The Good News Of Final Judgment

One of the most common questions that come my way is how the concept of “heavenly rewards” fits into a proper understanding of justification by grace alone. Over at Liberate, my friend (and theologian-in-residence) Jono Linebaugh offers a robust theological framework for how to understand this apparent conundrum:

The champions of justification by grace through faith, from Paul to the Protestant reformers, have always confessed that Christ “will come again to judge the living and the dead.” For many, however, this double affirmation of justification by grace and judgment according to works raises an honest question: If Jesus is the basis for our justification, how can our works play a role in our judgment? If, as 1 Corinthians 1:30 puts it, “Christ is our righteousness,” how can anything we do receive a reward? The history of trying to answer questions like these is a tale of much spilled ink (and blood). According to Dane Ortlund’s helpful taxonomy, there are at least fourteen different ways that scholars have attempted to coordinate justification by grace and judgment according to works. The extent of this discussion and debate means that this short reflection cannot pretend to offer a definitive analysis. Instead, what this post hopes to provide is an outline of how to explore this question by considering the relationship between justification and final judgment under three headings: 1) The comfort of Christ’s coming, 2) Jesus as the basis for God’s justifying judgment, and 3) Christ’s righteousness and our rewards.

Read the rest here.