The problem with taking one verse of Scripture and then rendering an opinion on what is being said can be seen in the three passages I have chosen. In this instance, I am examining the thought that all of our sins, public and private, will be exposed for all to see at the judgment. Many people, even Christians, believe this. I have even heard it preached from the pulpits on several occasions. So, the question is, “Are all of our sins exposed for all to see at the judgment?”
Now I need to ask another question, “Which judgment?” I’ll come back to this at the end of this commentary.
“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.” 1 Corinthians 4:5
It seems, by reading this one verse, that all the hidden sins we have ever committed will be exposed to the light by God for all to see.
FIRST VERSE REVIEWED:
“This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.
But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.” 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 (ESV)
To get a very clear picture of what is going on we actually need to read, at least, the chapter before and after our verse, but I have chosen the four verses before verse five to keep this article at a reasonable length.
Just as some do today, the Corinthians were choosing sides as to their favorite preacher. Some liked Peter (Cephas) better perhaps because he was actually with Jesus for three years. Others may have preferred Apollos because he was a better speaker and had more charisma. Others may have chosen Paul because of his passion. Who knows? For whatever reason, they had their favorites.
To get right to the point, Paul is telling them that he, Peter and Apollos are merely servants of Christ and any praise they receive, if any, will come from Him. Their work will be examined by Jesus himself, and they will be rewarded accordingly.
If you will read further, you will notice that the Corinthians were even getting pretty haughty about this, thinking more of themselves than they should. Jesus Christ will judge the intentions of our service to Him. For example, if we are serving Him for our glory, it will show up based upon the reward we receive or do not receive. If our intentions are 80% for Christ and 20% for us, it will be shown, and if they are 100% for Christ they will be shown. Paul spoke of this in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15.
Therefore, this is the true intent of 1 Corinthians 4:5, our verse above, our true intentions will be revealed, and then we will praise Christ.
“For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.” Luke 12:2
Again, it appears that the judgment is going to be very embarrassing for us all, since we all have sins we have tried to cover and hide.
SECOND VERSE REVIEWED:
“In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops. “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!” Luke 12:1-5 (ESV)
Here I have chosen the first five verses to review verse two of Luke twelve, but also read chapter eleven verses 39-54.
The religious leaders of that day were claiming to speak for God, but were they? We know now that they were not speaking for God. How do we know that? One reason is obvious they were standing face to face with God in the flesh and hated Him. Most of the Jews at that time though did not see through the hypocrisy of these religious leaders, but one day their hypocrisy will be revealed.
Many religious leaders of today claim to be speaking on behalf of God, but are just as hypocritical as the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. They too will be exposed as charlatans. As we saw in 1 Corinthians chapter four, our true intents will be exposed. Those who are not of God will be judged, and those who do belong to God will be rewarded with “gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, and stubble.”
Please read 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 again.
“For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.” Mark 4:22
It isn’t getting any better is it? We already know, I hope, that nothing is hidden from God and now it is obvious that our nasty deeds won’t be hidden from anyone else either.
THIRD VERSE REVIEWED:
“And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” Mark 4:21-25 (ESV)
Read Mark 3:22-4:34
This whole section is talking about the kingdom of God and Jesus speaking in parables. The religious leaders who came down from Jerusalem crossed the line. They actually accused Jesus of being possessed by Satan and working under Satan’s power. From this point onward Jesus speaks to the crowds in parables and then explains the parables to His true followers.
In verse eleven of chapter four Jesus tells His disciples that they are permitted to understand the mystery (secret) of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside would only hear them in parables (stories). This was done to fulfill the Scriptures, and the Scriptures relating to this are found in Isaiah 6:9-10.
The lamp or light that Jesus is referring to is the mystery the Apostle Paul spoke of many times. Jesus is telling His disciples in the parable of the lamp that this mystery kingdom of God is about to be revealed. All that God has hidden before will now be revealed.
Furthermore, those who are open to Christ’s teaching will have even more revealed to them, but those who don’t want to hear it will lose out.
In all of this we are dealing with two categories of people; i.e. those born-again, and those not born-again, the saved and the lost.
I asked the question at the beginning of this commentary, “Which judgment?” Basically, there are five judgments: time of Jacob’s trouble (Tribulation), judgment of living nations, judgment of fallen angels, the great white throne judgment and the judgment seat of Christ.
As a child of God, saved by the shed blood of Jesus Christ, where do I stand under the grace of God? Will my sorry, pathetic, sinful life be exposed for all to behold?
Looking at the judgments mentioned above, I won’t be at the judgment of the time of Jacob’s trouble, or as it is commonly called, the Tribulation. So that’s out.
I am not a nation. I am an individual. So that’s out.
I am not an angel, fallen or otherwise. So that’s out.
Only those not born-again in Jesus will stand for judgment at the great white throne. Since I’m born-again (a Christian), that’s out.
The judgment seat of Christ is the last one, and I’ll be there. We have discussed this. Remember? 1 Corinthians 3:11-15. Thank God, there is no judgment or revelation of my many sins against God. This is a judgment of my works. Are they done for His glory or mine? Will I receive any rewards? What will they be, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble, or some of each? This is a judgment of rewards, not condemnation!
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:1
“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12
Is it possible there could be some Christians thinking, “Great, now I can keep on with my “secret” sin and no one is the wiser!” God is the wiser. He is our Father in Heaven, and He doesn’t take disobedience lightly. Believe me He knows how to get our attention when he needs to. Don’t push it. If this is the way you think, you may not be His child. Think long and hard about that.
What about the lost, those not born-again in Christ? Will all their sins be revealed to one and all? I think they will be, because they have never asked to be forgiven of their sins. They have never trusted and followed Jesus, who takes the sins of His sheep upon Himself. The most important thing though, they will be shown every opportunity they had to believe on Jesus and every time they ignored Him or just right out said, “No.”
Keep this verse in mind: “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:14
Our works, Christians and non-Christians, will stand or fall before Him. If our works rest in Jesus they will be accepted, because they glorify Him. If our works rest in us, they will be rejected.
As a Christian we will lose our reward (not salvation), and as a non-Christian the soul remains condemned to hell.
My only work for salvation is that, by the faith He supplied, I trusted in His Son to be saved. My work as a Christian is to glorify Him. That is all we can claim if we are His.