How Do the Judgment of Faith and the Judgment of Works Differ?

The Bible speaks of two separate judgments: the judgment of faith, and the judgment of works. The judgment of faith determines our inheritance, whereas the judgment of works determines our recompense.

The judgment of faith does not involve our works. For the saint, inheritance is both a Person and a Place: God Himself, as well as Heaven. There are many Scriptures that touch on this, including: Ephesians 1:11-14, Hebrews 9:15, and Romans 8:17. Salvation itself, both as promised and as already bestowed, is designated as an inheritance.

The judgment of works determines our recompense. For the saints, this is a determination of rewards. For the unbeliever, a determination of (degree of) punishment. I would strongly recommend Randys books The Law of Rewards and The Treasure Principle. Both books include a lot of references regarding the various types of rewards that believers can—and are encouraged to—earn. They also list many passages that clearly point to the reality of eternal rewards.

The Greek word for reward, misthos, means a wage, something you earn. Scripture is clear that rewards are earned (Matthew 5:12, 10:41; Luke 6:35). Salvation positively cannot be earned, yet the Lord over and over uses the promise of rewards for our good works as a strong motivation to live righteously.

The following Scriptures cleary teach that entrance into Heaven rests solely on faith alone (in Christ alone) apart from our works. Thus, the determination of ones eternal destiny can be referred to as the judgment of faith: Ephesians 2:4-9, Titus 3:5-7, 2 Timothy 1:9, and Romans 3:27-28.

On the other hand, the following Scriptures speak unmistakably of the judgment of works. For believers, this is the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10, Romans 14:10-12, 1 Corinthians 3:13-14, Matthew 16:27). For unbelievers, this is the great white throne judgment (Revelation 20:11-15, Romans 2:5-16, 1 Thessalonians 1:6-9, and John 5:28-29). References to each of these judgments are spread liberally throughout Scripture.