1 Corinthians 3:12–13(ESV) - Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.
One of the main purposes of judgment day is to clarify. Notice the words Paul uses in this passage: become manifest, disclose, revealed. All of those words are clarifying words. The day of judgment will clarify a lot of things that will remain foggy up to that point.
Judgment day will clarify the quality of my works. Were they enduring works of God’s powerful Spirit working through me, or were they fleshly efforts of my own doing? On this side of judgment, how could you possibly know for sure?
Judgment day will clarify the motive for my works. Were they done for the glory of God and the good of others or were they done for my own praise or for the glory that I might seek from others? On this side of judgment, how could you possibly know for sure?
Judgment day will clarify the extent of my works. Many things I’ve done remain hidden from men. God’s judgment will show me that nothing was hidden from him. Obviously, this side of that day, how could you possibly know everything I’ve done? I can’t even remember everything I’ve done.
Judgment day will not only clarify me and my lack of conformity to Christ, it will also clearly reveal for the first time how utter glorious Jesus really is. Up to that point what I could not bear to see, I will see without any filters and my faith will become sight. I will clearly see my shortcomings and failures at the same time I see his glory and his perfections. And I will be overwhelmed first at my sin and second at his grace. And with new eyes I will enter eternity to fully enjoy his kindness to somebody like me.
I think this is what Paul is getting at when he told the Ephesian church in Ephesians 2:4–7(ESV) - But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
He is going to show/reveal/disclose/make manifest/clarify just how gracious and kind he is. And it will be a time of difficult, painful, glorious blessing as I enter his presence, only to continue to grow in my understanding of and love for him for the rest of eternity.
I’m certainly not looking forward to judgment day, but I am most certainly looking forward to getting through it so that I will be able to see what now is so foggy, what I can only see dimly through a cloudy mirror, just how sinful I am and just how glorious he is.