Pastor's Question Blog
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Posted 17-10-18, by Pastor.
A question with a shorter answer today, but still a wonderful reminder of how great the last day will be for Christians.
At the Last Judgment, will all of our sins be on display for everyone to see?
There’s an old tactic that some pastors use to get people to think about their sin. They say, “Imagine we set up a huge projector screen in front of church and showed everyone all your thoughts words and actions.” The goal is to lead people to feel shame over their sins, and it usually works...but could that actually happen someday?
Sometimes, as Christians who are faithful to what the Bible teaches, that we are saved by grace through faith, not by our works, we can be led to think that our works don’t matter at all. That’s simply not true. In fact, there are a number of places in the Bible that talk about us being judged according to our works. (Romans 2:6-8 is a great example). So, what does that mean? Does that mean that suddenly our works matter for our entrance into Heaven? No. A person inherits heaven on the basis of their faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9) Do they have faith in Jesus as their Saviour? If so, Heaven is theirs. If not, Hell is their punishment.
So what part do the works play then? Well, they are evidence of faith. The Bible says that faith produces fruit (think Fruits of the Spirit from Galatians). The fruit then is evidence that faith is present. So, on the last day, God will see our good works as corroborating evidence for our faith.
In addition, Revelation 20:12-13 says, “I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.” The things that are written in the “books” are our works. But we Christians also have our names written in the Book of Life. Therefore, it stands to reason that God will see our works, both good and bad, but will also see that our names are written in the Book of Life. But we have to be careful because the text itself doesn’t say all that. Remember, your sins were paid for at the cross, and just like debts that are repaid nowadays, once a debt is repaid, it no longer is on any record. So, it also stands to reason that even God will not see your sin on that day.
But that still doesn’t answer the question exactly. Will everyone else see our sins at the Last Judgment? And the answer is… The Bible doesn’t exactly say one way or the other. But here’s my pastoral opinion (not Scripture, so you don’t have to believe me): I don’t think everyone will see your sin. For one thing, your sin is between you and God, and whether he will actually see it or not doesn’t matter anyways, right? You’re covered in a robe of righteousness. Sin is no longer you master. God will look at you with joy and delight because of Jesus on that day. For another thing, in God’s economy, no sin is any worse or better than any other. So, even if everyone sees your sin, no one will care what your sins are because they will feel the same way about their own sins. To feel shame for having your sins shown to everyone else is like being afraid that you’ll be mocked for having cancer in the cancer ward of a hospital. Everyone has the same problem you have and to the same extent.
The thing this thought should do to us is two-fold though, so here’s your takeaway. (1) No one is any more or less sinful than you, so stop hiding your sin. Confess it. Confess it to your spouse, to a trusted friend, to your pastor. Seriously, I’ve seen it all, and I’m going to love you through it. Plus, your sin, no matter what it is, is no worse than mine. We’re all bad. (2) God has forgiven your sin. Even if he does see it on that day, there will be no shame in it because Christ has paid for it.