God’s Plan is a transactional one. Throughout the whole of the Bible it is faith and repentance in exchange for salvation. Coming to God in faith, acknowledging my sinfulness, and receiving from Jesus the gift of forgiveness.
The reality of this is born in an individual’s heart when the individual realizes that, when I come to Christ, I will receive not what I deserve, which is judgment, but I will receive mercy and forgiveness.
But, you say, wait a minute. What about Ecclesiastics 12:13-14? Every work and secret thing will be judged for good or evil. How does that work?
Here’s how you get verse 13 and 14 sorted out in your head. The same as writings of great theologians can help us understand the Word, great hymns, too, can explicate the Word. The hymn From Whence This Fear And Unbelief (Augustus Toplady, (Rock of Ages)) can give us insight on this faith and repentance for forgiveness transaction. Here, from the hymn:
“From whence this fear and unbelief?
Hath not the Father put to grief
His spotless Son for me?
And will the righteous Judge of men
condemn me for that debt of sin
which, Lord, was charged on Thee?”
Why am I in this position? Have I not come to receive in Christ forgiveness for my sin? So will the righteous Judge of men condemn me for the debt of sin which was paid by Christ on the cross? That wouldn’t be right.
And then the answer:
“Complete atonement Thou hast made,
and to the utmost farthing paid
whate’er Thy people owed;
nor can His wrath on me take place,
if sheltered in Thy righteousness,
and sprinkled with Thy blood.
Turn then, my soul, unto thy rest;
the merits of thy great High Priest
have bought thy liberty;
trust in His efficacious blood,
nor fear thy banishment from God,
since Jesus died for thee.”
Yes there will be an reckoning, but not the ‘heaven or hell’ kind. We will be required to give an account for our lives, especially the part after we surrendered to Jesus as our Lord and Savior. And there may be consequences. But losing our eternal life is not one of them.
[Paraphrase from a message on Ecclesiastics 12 by Alistair Begg, Truth For Life, / Remember, Encore 2019]