Our Sins Won’t Be Revealed

XVII. Further, if it is asked here whether the sins of the pious equally as well as of the wicked will be revealed, we answer that the negative seems more probable to us. (1) On account of the judge, who since he has been most fully satisfied for us and now intercedes for us in heaven, will then come as their Redeemer and Savior, not to reproach them for their sins, but to fulfill his promises in them and to manifest the wonders of his grace. (2) The process of the judgment is such that mention may indeed be made of good works, but not of their evil works (Matt 25:31–40). The pious will not hear the publication of their sins, but the reward of their love and benevolence. (3) The gratuitous mercy of Christ does not wish our sins to be remembered anymore, but casts them behind it’s back. Now what God has once wish to be covered in this life, he will not reveal in the other. (4) If their sins were to be made known, it would lead to the disgrace and confusion of the pious, from which they ought to be free. For Christ will return for this end—that he may be glorious in his saints and be admired in all believers.

— Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, Twentieth topic, question six.

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  1. Fesko:

    On the final day, the verdict that is passed in secret in the
    present, is revealed through the resurrection of the outer man. The
    resurrection reveals who is righteous. On the final day, when Christ
    returns, the righteous are immediately transformed. Without God
    uttering a single syllable, the righteous will be able to look around them and know immediately who has been declared righteous and who is wicked. There is no future aspect of justification but rather only the revelation of the verdict through the resurrection.

    The justification is “already,” and what remains “not yet” is the revelation of the verdict that has already been passed on the basis of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. By maintaining the all-important connection between justification and resurrection, we preserve the good news that believers are raised, not because of their own works, but solely because of the works of Christ.

    (H/T mcmark…)

  2. I have a long charismatic background but have since joined a reformed fellowship. For years I have heard that Christians will have their sins, all of them, exposed before the judgment seat of Christ.

    Matt 25:31–40 Does He separate us and then the judgment is on the goats?

    • Desean,

      In the Belgic Confession (1561) we say:

      Article 37: The Last Judgment
      Finally we believe, according to God’s Word, that when the time appointed by the Lord is come (which is unknown to all creatures) and the number of the elect is complete, our Lord Jesus Christ will come from heaven, bodily and visibly, as he ascended, with great glory and majesty, to declare himself the judge of the living and the dead. He will burn this old world, in fire and flame, in order to cleanse it.

      Then all human creatures will appear in person before the great judge– men, women, and children, who have lived from the beginning until the end of the world.

      They will be summoned there by the voice of the archangel and by the sound of the divine trumpet.

      For all those who died before that time will be raised from the earth, their spirits being joined and united with their own bodies in which they lived. And as for those who are still alive, they will not die like the others but will be changed “in the twinkling of an eye” from “corruptible to incorruptible.”

      Then “the books” (that is, the consciences) will be opened, and the dead will be judged according to the things they did in the world, whether good or evil. Indeed, all people will give account of all the idle words they have spoken, which the world regards as only playing games. And then the secrets and hypocrisies of men will be publicly uncovered in the sight of all.

      Therefore, with good reason the thought of this judgment is horrible and dreadful to wicked and evil people. But it is very pleasant and a great comfort to the righteous and elect, since their total redemption will then be accomplished. They will then receive the fruits of their labor and of the trouble they have suffered; their innocence will be openly recognized by all; and they will see the terrible vengeance that God will bring on the evil ones who tyrannized, oppressed, and tormented them in this world.

      The evil ones will be convicted by the witness of their own consciences, and shall be made immortal– but only to be tormented in the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

      In contrast, the faithful and elect will be crowned with glory and honor. The Son of God will “confess their names” before God his Father and the holy and elect angels; all tears will be “wiped from their eyes”; and their cause– at present condemned as heretical and evil by many judges and civil officers– will be acknowledged as the “cause of the Son of God.”

      And as a gracious reward the Lord will make them possess a glory such as the heart of man could never imagine.

      So we look forward to that great day with longing in order to enjoy fully the promises of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

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