne Judgment?
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. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
Revelation 20:11-15 (NKJV)
The book of Revelation is the last book of the Bible for a reason. If something isn’t explained, it is stated under the assumption that it already has been explained. Someone is sitting on this great white throne and is later identified as God. The dead, small and great, are standing before Him. And judgment takes place according to their works. Ultimate separation from God, the lake of fire, is determined by whether or not your name is written in the Book of Life. Given what we are told in John, the Father isn’t the one sitting on this throne due to the fact that Jesus Himself clarified that all judgment (including the final judgment) has been committed to the Son. Paul’s point further emphasizes the detail that Christians will also stand before Christ to literally receive rewards for what they have done. Given the complete witness of scripture, Jesus is the one judging everyone, including believers at the Great White Throne Judgment.
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