Question:

Here is something that I am confused about. In I Thessalonians 4:17 Paul told the Thessalonians "then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and shall we ever be with the Lord." Now in II Corinthians 5:10 Paul states: "For 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 hath done, whether [it be] good or bad." So my question is if "we shall ever be with the Lord" when will we be judged? Are those that have been found faithful already judged? I know that from Luke 16:19-31 there must have been prejudgment so that Lazarus was in Abraham's bosom and the rich man was not.


Answer:

The confusion arises because the use of the word "judgment" in the Bible is broader than how we use it today in English. We tend to narrow the definition to only the determination between truth and falsehood. But in the Bible, it can also be applied to the sentencing of the guilty, that is a judgment as to the punishment of the guilty.

Where we will be in eternity is set by what we do in this life. But at the end of the world, every individual is going to appear before the judgment seat of Christ for the final sentencing, which is based on the deeds we have done while here on earth.