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Jesus taught that all believers who receive him will not be judged as they have already passed from death to life.

John 5:24

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

Saint Paul in a letter to the Corinthians said that all including believers must appear before the seat of judgment of Christ to receive rewards for what they did in the body whether good or evil.

2 Corinthians 5:10

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

I have more confidence in the teaching of Jesus that believers are not judged because of:

  1. The thief to the right who confessed and was immediately received in paradise that day
  2. The Dead in Christ are raised first to life and then the wicked to the resurrection of judgment, please notice why believers are raised first and the destination and why the wicked are raised second and the destination (judgment)

How do we reconcile the teaching of Paul to comply with that of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?

7 Answers 7

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They were both talking about judgement, but different aspects of judgement.

Notice that Jesus' statement, in John 5:24, speaks to the assurance of salvation for believers who have accepted Him. They will not face judgement unto death. On the other hand, Paul, in 2 Corinthians 5:10, focuses his attention on the accountability of believers before the judgment seat of Christ. Here, they will receive rewards or consequences for their actions done in the body, whether good or evil.

Jesus' Teaching on Judgment:

  • Salvation from condemnation/judgement.
  • Believers who accept Him will not face judgment unto death.
  • Focuses on the assurance of eternal life through faith in Him.
  • Shows the transition from death to life for believers.

Paul's Teaching on Judgment:

  • Accountability and evaluation of believers' deeds.
  • Believers will appear before the judgment seat of Christ.
  • Focuses on the consequences of believers' actions in terms of rewards or loss of rewards.
  • Presents the importance of faithful living.

The main thing to note is that the "judgment seat of Christ", mentioned by Paul, does not imply condemnation for believers but rather a reckoning of their works and the distribution of rewards.

To conclude: Jesus' words speak to not being judged unto death if we accept Him. In my words, Paul says, while you may not be sentenced to death, you will stand before Christ and be judged based on your deeds.

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  • he does not come nto judgment , is that the judgment at the great white throne?
    – Dong Li
    Commented Apr 7 at 9:47
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    I'm fine with saying, I can't say for sure. If it is then the function of the judgement will be different. I quote: The fact that there is going to be a final judgment for all people, both believers and unbelievers, is clearly confirmed in many passages of Scripture. Every person will one day stand before Christ and be judged for his or her deeds. While it is very clear that the great white throne judgment is the final judgment, Christians disagree on how it relates to the other judgments mentioned in the Bible, specifically, who will be judged at the great white throne judgment.
    – Jason_
    Commented Apr 7 at 21:02
  • @DongLi This question on C.SE goes over the judgment seat of Christ and the great white throne judgment. Also see gotquestions which goes over it!
    – Jason_
    Commented Apr 7 at 21:18
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    So believers appear not to be judged but to be rewarded then that explains it
    – Dong Li
    Commented Apr 8 at 5:09
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It is important to recognise that John’s gospel and Paul’s epistle do not use the same words here, even if an English translation uses “judgement” as (part of) its translation in both verses.

In John, we read that the believer does not come into krisis (κρίσις). This word can be rendered “judgement”, but also “condemnation”, “sentence”, and so on. (Biblehub: Strong’s 2920)

In 2 Corinthians, we read that all, believers included, will come before the bēma (βῆμα) of Christ. This is literally a step or platform, but is commonly rendered “judgement seat”: it is the raised place where the one in authority sits. (Biblehub: Strong’s 968)

So the most natural answer is that believers will come before Christ, who sits in judgement, but they are not there to be sentenced.

And indeed if we look at the wider context of 2 Corinthians 5:6–10, we see Paul say that believers are confident, and they want† to stand before the bēma of Christ! The believer longs to stand before Jesus and hear words like those of Matthew 25: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

philotimoumetha (φιλοτιμούμεθα): we are ambitious, we strive, literally “we desire honour” (Biblehub: Strong’s 5389)

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    – Community Bot
    Commented Apr 8 at 14:05
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The answer is found in understanding the definition of "good" in 2 Cor. 5:10. The word translated as "good" is Strong's Gr. 18 "agathos" and it means inherently, intrinsically good, as it pertains to the believer. It originates from God and is empowered by Him. See Biblehub. It is an adjective describing what is upright, honorable, distinguished, righteous and acceptable to God.

Mankind thinks in terms of morality. If I don't steal, or commit murder, or lie, or engage in fornication, etc. then I have been good. But our morality falls far short, and is not God's definition of good.

How are we to become acceptable to God? What originates from God, and is empowered by Him? What do we do that makes us “good” in God’s eyes?

There is only one thing that God sees as “good” and that is Jesus Christ, our savior and passover Lamb. If we have obeyed the command as believers (John 5:24) to be baptized / immersed in water for the forgiveness of our sins, calling upon the name of Jesus as the Son of God, then we have done the “good” things in the flesh.

Who in this life has done everything we ought to do? Paul discussed this lack in Rom. 7:15:

“For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.” (KJV)

The good works that we do for Him are our duty and obligation, not credit points. We owe Him. Because all of our “good works” or righteousness are as filthy rags to Him (Isa. 64:6).

So, the “good” things in the flesh of 2 Cor. 5:10 cannot be talking about our obligations and duties, but are instead talking about putting on Christ through baptism. For if we have put on Christ and are clothed in His righteousness (Rev. 3:5, 18) and are covered by the blood of the Lamb, then we have forgiveness of sins when we are faithful to confess to God and repent of them. God is then faithful to forgive us (1 John 1:9).

Therefor, when we pass over from this mortal body and the angel(s) see the blood of the Lamb over us, then judgment passes over us just as it did in those faithful houses back in Egypt. This is Christ’s passover, that if we stay faithful unto death judgment has already passed over us. We have nothing to fear.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24, KJV)

We are not going to stand before God as some suppose and list out all the bad things we repented of, asked forgiveness of and that He has already forgiven and forgotten.

“21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. 22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.” (Ezek. 18:21-22, KJV)

The righteousness that we do now, that we will give an account for is whether or not we have accepted the offer God has made through His grace of His Son as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world for the forgiveness of our sins. And, we will not have to say one word. The King will look at us and know whether we are clothed in the wedding garments of the bride and the bridegroom (Ex. 12:23; Matt. 22: 11-13).

If we have rejected that precious gift then we have scorned His offer, have spit in His face, have done evil things in the flesh, and there is nothing else He can do for us. Those who have spurned Christ and turned their backs on Him will be cast out (2 Pet. 2:17).

Therefore, being obedient to the word, believing Christ is our only Savior, being clothed in His righteousness then we are "good" in God's eyes, and the judgment passes over us.

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  • Hello Gina , great answer. I have left an upvote +1
    – Dong Li
    Commented Apr 8 at 16:23
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This is a great question, and in my understanding, it is not a contradiction (which some perhaps can think) but both of these are true at the same time.

All will stand in the seat of judgment, also the robber on the cross, but his name is written in the Book of Life.

If you take a third scripture from revelation, you can also see a combination:

Revelation 20:13-15

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Remember when Jesus died, the graves were opened:


Matthew 27:51-53

And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

These saints had to go somewhere, where did they go after they walked around? I assume it’s the same place as the robber. Paradise.

So paradise and judgment are both true (and some names are written in the Book of Life.

Also one can study more about "rewards" in the afterlife, which is a whole topic for itself.

When Jesus says you are passed from death to life, as I understand it, your name is in the Book of Life. Meaning you are saved. You will not be cast into the lake of fire.

I don't know why saints are raised first, the graves were opened as Matthew says, and the saints were raised. Why they were raised first I don't know.

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  • But why are saints raised first and then the wicked second
    – Dong Li
    Commented Apr 7 at 8:45
  • What did Jesus mean by saying have passed from death to life
    – Dong Li
    Commented Apr 7 at 8:45
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    – agarza
    Commented Apr 7 at 13:17
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    Commented Apr 7 at 13:18
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There is no significant divergence in comparing Jesus' statement in John 5:24 and Paul's statement in 2 Corinthians 5:10. Unlike earthly trials, where judgment occurs after the trial, the Lord's verdict has already been pronounced for humanity even before an individual faces trial.

John 3:16-18 NIV

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

In 2 Corinthians 5:10, Paul depicts the final judgment, parallel to the imagery found in Revelation 20:12: "And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books." This emphasizes that the deeds of everyone is accounted in books. Ultimately, each individual's verdict hinges on whether their names appears in the book of life. For those who put their faith in Jesus, their names are securely inscribed in the book of life, ensuring they receive the gift of eternal life as previously declared in the verdict.

The Book of Revelation portrays two distinct resurrections. The first resurrection occurs before the millennium, encompassing believers who have passed away prior to the return of Jesus (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-56). The second resurrection occurs after the millennium, involving those who were not part of the first resurrection. This group comprises not only those characterized of evil, but also those who have yet to encounter salvation, such as gentiles who never been exposed to the teachings of Jesus.

According to Revelation 20:12-15, each person is judged based on their deeds, as documented in the books, and receiving their verdict whether their names appear in the book of life: "Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire."

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  • Okay then there is judgment but for all , what type of judgment is christ referring to then?
    – Dong Li
    Commented Apr 8 at 5:06
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    @DongLi - Since everyone is judged based on their deeds, the verdict has already been determined before they step forward to the great white throne (Rev 20:11). Each person's name is either written in the book of life or absent from it. They are coming to receive their final judgement. Jesus is not coming to judge the world, rather, the world is already judged by their own deeds. Therefore Jesus said "whoever does not believe stands condemned already" (John 3:18). Commented Apr 9 at 1:57
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  • Paul says that they must "appear before the judgement seat".
  • John says each true Christian "shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" (KJV).

All mortal people will be judged but, for the true Christians, their already forgiven sins will not be taken into consideration at the judgement, so they will not be convicted and destroyed.

There is no contradiction.

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  • You used the original words that were not translated, how much errors did Bible Scholars make during the process that cost future readers a solid interpretation?
    – Dong Li
    Commented Apr 8 at 16:25
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They do not contradict each other a tiny bit. Does the Lord contradict Himself when He says that He will judge and open gates of Heaven to the righteous while shut them to the wicked (cf. Matthew 7:22-23)? Of course not! Simply, if you hold in His word, it means that His word, His divine energy works in you with you co-working and getting divinized through this synergic activity (cf. Col. 1:29).

Thus, such a man has passed from death to life and is not judged (John 5:24), that is to say, is not and cannot be condemned, but still is judged, that is to say, esteemed, weighed and dignified by Lord as His brother and co-worker and co-inheritor of the Kingdom. When I say Leo Messi is a superstar and one of the football's all-time greats, I judge him, that is to say, esteem and weigh him, not condemn him.

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