Q. Re: “Cheap Grace” A question arose regarding giving an account for ourselves. It’s mentioned more than once in Scripture (Jesus and Paul making such statements – sorry don’t have the verses to back them up this time), and has caused a few discussions I’ve had with others. Will you please help us on this issue, as we know our sins were paid for by Jesus’ sacrifice for us on Calvary?
A. Here are two places I think you might be referring to.
The first is Matt. 12:37-37, spoken by Jesus.
But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Verse 36 tells us every word we speak will have to be accounted for. But verse 37 says believers will be acquitted by the words we spoke to Jesus asking Him to forgive our sins and be our savior. Unbelievers will remain accountable for their words and will be condemned.
The other is 2 Cor. 5:10, spoken by Paul.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
The judgment (bema) seat of Christ takes place in heaven after the rapture. It’s explained in more detail in 1 Cor. 3:10-15. It’s where we will receive rewards for things we did as believers while on earth. Things called “good” here are compared to gold, silver and precious gems in 1 Cor. 3 signifying their great value to the Lord. Things called “bad” are compared to wood, hay, and straw. They have no value to the Lord and will be burned up in the fire.
Things that have great value to the Lord are those we do at His direction and in His strength. Things that have no value are those we do on our own initiative and in our own strength. Jesus said if we remain in Him we will bear much fruit but apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5).
But this does not concern our salvation. 1 Cor. 3:15 makes it clear that even if all our works are burned up in the fire we will still be saved.