Q: If our sins are forgiven, what are we going to stand judgment for?
A: Part of the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that "...there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1). This is great news indeed! How amazing that the Holy and Righteous Judge and Creator of the world has made a way for rebellious and wicked sinners to be reconciled to Him.
Jesus the Christ, the one who became accursed by God so that all who believe in Him could be justly forgiven, and who rose from the dead and who is exalted at the right hand of God, has secured a victory over sin, death and the devil both now and forever. On the foundation of this completed work of Christ, believers can have assurance that they will be able to stand on the Day of Judgment. This is why it is good and right to sing the praises of Him who has overcome!
Because of what Jesus has done, the Bible teaches very clearly that our salvation is not on the basis of deeds, but on the basis of God's grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5). However, it is a huge mistake to then believe that the deeds of a follower of Christ no longer matter.
What a tragic and blasphemous mistake to think of Jesus simply as a "Get out of Hell Free" card! Jesus is not just a Savior (although He is certainly that). He is also Lord.
Our risen Lord commands (not suggests) that we obey His commandments while we live this life that He has given us. The Bible actually teaches us that our love for our great God and Savior is defined -- not by how much we say it, not by how loud we sing in our worship services, not by how many Christian-themed pieces of artwork we have on display in our homes -- by our obedience (John 14:21, 23; 1 John 5:3).
While believers will not be judged according to their works in relation to salvation, believers will be judged according to their works in relation to their reward (or loss of reward) in heaven.
If we don't understand this distinction in the Scriptures, we may very easily misunderstand (or even ignore!) such plain statements in Scripture like the following:
For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done (Matthew 16:27, NIV).
But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked (Luke 12:48, NIV).
You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. It is written: " 'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.' " So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God (Rom 14:10-12, NIV, emphasis added).
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10, NIV, emphasis added).
There are many other passages that describe this same reality; see Matthew 6:20-21, 25:31-46; Romans 2:6-11; 1 Corinthians 3:8; Galatians 6:9-10; Ephesians 6:7-8; Colossians 3:23-24; 1 Timothy 6:18-19; 2 John 8; Revelation 11:18; 20:12, 15.
Salvation is from the Lamb and Him alone. We will be recompensed for our deeds as stewards of the grace of God. It would do Christians well to take heed the admonition of the Apostle Paul who says: So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31, NIV).
Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God!