Does this apply to everyone, or just non-Christians, just Christians, or just people who have never heard of Christ?
ESV - 12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
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The Scriptures explain there are two final judgements. One for the Christian or Saved or Born Again persons called the Judgement Seat of Christ or the Bema Seat of Christ. [Romans 14:10-12 and 2 Corinthians 5:10.] Both of these are in context as Paul addressing believers or Christians, this is not a judgement of condemnation but a judgement of what we have done for Christ and His Kingdom. These as the Bema Seat implies are where rewards are granted as crowns.[2 Timothy 2:5,James 1:12, 1 Peter 5:4, and Revelation 2:10.] The other Judgement is referred to as the Great White Throne Judgement [Revelation 20:11-15]. This Judgement is for those whose names are not listed in the Lamb's Book of Life or the Lost. The timing of this Judgement is after the millennium and after Satan, the beast and the false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire.[Revelation 20:7-10] Either, one will stand as a child of God and be rewarded or lose rewards, but still have eternal life with God forever or one will stand as God's enemy and be judged and experience the Second Death [Revelation 21:8] and eternally be punished and separated from God. It is our choice which experience we will face as [Hebrews 9:27] says we will all face judgement.
The Bible say that everyone will be judged - both righteous and wicked: "I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work" (Ecclesiastes 3:17). "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil" (2 Corinthians 5:10). "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14 NKJV).
There is only one God, who is therefore the God of every person on earth, regardless of ethnicity or earthly religion. As such, all people will be accountable to Him for how their lives on earth have been spent (Romans 14:10-12). As Jesus said, they will be judged according to the amount or degree of knowledge that they had (Luke 12:47-48). As a minimum, that will mean that they will at least be judged by the extent to which they conformed their actions to the guidance of their conscience, which (as Paul said in Romans 2:12-16) has been given by God to all people. Unfortunately, no one has succeeded in the perfect conformance that a holy God requires. Mercy will be shown only to those who place their faith in Christ, and in His satisfaction of the penalty for humanity's sins that He accomplished through His sinless life, sacrificial death, and resurrection (rather than in their own imperfect righteousness) in order to attain to eternal life in God's presence. Their sins will have been covered (Romans 4:5-8), and God will see in them only the perfect righteousness of Christ, rather than their sin. (Christians will also be judged and rewarded on the basis of the "fruit" that they bore for God after being saved (1 Corinthians 3:10-15), but their salvation will not be in question.)
Heaven is not a reward for good works or keeping the law. Heaven is a free gift to all that believe the gospel. First Corinthians 15:1-4. Romans 6:23 and Romans 4:5. But how we live after we have received the free gift we will be rewarded or loss of rewards on our works. Our works never count toward salvation, Jesus paid for that and gives it to us as a free gift. But even though we are saved by grace without works, after we are saved we will be rewarded for our works. Whether they are good or evil. God will be the judge. I believe much will depend on how we treat other people. And not living in pride and self righteousness, He has given us His righteousness. Romans 4:6 through the Holy Spirit of promise. We have no righteousness of our own. But we will be rewarded on the good things we have done. Jesus said even a cold drink given in His name would be rewarded in heaven. It may be the little things we do more than the big things. There are five crowns listed that we can earn. Those who are saved will be given a crown of righteousness for overcoming the sin in their lives. There will be a crown for those looking for His rapture of the church. If we live a life of sin after we have been given eternal life, we will be saved so as by fire. All our works will be burned up, but we still will be saved. We are not saved by works, but our good works done after we are saved will earn us rewards in heaven.
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