God will judge His people for willful sin.
The Bible says in Hebrews 10:26-31 “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.“
We cannot lose our salvation, but we will be judged.
Notice it says that there are no more sacrifices for sins. This shows that we cannot lose our salvation, but it goes on to say that Christians will be judged for willful sins and that we would be thought to be worthy of worse punishment than physical death.
For a Christian to willfully sin is to trample over the blood of Christ. It is the same as spitting in His face!
When you decide to commit a sin, not caring what God thinks about it, because Jesus paid for all of your sins and you can’t go to Hell, it is as if you are looking into the face of Jesus Christ on the cross, seeing the agony in His eyes as He is dying to save you, and you sneeringly say to Him, “I don’t care what you want me to do, I am going to commit this sin and do what I want to do, because you can’t send me to hell anyway! I have Grace!”
Hebrews 10:26-31 says that that makes God angry, and even though He can’t send you to Hell, He will judge you harshly for it.
So, if God cannot send you to Hell, how will He judge you?
The Bible does not exactly say how severe that judgment is or what it is, but it gives some strong indications that it is worse than just losing some rewards.
2 Peter 2:20-21 “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.”
This indicates that the judgement that backslidden Christians will face is worse than hell, because it says that it would have been better for them if they had never gotten saved.
The Bible also indicates that some Christians may be physically whipped at judgment, even for ignorant sins.
Luke 12:47-48 “And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”
This is why we are commanded to study God’s Word in 2 Timothy 2:15.
Notice it does not say that these disobedient people go to Hell, it just says they get whipped. It also says that they are God’s servants. This is clearly speaking of saved people not lost people. The Bible just says lost people go to Hell, it never says anything about them getting whipped.
Luke 12:46 clearly shows that these whippings take place after Jesus comes back.
Luke 12:46 “The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.”
Now that “portion with the unbelievers” is not speaking of Hell, but of them having no position of authority during the millennial reign of Christ. There will still be unbelievers on the earth during the millennial reign.
Judgement of Christians happens after the rapture, and before the millennial reign of Christ, and part of that judgment is to determine our position of authority in Christ’s millennial reign. This verse just simply shows that rebellious Christians will not receive any position of authority in the millennial reign.
Now, the Bible also says that we will lose our rewards and our mansions if we sin.
1 Corinthians 3:10-17 “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”
The Bible also says that we are not to commit fornication, because our bodies are God’s temple (1 Corinthians 6:15-20). Therefore, if a Christian commits sexual sins and defiles their body, which is God’s temple, then they have defiled God’s temple, and the passage above shows that they will receive harsh judgment.
However, if these losses of rewards were our only consequences for sinning (as is always preached in Baptist churches) that would not be a judgment worse than Hell.
The Bible shows in Revelation that Saved people can miss the rapture and go through the Great Tribulation.
Revelation 2:20 “Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.”
The eating of “things sacrificed unto idols” mentioned here is specifically speaking of the Catholic Mass. You can read more about this in my other blog post about the Lord’s Supper here.
Only true Christians are capable of committing adultery against Christ! Therefore, these people who commit adultery with Jezebel are truly saved people, and God’s judgement falls on them for their adultery, and they miss the rapture and go through the Great Tribulation with Jezebel (The Roman Catholic Church). They also lose their position as the Bride of Christ. Jesus Christ is not going to be married to a whore! Those who commit adultery against Christ will not be part of His Bride!
Salvation only guarantees that we will not go to Hell, and that we will go to Heaven! We must work for everything else!
It is true that the Bible says that God chastens us so we are not condemned with the world (1 Corinthians 11:32), but if we do not respond to His chastening and repent, we are judged with the world. We do not go to Hell, but we are still judged with the world in this life, possibly by even going through the Great Tribulation! That is what Revelation 2:20-25 teaches and to teach anything else is to add to or take away from the Word of God!
We cannot be condemned to hell, but we can be condemned to judgment.
The Bible also says in James 3:1 “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.”
James 5:9 “Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.”
Many Christians also misinterpret Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” They say that if you are saved you are never under any kind of condemnation no matter what you do. That is not what this verse says. It says that we are not under condemnation if we are saved, and we walk after the Spirit!
No, we are not going to be condemned to Hell, but we could be condemned to miss the rapture, suffer through the Great Tribulation, lose our position as the Bride of Christ, lose or position to reign with Christ, may lose our ability to even enter the New Jerusalem, lose our mansion, lose our white robe, and all other rewards. This is why Jesus said the Church of Laodicea (who were saved people) is naked, and poor (Revelation 3:17-18).
Salvation only gets us out of Hell and into Heaven, we must work for everything else!
Christians will not get away with their sins!
However, we do not have to live our lives in fear of judgment.
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 11:31 “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.”
The Bible says in 1 John 4:17 that we can have boldness in the day of judgment.
Therefore, if we are seeking God’s will and diligently trying to obey Him, and repenting every time we sin, then God is going to be faithful to show us His will, and we will obey His will, and our judgment is not going to be harsh.
The Bible also promises in Luke 11:9-13 “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
God loves us and He is not unjust to trap us or to hide His complete will from us. If we seek God’s will and ask Him for it, He will cause the Holy Spirit to reveal it to us and empower us to fulfil it.
The Holy Spirit will help us to not sin if we allow Him to control us.
The Bible says in Ephesians 5:18 “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;”
To be filled with the Spirit means to be controlled by Him. We should never allow any kind of substance (alcohol, drugs, etc) to control us. We should always be controlled by the Holy Spirit, so we are producing the fruits of the Spirit.
Galations 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
God has given us everything we need in order for us to be successful for Him. We do not have to be afraid of judgment, but we had better be afraid of it if we are rebellious or lukewarm.
Again, a saved person cannot lose their salvation, but they will not get away with their sin either. God is Holy and Just, and He will punish us for our sins, if we do not repent of them.
To repent does not mean to just ask forgiveness, but also to sincerely pray and work hard to stop doing our sins. We must also go make things right with other people we have wronged.
We can never be sinless; we will always accidentally sin until we go to heaven. But our hearts can be pure to where we do not want to sin, and we can get to the point to where we never willfully sin, and that is what God wants.
We can also pray and study the Bible enough to make sure we never commit any ignorant sins that would be bad enough for us to be worthy of being whipped with few stripes.
A person can receive all of their rewards and no whippings at judgment, but they must be very diligent to pray, study the Bible, and obey God in all things. You need to pray specifically daily that God helps you to never do anything worthy of any stripes, and that He helps you to receive all of your rewards at judgment, because you cannot achieve this without His power, and to think that you can would be the sin of pride.
Job never willfully sinned (Job 1:1), and he did not even have the whole Bible, the blood of Jesus, or the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to help keep Him from willfully sinning. God had not offered those helps to people yet. We have all of these extra things. Therefore, we must use them, and we have no excuse for committing willful sin, or even ignorant sins that would be bad enough to get us whipped at judgment!
And as I said before, salvation only keeps us out of Hell and gets us into heaven. We must work for everything else! No one gets away with sin!