Men’s works, good or evil, are recorded in heaven and will appear at the judgement day (Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14; Ephesians 6:8; Colossians 3:25; 1 Timothy 6:19). The life record of every person will be reviewed by God. “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (Acts 17:31 also Acts 24:25). All through the Scriptures we read that people will be judged according to their works (Jeremiah 17:10; Proverbs 24:12; Psalms 62:12; Matthew 16:27; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 2:23; 20:12; 22:12…etc.).
Does Faith Cancel Works in the Judgement?
The apostle Paul wrote, “Who will render to every man according to his deeds“ (Romans 2:6). Some have found a problem in harmonizing this passage with the doctrine that “man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:28). The apostle is not drawing a contrast between faith and works but rather between what a man really is and what he might profess to be.
Paul says that God judges a man according to his actual deeds of righteousness or unrighteousness. And he explains that mere works of law, as contrasted with works of faith (1 Thessalonians 1:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:11), are not actual deeds of righteousness (Romans 9:31, 32).
Works are seen in the final judgment as proof of faith. Thus, faith in God’s grace is not a substitute for right behavior and godly living. Faith can give evidence to its reality and genuineness only by such proof (James 2:18). God will grant justice to every man according to this evidence. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
Christ – the Judge
At the day of Judgement, Christ will be the judge (Matthew 11:27; John 5:22–27; Acts 17:31; 1 Peter 4:5) for He is the world’s Creator and Redeemer. It is an amazing thought that our Savior is to be our judge at the Judgement. Because Christ took upon Him the nature of those who will come before His judgement seat (Philippians 2:6–8) and suffered every temptation to which they have faced (Hebrews 2:14–17), He will be the perfect Judge.
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Christ is fully sympathetic with the trials and hardships that the true believer has to face. By so doing, He can become our High Priest.
The Standard of Judgement
A man’s deeds will be compared with the great standard of conduct, the law of God at the Judgement. The apostle James wrote, “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty” (James 2:10–12 also 1:25; Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14; Romans 2:12, 13).
In the final judgment, there will be no hidden standard of righteousness, and thus no chance to get away from a just sentence by a late request for mercy (Galatians 6:7; Revelation 22:12). The righteous will stand before God and their books will be opened. But next to every recorded sin that has been confessed, repented off and wiped by the blood of Jesus, there will be written, “debt canceled.” “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57), over both sin and its wages, death (Galatians 2:20).
In His service,