The Judgment Seat of Christ
2 Cor. 5:10
We have talked about the rapture the other Sunday. Immediately after the rapture which will happen any moment now, we will be judged by our Lord. The word judgment puts fear in our hearts for we are all guilty before God. All have sinned and therefore will be judged. However, true believers or true Christians will be dealt with differently. We will be standing at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
I. The Bible list at least seven different Judgments.
1. The Lord Jesus Christ on the cross being judged for our sins
2. The Christian’s self-judgment. 1 Cor. 11:31
3. The Judgment Seat of Christ. (Bema in Greek)
4. The Judgment of the nations. Mat. 11:25:32 the sheep and the goat nations.
5. The Judgment of Israel. Ezek. 20:30-44, after or post Tribulation
6. The Judgment of the angels. Jude 6
7. The Great White Throne Judgment. Rev. 20:12. Final judgment of the unsaved.
More than four out of every five Americans agree that “we all will be called before God at judgment day to answer for our sins,” says a poll conducted for the Times Mirror Company.
In a book entitled Down to Earth, John Lawrence tells the story of a city that dared God to show Himself and paid a terrible price. It seems that the city of Messina, Sicily, was home to many wicked, irreligious people. On December 25, 1908, a newspaper published in Messina printed a parody against God, daring Him to make Himself known by sending an earthquake. Three days later, on December 28, the city and its surrounding district was devastated by a terrible quake that killed 84,000 people.
II. The Place of the Judgment Seat (Bema)
A. It is a common belief that this event will take place in the air. This fact is taken from 1 Thess. 4:13-17 which speaks of the Second Coming, the first resurrection, then tells that “… to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall ever be with the Lord.
III. Who will be judged?
A. Only true believers in Christ. In 2 Cor. 5, the pronoun “we” is used at least 26 times and it only refers to believers. 1Co 3:1,11-12
B. No unbelievers for they will not be raptured. Unbelievers will suffer tribulation in the hand of the anti-Christ. However, lots of them will be saved also but they will seal their testimony with their blood. Rev. 7: 9-14.
IV. What will be judged?
A. Salvation is not the question or topic here. The salvation issue is already settled in life here on earth. Jn. 3:16-18.
B. It is to examine the believer’s service, not to determine his salvation (1 Cor. 3:8,10,13).
C. The believer is judged as a son and an heir.
D. Sins committed before conversion will not be judged. Hebrews 10:17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Forgiven and washed by the atoning blood of the Lamb.
E. Believer’s sins committed and confessed after conversion will not be judged. 1 Jn. 1:9. Confessed sin is forgiven and cleansed forever.
1. Our works will be judged. 1 Cor. 3:13, Eccl.12:14
a. How we use our money. 1 Tim. 6:17-19
b. How we suffer for Jesus. 1 Pet. 4:12, 13
c. How many souls have we won to Christ. Dan. 12:3
d. How we spend our time. Eph. 5:16
e. How we treat other Christians. Heb. 6:10
f. How we use our talents for the Lord’s service. 2 Tim. 1:6
2. Our Words will be judged. Mat. 12:36-37
3. Our thoughts. Mat. 15:19,20
4. Our Secrets. Rom. 2:16
5. Our motives:
a. Correct motives – constrained by His love. 1 Cor. 5:14
b. Wrong – self-glory, 1 Cor. 3:21
V. How will God Judge at the Bema?
A. The test will be by fire. 1 Corinthians 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
B. This will be a fair and just trial for the Lord Jesus Christ is the Judge. No one can say that he showed partiality.
VI. Results of the Judgment Seat
A. For the works that remain, there will be rewards. For that which is burned, the individual will suffer loss. 1 Corinthians 3:15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
B. The Bible does not tell what the loss will be. If the reward is a crown, the loss of a reward or loss of a crown will bring shame, for we will not have a crown to lay at the feet of Jesus Christ.
Illustration: Building materials
Building Materials are of two classes:
1. Fireproof – gold, silver, and precious stones
2. Combustible – wood, hay, stubble
What works are represented by fireproof materials?
1. Righteous and clean life in the sight of the Lord.
2. Honesty before God and before man.
3. A life of faith, faith in God and in the Word of God
4. True love. 1 Cor. 13
5. Patience. 2 Pet. 1:6
6. Meekness and humility. Mat. 11:28-29
7. Peaceful. Mat. 5:9, 2 Tim. 2:22
What works are represented by combustible materials?
1. All forms of sin and wickedness
2. Cheating, graft, and bribery, so rampant and so hateful to the Lord.
3. All forms of dishonesty will be completely burned.
4. Carnal living.
5. Good things done with wrong motives.
VII. How can we be prepared?
A. By constant communion with our Saviour Jesus Christ, and by much self-examination.
B. By constant confession of my sins. Don’t repeatedly do the same sin in again and again.
C. By much prayer and meditation on the Word of God. By constant attention to the will of the Holy Spirit.
D. By having a conscience void of offence before God and men. Acts. 24:16
The judgement Seat of Christ should never instil fear in our hearts. It should be the one of the best days of our lives. Are you ready for the Bema? If not, it’s time for you to repent and receive Christ as your personal Saviour. Do it now for tomorrow will be too late.
Note: most of the materials here were taken from the book of A.Douglas & Wilmington.