Do converted followers of Jesus Christ face judgment?

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Do converted followers of Jesus Christ face judgment?

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Hebrews 9:27 Hebrews 9:27And as it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment:
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states that "it is appointed for all men to die once, but after this the judgment." And the apostle Paul told Christians, "We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:10 2 Corinthians 5:10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he has done, whether it be good or bad.
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; compare Romans 14:10 Romans 14:10But why do you judge your brother? or why do you set at nothing your brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
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). Yet the apostle Peter wrote, "For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?" (1 Peter 4:17-18 1 Peter 4:17-18 [17] For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? [18] And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
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). The house of God is God's Church (1 Timothy 3:15 1 Timothy 3:15But if I tarry long, that you may know how you ought to behave yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
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), comprising all true Christians. Thus, a converted Christian's time of judgment is now—in this life—though ultimate judgment will be declared in the future at the resurrection.

As Peter says, we are judged according to how we "obey the gospel of God." This includes obeying God's commandments (see Matthew 19:17 Matthew 19:17And he said to him, Why call you me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if you will enter into life, keep the commandments.
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; 1 Corinthians 7:19 1 Corinthians 7:19Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.
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; Revelation 22:14 Revelation 22:14Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
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). Too many who profess to be Christians or religious do not practice in their daily lives what the Bible teaches. For example, in a recent Barna survey only about one fourth of those who consider themselves servants of Jesus Christ placed faith as their highest priority in life. Barna concluded that there is a significant disconnect between what religious people say and what they do. That must not be so among true followers of Christ.

As Paul wrote, over time one's work will become clear (1 Corinthians 3:13 1 Corinthians 3:13Every 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.
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)—the fiery trials and tests we experience in this physical life revealing the character we have developed (Romans 5:3-4 Romans 5:3-4 [3] And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience; [4] And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
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). Everyone's personal spiritual house is going to be tested and tried by fire right down to the depths of its foundations. So we must take heed how we build our spiritual house. Again, God is judging His Church now.

Yet we must realize that this judgment is an evaluation over the course of our Christian lives and not an immediate sentencing. And Jesus, to whom all judgment has been committed because He lived as a human being, is sympathetic to our condition and intercedes for us with the Father as our High Priest (John 5:22 John 5:22For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son:
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, John 5:26-27 John 5:26-27 [26] For as the Father has life in himself; so has he given to the Son to have life in himself; [27] And has given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.
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; Hebrews 2:17-18 Hebrews 2:17-18 [17] Why in all things it behooved him to be made like to his brothers, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. [18] For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.
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; Hebrews 4:15 Hebrews 4:15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
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). He knows that we will not achieve instant perfection in the flesh but must mature and grow throughout our years to become more and more like Him.

While human, we will still sin at times even after conversion, but God is merciful, always willing to forgive us upon repentance and faith in Christ to save us. As the apostle John wrote: "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation [or atonement] for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world" (1 John 1:8-10 1 John 1:8-10 [8] If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. [9] If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. [10] If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
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- 1 John 2:1-2 1 John 2:1-2 [1] My little children, these things write I to you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: [2] And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our's only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
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, emphasis added).

Yet for converted Christians there is no longer atonement if we stop repenting—that is, stop striving to obey God (Hebrews 2:1-3 Hebrews 2:1-3 [1] Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. [2] For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; [3] How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by them that heard him;
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; Hebrews 6:4-7 Hebrews 6:4-7 [4] For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, [5] And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, [6] If they shall fall away, to renew them again to repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. [7] For the earth which drinks in the rain that comes oft on it, and brings forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receives blessing from God:
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; Hebrews 10:26-31 Hebrews 10:26-31 [26] For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, [27] But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. [28] He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: [29] Of how much sorer punishment, suppose you, shall he be thought worthy, who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant, with which he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done despite to the Spirit of grace? [30] For we know him that has said, Vengeance belongs to me, I will recompense, said the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. [31] It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
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, Hebrews 10:35-38 Hebrews 10:35-38 [35] Cast not away therefore your confidence, which has great recompense of reward. [36] For you have need of patience, that, after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise. [37] For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. [38] Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
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). So we must continue in the process of conversion with God to make our "call and election sure" (2 Peter 1:10 2 Peter 1:10Why the rather, brothers, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if you do these things, you shall never fall:
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). And we can have confidence in God to see us through (Philippians 1:6 Philippians 1:6Being confident of this very thing, that he which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
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; Hebrews 13:5 Hebrews 13:5Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for he has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.
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).

Then at the end we can hear words like these from Christ: "Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord" (Matthew 25:21 Matthew 25:21His lord said to him, Well done, you good and faithful servant: you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: enter you into the joy of your lord.
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). Our individual rewards in God's Kingdom at the resurrection will also be determined through God's judgment of our works in this life (Matthew 16:27 Matthew 16:27For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
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)—judgment that, again, is with mercy. God assures us in James 2:13 James 2:13For he shall have judgment without mercy, that has showed no mercy; and mercy rejoices against judgment.
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, "Mercy triumphs over judgment."

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