In Christ Jesus we are “a new creation; the old has passed away” (2 Cor. 5:17). We are forgiven fully. The Lord even wants us to be free of the guilty feelings that may haunt us. Why, then, must a Christian give an account of himself on the day of judgment?
Paul says that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body” (2 Cor. 5:10). For those who are in Christ, though, this appearance before the throne of judgment will be a joyous occasion, not a painful ordeal. Even at the moment of death the faithful believer receives full assurance of eternal life. When the beggar Lazarus dies, the angels come and immediately transport him to “Abraham’s bosom,” a place where “he is comforted” (Luke 16:22, 25).
Hades, the world of the dead, empties on the day of judgment. Every departed soul returns to earth and reunites with the physical body. Again, the righteous person is fully aware of the great joys to come. Jesus says that “all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment” (John 5:28-29).
As the entire human race assembles before the throne, the saints once again will revel in their eternal inheritance. Christ “will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand” (Matt. 25:31-33). And does the great King now interrogate the sheep? Does he humiliate them with embarrassing memories and questions? No! These are the first words out of his mouth: “Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (v. 34).