Q. I recently heard the following comment. “Additionally, for believers who have committed and not repented of sin, the judgment seat of Christ will not be the ‘pie in the sky, by and by.’ We are accountable for every sin we commit.” Is this accurate? While I try to avoid sin in my life, I thought that every sin we have committed or ever will commit is covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. Is there an accountability for unconfessed sin I am not aware of?
A. Obviously, these positions cannot both be accurate. Our sins are either forgiven or they’re not. Colossians 2:13-14 tells us when Jesus went to the cross he took all our sins and forgave them there. Hebrews 10:14 says by that one sacrifice He made us perfect forever. If we’re in Christ we’re a new creation in God’s sight (2 cor. 5:17). In Romans 7:18-20 Paul said God no longer holds us accountable for our sins (having forgiven them all) but attributes them to the sin nature that lives in us. This is why there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). This is what God’s word says.
The statement that we’ll be held accountable for every sin we commit is only a man’s opinion. It’s probably based on an incorrect interpretation of 2 Cor. 5:10. Otherwise Paul would have been contradicting what he said in 1 Cor. 3:10-15.
At the judgment seat of Christ our sins won’t be discussed. Instead, the Lord will judge whether our good works were done at His prompting and in His strength, as John 15:5 requires, or if they were motivated by our own self interest and done in our own strength. This will determine their worthiness for reward, which is the purpose of the Lord’s judgment (1 Cor. 4:5).
Putting 1 Cor. 3:10-15, 2 Cor. 5:10 and John 15:5 together we can see that works described as gold, silver and precious gems are those done in the Lord’s will and strength and are considered good. Works compared to wood, hay, and stubble are those done in our own will and strength and are considered bad. Jesus said apart from Him we can do nothing of value to the Kingdom.