Q. I was reading an answer you gave to the question: Am I forgiven enough? Your reply was that all our sins were forgiven the moment we were born again. This raises another question that’s been bothering me. If, like you say that all our sins were forgiven the moment we were born again, then, why do I see so much written about the judgment day? I’ve been told we will be brought before our Lord and be held accountable for everything we did, or didn’t do, said or didn’t say: Punishment Day?
A. There are three days mentioned in the Bible that can be considered judgment days. 1 Cor. 3:10-15 describes the judgment of the Church, known as the Bema Seat judgment. Most scholars believe it takes place in Heaven right after the Rapture. Everyone there will be saved, so it’s only for the purpose of handing out rewards. This is the only judgment the Church will face. 2 Cor. 5:10 speaks of this same day, calling it the judgment seat of Christ. There, “good” equates to the gold, silver, and precious gems of 1 Cor. 3:10-15, and “bad” refers to the wood, hay, and stubble of that passage.
In Matt. 24:45 thru Matt. 25:46 Jesus spoke of judgments that will take place on Earth after He returns. These judgments involve believers and unbelievers who will have survived the Great Tribulation. Those who are found to be believers will be welcomed into the kingdom to help re-populate the Earth while unbelievers will be sent to the place of eternal punishment. None of this involves the Church because we’ll be in Heaven with the Lord by then.
Rev. 20:11-15 describes the Great White Throne judgment at the end of the Millennium. It’s for the unsaved dead from all ages and will result in their transfer from their temporary confinement in Hell to the Lake of Fire.
It’s important to remember that the Church can’t be punished for our sins because Jesus was already punished in our place (Colossians 2:13-14). Belief in Him “saves” us from any punishment that would otherwise be due us for our sins.