Q. You’re fond of saying that we’re saved because of what we believe, not because of how we behave. So then, is it my understanding that when we are judged for the things “good or bad” as it says, it’s more of a review of self conduct, obedience, learning to resist temptation, these kinds of things? Is it more like what “rewards” we will be given so to speak? Since we are sealed based on our belief only, then what we choose to do with our lives is what merits rewards but isn’t necessarily “required” of us?
A. When Paul said we’ll all have to appear before the judgment seat of Christ to receive what’s due us for the things we’ve done, whether good or bad (2 Cor. 5:10), he was talking about the Bema Seat judgment, the only judgment believers will face. It happens after the rapture so our salvation is not an issue. In that context “good” is likened to gold, silver, and precious gems, and will stand the test of fire. “Bad” is called wood hay or stubble, and will be burned up. This is explained in 1 Cor. 3:10-15 which confirms that all believers will survive this judgment with their salvation intact.
In John 15:1-6 Jesus explained that our good works are those done in His strength and at His bidding, They bear much fruit. The bad ones are those we undertake in our own strength. Regardless of the outcome they’re of no value to the Lord at all, and are like the branches the gardener prunes and burns in the fire.