Judgment, in this day & age, has been given a bad rap! Not only are we reminded, on a daily basis almost, that we shouldn't judge, when we speak of someone as being 'judged by God', this judgment always carries a bad connotation ( for them, anyway )! However, as we've seen, neither is judgment necessarily a bad thing & we ourselves are commanded to judge ( for ourselves )!
The judgment that was passed on Israel according to the flesh in the 1st century was a righteous judgment! Although it didn't turn out so well for them, the effect it had on True Israel, 'the Israel of God' was that they were forever blessed with the Promised Presence! Israel according to the flesh, those who had trusted in the righteousness which is through the Law were cursed through this judgment. Those who sought after the Righteousness which came through the Christ alone came out on the other side of judgment at the End of the Rainbow, so to speak, having become the New Temple of the Holy Spirit!
Being One with the Body of Christ, we too are on the other side of that judgment! The Judgment of which Scripture speaks was passed in the 1st century; we do not have that judgment to look forward to anymore. We, as the Body of Christ, 'the Israel of God', were judged concurrently & righteous; not only that, we were judged to be Righteous, in Him! This is not to say that we will not be judged, for we are judged, each & every day by those with whom we have to deal & ultimately by our Heavenly Father, through the law of reaping what we've sown!
Certain Christians, in fact most, like to point the writer's words in Hebrews 9:27, 'it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment' & the apostle Paul's in Romans 14:10, 'we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ', saying that there is ( yet ) some future day of judgment where all people will be gathered before the Throne of God & judged for their deeds, either being cursed for their evil deeds or blessed for their righteous ones! This, of course, is based on a future return of our Lord from Heaven, which argument is rendered moot by the Revelation of Fulfilled Eschatology!
The belief in some Final Judgment, then, while it is based in Scripture, is no longer a concern for us! Just as with a subject which we have recently discussed, the afterlife, there is much speculation involved with this doctrine. According to a non-covenantal & individualistic reading of Hebrews 9:27, once our biological body ceases to function & we experience the separation of body & spirit, then we, individually, will stand before the Judgment Seat to be judged according to our works, 'by the things which were written in the books' ( Revelation 20:12 ). One question that should be asked here of those Christians is, 'if the Body of Christ was judged Righteous, wouldn't that include us?' How then, are we to be judged for our works? If we are in Christ, is it not by HIS works that we are now judged? As we saw above, we are judged daily for our works by those who are affected by them & by those around us!
A question that may occur to some, since there is no final judgment for those in Christ is, 'what about those who are not in Christ; will they have to appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ?' Well, besides the fact that they are being judged daily, experiencing the Presence of God, in a negative way, we can speculate that those who continually reject the blessedness of relationship with their Heaavenly Father, will receive some sort of final judgement, after their spirit leaves their body. This speculation though, is not based upon a covenantal reading of Scripture & so is rather questionable!
For us, though, as we have seen, those in Christ 'shall not come into [ the ] judgment' for we have 'passed from death into life' ( John 5:24 )! There is no future & final judgment for us, since, for one thing, we are always in the Presence of God! We have been judged Righteous, as the Body of Christ, not individually, necessarily, but corporately. Individual judgment, for the most part, comes from those around us & through the law of reaping what we sow!
Charles Haddon Shank