Romans 14:10, "But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? For we shall stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ".
2 Corinthians 5:10, "For we must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ: that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
A) What is the Judgment Seat of Christ?
The Judgment Seat of Christ will be the judgment given by Christ to His Saints. At this judgment the saints of God will receive or lose rewards. The Judgment Seat of Christ will not be a judgment of condemantion or one of eternal damnation for those who lose rewards, but rather a rewarding for our service as Christians. Those who are blessed to receive rewards at this judgment will receive crowns and dominions of authority in Christ's Millennial kingdom. This judgment will only be for Christian. No sinners will appear at this judgment. All through the Scripture, Christ has promised rewards for those who overcome. The Judgment Seat of Christ will be the place where these rewards will be given to those saints who have overcome.
B) Outline for this Study
1.) The Meaning of the Judgment Seat of Christ:
- The meaning of the Judgment Seat of Christ
- The purpose of the Judgment Seat
- Rewards vs. Awards
- The promise of rewards for service
- The time frame of the Judgment Seat
- How will Christ judge at this Judgment?
- The Rewards given at the this Judgment Seat
The Judgment Seat is translated (Beam Seat). L. Sale-Harrison in his book, Judgment Seat of Christ, p.8 states:
"In the Grecian games in Athens, the old arena contained a raised platform on which the president or umpire of the arena sat. Form here he rewarded all the contestants: and here he would reward all winners. It was called the "Bema" or "Reward Seat". It was never used as a judicial bench".
As we will note through out our study, the Judgment Seat of Christ will not be a judgment of eternal condemnation, on those who lose rewards. They will still have the gift of salvation purchased for them by the Blood of christ. The Scriptures declare that in Christ there is no condemnation.
Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
John 5:24, Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word; and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into comdemnation; but is passed from death unto life."
Arthur Pridham, in his book, Notes and Reflections on the Second Epistle to the Coninthians p. 141, states:
"A saint will never again come into judgment on account of his natural or ingerited iniquity, for he is already dead judicially wiht Christ, and is no longer known or dealt with on the footing of his natural responsibility. As a man he has bee weighed and found wanting. He was born under condmenation, to a natural heritage of wrath, and nothing good has been discovered in is flesh; but his quilt has been obliterated by the blood of his Redeemer, and he is freely and justly pardoned for his savior's sake. Because Christ is risen frm the dead, he is no longer in his sins. He is justified by faith, and is presented in the name and on the merits of the Just One before God: and of this new and ever blessed title to acceptance the Holy Spirit is the living seal and witness. Into judgment, therefore, on his own account he cannot come..."
2.) The Purpose of the Judgment Seat of Christ:
1 Corinthians 5:10,
"...that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
This judgment will be based on what we hae done in own bodies. Christ will give rewards based on performance in the kingdom. In order for anyone to appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ, one must first be born again, washed in blood of Christ. At this judgment, our works will be judged for rewards, not to validate salvation. This is one difference between the Judgment Seat of Christ and The Great White Throne Judgment. Those at the Whithe Throne Judgment will be condemned. Now man's works will be accepted without the blood of Christ. This is why, at the Judgment Seat of Christ, a man may lose rewards for poor service, but not lose his salvation. Salvation is a gift of God that the Christian can not work for. The purpose of the Judgment Seat of Christ, is to reward the saints of God who have overcome this world.
3.) Rewards vs. Awards at the Judgment Seat of Christ:
At the Judgment Seat, men will receive rewards and not awards. There is a difference.
Rewards are always based on service, whereas awards are based on decision.
Rewards def. 1) Something given in return for good or, sometimes, evil, or for service or merit. 2) compensation; profit; 3) to give a reward to. 4) to give a reward for service. 5) reward usually refers to something given in recompense for a good deed, for merit, etc. 6) priaze applies to something won in competition.
Awards def. 1) to give, as by legal decision, adjudg: as the plaintiff was awarded his damages. 2) to give as the result of judging or considering: grant: as we award a prize for the best essay.
At the Judgment Seat of Christ, the rewards will be given on the basis of a man's service for Christ after salvation. If a man's service is great in the kingdom, His reward will be great in Heaven at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
4.) The Promise of Rewards for Service:
All through the Scriptures, we have been promised rewards. The Word of God declares that God remembers our work and labor of love.
Hebrews 6:10, "For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shown toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister."
Let's notice in the Scripture, the promise of rewards for every man's work and service, whether it be good or bad.
a) 1 Corinthians 3:8, "Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and everyman shall receive his own reward according to his own labour."
b) Psalm 62:12, "Also unto thee, O Lord, Belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to everyman according to his work."
c) Romans 2:6, "Who will render to every man according to his deeds:"
d) Luke 14:14, "And thou shalt be blessed: for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just."
Here the word recompense in the Greek, antapodidomi (an-tap-odee-do-mee) means to repay, requite reward (good or evil).
e) Matthew 16:27,, "For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works."
f) Revelation 22:12, "And behold I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be."
g) Jeremiah 17:10, "I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings."
h) Jeremiah 32:19, "Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the Sons of men: to give every one to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings:"
i) Proverbs 24:12, "...and shall not he render to every man according to his works?"
j) Hebrews 6:10, "For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shown toward this name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister."
3.) The Time Frame of the Judgment Seat of Christ:
Luke 14:14, "...For thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just."
This judgment will occur immediately following the Rapture of the Church. Our Lord stated in this verse, that He would recompense the Just at the time of their resurrection. The Rapture of the Chruch consists of the resurrection of the Just (those who have died in Christ) and the catching up of the Saints (those who are alive and remain). This is the major event that our Lord is referring to in Luke 14:14. The Judgment Seat of Christ and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb both occur simultaneously in Heaven with the 7 years Great Tribulation Period that is unfolding on Earth.
2.) How will Christ judge at this time?
2 Corinthians 5:10, "For we must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done whether it be good or bad (worthless)".
The question may be asked, how will Christ judge the Church? What will be the things He will look for? At this time Christ will not judge to condemn. The Scripture above seems to conclude that Christ will judge the good and the bad in our lives.
But in the context of this judgment, Christ will judge our works as Christians. The word (bad) here, deals not with ethical or moral evil, but rather its meaning is worthlessness, or good for nothing, the impossibility of any ture gain ever coming forth from it. This notion of worthlessness is the central focus.
Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost: summed it up this way. "Thus the judgment is not to determine what is ethically good or evil.
But rather that which is acceptable and that which is worthless. It is not the Lord's purpose here to chasten his children for their sins, but to reward their service for those things done in the name of the Lord." (Bad, grk. Kakos, worthless)
Now, let us take a look at how Christ is actually going to judge our works. Apostle Paul revealed that our works will fall into one of two categories. Itis of what quality that our works fall into, that will determine whether we will receieve a reward in Heaven.
1 Corinthians 3:8-15, "Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, and stubble;"
1 Corinthians 3:11, "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."
Jesus Christ is the only foundation on which we can build a work for God. After we are Born Again, then we begin our works as believers. The works in our life are built upon that foundation of Jesus Christ. It is from this foundation that God the Father accepts our works and gives us rewards.
Just doing good works does not ensure that we will receive a reward in Heaven.
The Scripture clearly teaches in the book of Isaiah that our natural works (before Salvation) are as filthy rags.
Isaiah 64:6, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities like the wind, have taken us away."
This is why everyone must be Born Again in order for God to accept their works. I must reiterate that our works must be built on the foundation of Jesus Christ and Him alone.
The Apostle Paul gave the warning that we should be very careful how we build on that foundation.
1 Corinthians 3:10, "According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon."
If we observe the Apostle Paul's warning, we too, can become wise master builders in the kingdom of God. And at the time of the Judgment Seat of Christ, our works will stand when the fire of God is applied to see what sort of material we used for building upon our foundation.
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."
That's right! Your work is either gold, silver, precious stones, or wood, hay, and stubble. And only the fire of God can reveal its true character.
1 Corinthians 3:14, "If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward."
Now, when Jesus has tried your works with His fire, if your works remain standing before Him, you will recieve a reward in Heaven. But on the other hand, if your works are burned up you will not receive a reward, but will suffer lost. The only positive note is that although you may lose your rewards at the Judgment Seat, you will not lose your salvation. Because the works here do not determine eternal life.
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."
As a wise master builder, you must know what type of materials you are using in order to build a strong house. We will now look into the Scriptures to see what type of works in Christ are consider gold, silver, and precious stones. When fire is applied to those, they only shine brighter!
Works as: Gold, Silver, and Precious Stones.
Here we will look at works that will ensure a reward in Heaven:
a.) Allowing God to work in us to complete His will:
Ephesians 2:10, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
b.) Rejoicing under Persecution:
Matthew 5:11 & 12, "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake."
Verse 12, "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."
Acts 5:34-41; 41, "And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthly to suffer shame for his name."
1 Peter 4:13, "But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy."
c.) Compassion on those in trouble:
Hebrews 10:34, "For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance."
d.) Being genuine in your service to the Lord:
Matthews 5:16-21; 18, "That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly."
e.) Loving your enemies:
Luke 6:27,35; 35, "But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil."
f.) Preaching the Gospel with a willing heart:
1 Corinthians 9:16,17,, "For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!"
Verse 17, "For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: But if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me."
This is just a few examples of works considered gold, silver, and precious stones. We must have a right heart in our service to the Lord. If we let the love of God direct our service to Him and man, we will be ensured of rewards in Heaven. Why? Because the Scriputres states that love never fails. Love is the gold, silver, and precious stones.
1 Corinthians 13:8, "Charity (love) never faileth..."
Works as: Wood, Hay, and Stubble.
In the natural, these materials can be found anywhere, and in most cases are totally worthless. And none of these material withstand under fire, they are totally consumed when burned.
In the Spiritual realm our works can also fall into the same category of worthlessness, no value, of no moral good, void of the life of God. That is why we are warned to take heed to what kind of materials we are using to build on the foundation of Jesus Christ.
It is now time for us to examine our own works. If what you are doing for Christ is considered wood, hay, and stubble, wouldn't it be better for you to know that now and not on that day that they will be judged?
We will now look at examples of works that will cause us to lose rewards before Christ:
a.) Serving Christ with envy and strife:
Philippians 1:15-18, 15, "Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife;..."
How sad, but true. Today there are many who proclaim the Gospel of Christ with a heart full of strife toward others. While others are envious of the favor of God on certain preachers and are driven to ungodly competition to try to appear successful. Their motivation is not for the things of God.
Philippians 2:3, "Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves."
b.) The Traditions of Men:
Mark 7:6-9, 7, "Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."
Verse, 8, "For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men..."
The traditions of men have really blinded the hearts of God's people. Many think they will have a reward in Heaven, because they keep all the rules of their denomination. They have been motivated to serve by tradition, not by a heart for God. Their motive is wrong. It should be the love of God driving them to serve.
c.) Serving Christ to receive the praise of men:
Matthew 6:16, "Moveover when ye fast, be not as the hypocrites, of a san countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appeear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward."
Many today are serving Christ, but their service is all about them. They have become the center of attraction, not the Lord who has called them. Some will not serve unless they get the credit, while other want to have man's recognition for what they have done. This is wood, hay, and stubble, in our lives!
The Rewards one may obtain at the Judgment Seat of Christ
There are five crowns that believers may receive. Space will only permit us to list the five crowns in this newsletter. In a later study, we will go in-depth to look at more of the rewards promised to us by God.
- The Incorruptible Crown: (Victor's Crown) 1 Corinthians 9:24,25
- The Crown of Rejoicing: (Soul Winner's crown) 1 Thessalonians 2:19
- The Crown of Life: (Martyrs Crown). James 1:12, & Revelation 2:10
- The Crown of Righteous: (Crown of Anticipation) 2 Timothy 4:8
- The Crown of Glory: (Elders Crown) 1 Peter 5:4, & 1 Corinthians 9:16,17
This is just a brief look at the rewards available to believers. God has promised many more exciting rewards for those who serve Him. Remember your motives in serving God and to make sure you always build with the right materials.
Your comments and suggestions are welcomed.
Please send your correspondence to Evangelist Donald Perkins
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