“And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds… 1 Peter 1:17 ESV
Judged by Our Deeds
I wonder if we really get what this is saying here, or if we just kind of skim over it. I know that I used to just skim over it, at least this first part. I didn’t think I would be judged for my deeds. I was a Christian. I believed in Jesus Christ. I was confident I was going to heaven when I died. I believed God disciplined me in his love, but I didn’t think about being judged in this way.
Yet, is this saying what it appears to be saying? Are we all going to be judged by our deeds, even those of us who are believers in Jesus Christ? Do the scriptures state this anywhere else?
“He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality.” Romans 2:6-11 ESV
But, that is not the only scripture that says that. We read in Galatians 6:7-8 that we will all be judged by what we sow, whether to the flesh or to the Spirit. To the flesh results in destruction, and to the Spirit results in eternal life. Galatians 5:16-21 says that if we make sin our practice, that we will not inherit the kingdom of God. And, Ephesians 5:3-6 says the same thing.
And, we read in Romans 6:16 that we are slaves of the one we obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness. And, in Romans 8:13 we read that if we live according to the flesh we will die (in our sins), but if we, by the Spirit, are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, then we will live (with Christ for eternity).
And, there are many more scriptures that state that we must endure to the end in our walks of faith in Christ, and we must abide in Christ and his Word abide in us, and we must take up our cross daily and follow Christ, and we must obey our Lord’s commands, etc., if we want to have eternal life with God (1 Co. 15:2; Col. 1:21-23; Lu. 9:23-26; John 15:1-6; 1 John 2:3-6).
So, the answer is “Yes! We will all be judged by our deeds.”
“… conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.” 1 Peter 1:17-21 ESV
In Reverent Fear
Since we will all be judged according to our deeds, we thus should conduct ourselves on this earth in reverent fear of God. And, this means that we need to honor him as the Holy God that he is. We must obey him, doing what he says. And, we must submit to his Lordship over our lives.
This means that we walk in holiness, in purity, in honesty, in righteousness, and godliness, living to please God with our lives, and all in his power and strength. And, we don’t live to please and to gratify the flesh.
And, this is because Jesus Christ gave his life up for us on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. It is because in his death he became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God, and because through his blood shed on a cross for our sins, he bought us back for God so that we would now be God’s possession, and so that we would now honor God with our lives (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; 1 Co. 6:20; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24).
For, God’s grace to us is not just forgiveness of sins and the hope of heaven when we die. His grace to us is deliverance from our slavery to sin, and it is empowerment to live for him and to his righteousness. For, it instructs us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for his return (Tit. 2:11-14).
Just Stirred at Times
When we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, this is not just some emotional experience we go through and then we’re done, and then heaven is guaranteed us when we die. And, our Christian walk is also not based on emotional experiences which stir our spirits, at times, but which never result in our hearts truly being transformed of the Spirit of God away from sin and to obedience to Christ.
True faith in Jesus Christ, which is not just a one-time experience, but which is ongoing throughout our Christian lives, is first of all God-given, and it is divinely persuaded, and thus it submits to Jesus Christ as Lord (master), and it forsakes sinful practices, and it walks in obedience to his commands.
It is crucified with Christ in death to sin, and it is resurrected with Christ to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. For, this is why Jesus died on that cross, that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Lu. 9:23-26; 1 Pet. 2:24; Tit. 2:11-14).
Therefore, if we think we are saved from our sins, and that we are bound for heaven, on a mere profession of faith in Jesus Christ, but we have not forsaken our sinful lifestyles (practices, habits), and we have not really turned to follow our Lord in obedience to his commands, and we are not presently living according to his Spirit, and no longer according to our flesh, then we need to know we are going to be judged by our deeds.
But, it isn’t just that. It is that our Lord paid a high price on that cross for our freedom from slavery to sin so that we can walk with him in obedience to his commands. So, it is a slap in the face to him if we choose to continue in our sinful practices, and if we choose to not walk in obedience to his commands. It is almost as though we are right there cheering with the crowds, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” for that is what we are doing.
So, just know here that salvation for us means deliverance from our slavery to sin, not forgiveness so that we can go on in our sinful practices without guilt. So, if you choose to continue in your sinful practices, and if you refuse to obey the Lord, then you are choosing death, not life with Christ for eternity. And, this isn’t my opinion. This is what the Bible teaches.
Much Too High a Price / Jesus Paid It All
Phil McHugh and Greg Nelson
You paid much too high a price for me, Your tears, Your blood, the pain –
To have my soul just stirred at times yet never truly changed.
You deserve a fiery love that won’t ignore your sacrifice
Because You paid much too high a price.