At the beginning of Sunday's sermon, I addressed a question that had cropped up frequently after last week's sermon: If God forgives our sin, how is it possible that it will be brought up in the future?
During the week, I tried to find out how others had answered this question pastorally. I was encouraged that Pastor John Piper found it necessary to address this question a few days after he preached a sermon dealing with a similar theme. If I'm not always going to be as clear as I like, I'd at least like to make the same mistakes as John Piper. . . .
Here are four truths that are helpful to develop a biblical understanding of God's forgiveness and future accountability for sin.
1. Everything we’ve done will be known. Scripture is very clear on this point--good and evil will be made manifest.
Luke 8:17 "For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light."
1 Tim 5:24-25 "The sins of some men are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later. So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden."
Ecc 12:13-14 "The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil."
Matt 16:27 "For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done."
2. Our sins will not condemn us. There will be no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1). Romans 4:7-8 tells us our sin will not be counted against us (cf. v. 22). It is in this sense that I believe our sins are forgiven. They will not be brought up in any context in which the purpose is condemnation or punishment. There is no sin credit in our account, only Christ's righteousness. God "forgets" our sin when it comes to punishment. All He sees is Christ's righteousness.
3. We will suffer loss of reward (1 Cor 3:10-14). Even though we won't suffer condemnation for our sin, we will suffer loss of reward for our disobedience. As our lives are laid out before God, our sinful acts will be consumed with fire.
4. Our future joy is dependent upon our current obedience. Your current obedience causes you to grow in your ability to experience God's joy in the future (e.g. Matthew 25: 14-30). This doesn't mean that some won't enjoy heaven. It means some will be able to experience more fully the joys of heaven because of their obedience.
Praying for you today as you strive to begin today to worship God for eternity,