Where is the judgment of faith found in the Bible?

Question from a reader:

I understand that the Lord allows His people to either enter the Intermediate Heaven or, if they have not come to the Lord in faith, to be sent to the Intermediate Hell…but I am wondering what passage of Scripture supports this statement. 

Answer from Julia Stager (EPM staff):

In the section of Randy’s book Heaven titled “Do we remain conscious after Death?” (here: http://www.epm.org/resources/2010/Jan/6/do-we-remain-conscious-after-death/) draws the inference from many different scriptures that not only are we conscious, but there is imminent judgment upon our death in this world. Consider also:

Hebrews 9:27-28: And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment

Though this verse is fairly clear, I admit to being surprised that there were not more explicit supporting verses for the theory of immediate judgment upon death, though it seems to be an assumption underlying much of Scripture.

Philippians 1:23: I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.

This verse implies one who knows Christ departs to be with Him, how could we enter the presence of Christ if we had not been found to accept Him as our Savior?

2 Corinthians 5:6-9: So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.

This verse indicates we have two options: home with Christ or away. It implies an immediate judgment upon our departure of this world.

Luke 23:43: Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.

This verse states that on the day of our death, if we have chosen Christ, we will join Him.

The theory of “judgment of faith” is less patent and more latent in the Scriptures, but nevertheless, it is there. By understanding Bible verses within their context and the implications and truths they possess, it seems difficult to draw any conclusion apart from conceding that it seems we face a judgment of faith immediately upon death. 


Julia (Stager) Mayo holds a Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies from Western Seminary, where she works as an administrative assistant. She was previously part of the Eternal Perspective Ministries staff, and still does occasional research work for Randy Alcorn.