Q. I was surfing the net, when I came upon a site where someone wrote with concerns about our sins not really being forgiven. The respondent quoted II Cor. 5:10, saying we’ll have to give an accounting of what we’ve done on earth, whether good or bad. I thought God has forgiven all our sins. What gives?
A. The accounting that Paul wrote about in 2 Cor. 5:10 will take place at the Bema Seat judgment where our crowns and other rewards will be handed out. Since all of our sins were nailed to the cross and forgiven (Colossians 2:13-14) this is the only judgment the Church will receive.
Comparing this verse with 1 Cor. 3:10-15 (which also describes the Bema Seat judgment) shows that the good things spoken of in 2 Cor 5:10 are those that are called gold, silver, and precious gems in 1 Cor. 3:12, and the bad things are those called wood, hay, and stubble in the same verse. The good things will survive and the bad things will be burned up. But regardless of the outcome everyone will still be saved (1 Cor. 3:15).
From John 15:5-6 I believe the works that are good and have great value are those we do at the Lord’s prompting and in His strength, as we remain in Him. The works that are bad and are burned up are those we do on our own initiative and in our own strength. When Jesus said apart from Him we can do nothing, I believe He was saying the works we do on our own have no value in the Kingdom.