A man’s life cannot be perfectly judged until it is over. As long as he is still living, his life is a work in progress. But at death it is too late for him to do anything that will affect the judgment of his life.
Hebrews 9:27-28 draws a parallel between that fact, common to us all, and the unique position of Jesus:
“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”
Christ has already done, once and for all, everything necessary to deal with sin. So in that sense, his work is finished. But in another sense, His work continues because it is still bearing fruit on earth by the saving of souls and the transforming of lives. Every soul saved bears fresh witness to the infinite value of the cross.
Just as all men are appointed to judgment, Jesus Christ will also be judged on the earth, but not in a negative way. He will be judged in the sense that His life and work will be fully appreciated at last. His life’s work cannot be judged in this sense yet, not until He returns. Because, although His work is perfect and finished, every person that is saved by faith in Him demonstrates its power all over again. Every good deed done in His name is further proof of His victory.
The earth eagerly awaits the return of Jesus. Then it will witness all the people ever saved by the blood of Jesus coming together to glorify God through Him. Only then, when Jesus returns to judge the world, will it be clearly seen who the greatest heroes of human history are. They will be those who have dedicated their lives to God’s purpose in Christ Jesus. The world will see that God has made His saints into heroes.
Jesus Christ accomplished the eternal purpose of God in the life He lived and gave away. The total worth of that accomplishment, while apprehended by faith, is yet to be seen on earth.
It will be seen when Jesus returns. He will return with his saints because by them He will display the infinite greatness of the purpose that He has accomplished on this earth. At last the entire cloud of witnesses will testify together to the universe, as if to say, “This is our beloved Lord, in whom we are well-pleased. Hear Him!”