THE
JUDGMENT
SEAT
OF
CHRIST

The expression “the judgment seat of Christ” occurs ONLY in Paul’s epistles. It is a translation of the Greek word BEMA, meaning first a step, the space a foot covers, and then a raised place mounted by steps or a platform used as the official seat of a judge. It is used in the Gospels and Acts of the judgement seats of the Roman officials. But for the Body of Christ, the BEMA, or the Judgement Seat of Christ, is found in Romans 14:10 (read)…& 2 Cor. 5:10. You will notice the identical statement in both passages….”We must all stand or appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ”.

The Subjects of the Judgment Seat of Christ

Paul states that WE must all appear at the judgment seat of Christ. We must remember, Pauls Epistles are rightly divided and are addressed to members of the Church, the Body of Christ + nobody else! It is clear & it is certain that Paul is saying ALL members of the body MUST (WILL) appear at the BEMA.

To prove that Paul is not referring to ALL humanity (which would be UNIVERSALISM…the thought that no person will be left behind), he uses the word “WE” 13 times in 2 Cor 5:1-10. UNBELIEVERS will NOT appear before the BEMA. The scriptures are clear through Apostle Paul “ Rom 8:1 “there is, therefore, NOW no condemnation to those who are IN Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit”.

The plain teaching of the scripture is that the penal judgment for sin will never fall upon the believer, WHY? …….Because the penalty for the judgment of sin has already fallen in all it’s completeness upon OUR (the believers) Substitute, the Lord Jesus Christ, when He bore our sins to Calvary.

Ain’t that GOOD NEWS? But there is some BAD NEWS too! For all UNBELIEVERS who denied the Divinity of Jesus Christ, there is the GREAT WHITE THRONE judgment of Revelation 20:11-15, (Must Read)…..This is where the full weight of the penalty of sin is meted out upon unbelievers. And where the consequences of the judgment will be eternal separation from God in the lake of fire.***REMEMBER…that the purpose of the final judgment is not to discover who is saved and who is lost, but to mete out just punishments to those who are lost.

The Purpose Of The Judgment Seat Of Christ

Paul refers to the Bema of Christ only twice twice in His Epistles. One of the outstanding passages, 1 Cor 3:9=15. (READ)…..Here Paul is speaking primarily about Christ’s final appraisal of the work of ministers of the Gospel but the general principle holds true for the life and ministry of all believers. Every beliver’s work shall be tried, tested in the fire. The fire is the DOCTRINE. What have you been building with? What have you been teaching others? Were you rightly dividing the word of truth.

Were you building up the Body of Christ with sound doctrine? ..Gold,….Silver…Precious stones? Did you preach/teach the unsearchable riches of Christ “to make all men see what is the fellowship of THE MYSTERY which from the beginning of the world hath been HID IN GOD…..BUT NOW is revealed unto all flesh! The GOLD, the SILVER, the PRECIOUS STONES with which I build in this DISPENSATION, is the GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD…….READ…Ephesians 3:1-9vss.

Wood…Stubble and Hay is false doctrine (example) …..the Gospel of the Kingdom…..mixing the dispensations.. Time Past, But Now, Ages To Come!     (Romans –Philemon: message to Body of Christ) So, now we see that the purpose of the BEMA, THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST, is:

TO REWARD THE BELIEVER

Although the Christian life is a rewarding experience, in the truest sense of the word, the Christian has not received his reward. The Scriptures indicate that believers will be rewarded for FAITHFULNESS in the following areas:

***FAITHFUL STEWARDSHIP OF THE MYSTERIES OF GOD (1 Corinthians 4:1-5)

This stewardship concerns the SPECIAL REVELATION OF THE MYSTERY which was committed to the Apostle Paul (Eph 3: 1-6) THE MYSTERY REVEALED TO APOSTLE PAUL (OUR APOSTLE)….VS 6 “that the GENTILES should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of HIS promise in Christ, by the gospel”. THE TWELVE had been given the stewardship of the KINGDOM , committed unto them by The Lord Jesus Christ. (St Matt 10:5-7) Now herein lies the problem!

SADLY today, both Romanism and Protestantism have confused the two stewardships !! Ministers of the Word who are wrongly applying truth FOR the Messianic Kingdom ……TO the Church of this Dispensation of Grace, can hardly be called faithful stewards of the Mysteries of God. Such ministers are not building Gold, Silver and Precious stones upon the foundation which Paul, the masterbuilder laid. (1 Cor 3:10) REWARD in this area requires more than simple” Sincerity”. ACCURACY, CAREFUL HANDLING, RIGHT DIVISION OF THE WORD: ………..all of these are essential to FAITHFULNESS of the MYSTERIES OF GOD.

***FAITHFUL STEWARDSHIP OF WORLDLY POSSESSIONS (2 Cor 8:9)

The Israelites were required to pay a 10 percent income tax, better known as the law of the tithe. Believers in this present dispensation are not under the law, thus, we are not subjected to the law of the tithe. However, it is generally conceded that if the law required one tenth of one’s income, the believer under Grace should be constrained by the love of Christ to give at least that if not more. Paul does not specify a certain percentage. He simply encourages the believer that God loves a cheerful giver, READ: (2 Cor 9:6-8)…………Paul simply states “sparse sowing will result in a sparse harvest and that everyman should give “AS HE PURPOSETH IN HIS HEART”…..NOT GRUDGINGLY, OR OF NECESSITY: FOR GOD LOVETH A CHEERFUL GIVER”.

***FAITHFULNESS IN SOUL-WINNING (1 Thessalonians 2:19)

Paul said of those souls that he led to Christ “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of Lord Jesus Christ? For ye are our glory and joy “….Another translation puts it like this; ..”after all, what gives us hope and joy, and what will be our proud reward and crown as we stand before our Lord Jesus Christ when He returns? It is You!! The Old Testament contains a similar promise of reward for Israel…Daniel 12:3vs)

*** FAITHFULNESS UNDER SUFFERING AND TRIAL (2 Timothy 2:12)…Romans 8:17 The Lord promised similar rewards to His earthly disciples….Matt 5:11& 12 vss; Luke 6:22&23

***FAITHFULNESS TOWARD ALL MEN…”And let us not be weary in well doing”……Galations 6:9 & 10vs

The Scripture, in general speaks of the nature of the reward under the figure of a crown (Stephanos). There is another word translated crown (diadema) which always refers to kingly dignity (Rev 12:3, 13:1, 19:12}. (Stephanos) means a garland of laurels or wreath of leaves which was placed upon the head of the victor in athletic contests, or was given as a token of public honor for distinguished service. PAUL contrasts the CORRUPTIPLE CROWN which the athlete receives with the INCORRUPTIBLE CROWN which the believer will receive at the BEMA, the Judgment Seat of Christ (1 Cor 9:25.

  1. Paul speaks of the Crown of Righteousness (2 Timothy 4:6-8vss)…….2. .Paul thinks of His converts as being his CROWN (Philippians 4:1) & (1 Thess 2:19)….3. A CROWN of LIFE is mentioned in James 1:12 & Rev 2:10. It is not clear exactly what the nature of these various CROWNS will be, as with so many other things which concern Heaven and the “life to come. God has not been pleased to reveal many details about the nature of our reward, but He has said enough to motivate the believer to the highest and most heroic service possible. READ:….1 Cor 15:51-54…………55-58vss.

The Purpose Of The Judgment Seat of Christ (cont)

  1. IS TO BRING EVERYTHING TO LIGHT: Paul could say in READ: (1 Cor 4:1-5vss.) vss 4-5 key It is essential for the rewarding of every believer that every hidden thing be brought to light. In that day it may be discovered that those most highly praised of men are the least worthy of praise! We may have completely forgotten a simple word of testimony which we gave for Christ, but in that day discover that it resulted in the salvation of one who later became a missionary greatly used of God. REMEMBER: 1 Thess 2:19 Those led to Christ..”our hope, our joy..our crown of rejoicing”.
  1. TO ELIMINATE EVERY UNWORTHY THING:

1 Cor 3:14) “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss… {rewards)…but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (barely escaping through a wall of fire). Much of so-called Christian service is done in the energy of the flesh; much of it is for the praise of men. Everything that is unworthy of Christ will burn up as wood, hay and stubble! Only what is done for the Glory, eternal praise of Christ will last! It is possible for a believer to be saved but all works burn up. Paul gives a good example of CARNAL works of a believer…..READ 1 Cor. 3:1-4vss…..Ephesians 2:8-9vss

  1. TO GLORIFY CHRIST

…..Apostle Paul makes it clear God accomplishes His work through us in such a way “that no flesh should glory in his presence” (1 Cor. 1:29). Since the judgment seat of Christ will eliminate everything which was done for the praise of men, and since only that which was done for the praise of Christ will be rewarded, the ultimate effect of this judgment will bring praise and glory to Christ. Our service and rewards will be to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14).

  1. THE TIME OF THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST

Second Timothy 4:1vs. Paul informs us that Christ will judge the living and dead at His appearing and His Kingdom. His “APPEARING” has reference to the time of the rapture of the Body of Christ. READ 1 Thess. 4:16-18vss. “HIS KINGDOM”….refers to the time of Christ’s return to the earth after the Tribulation and not to the time of the rapture. Matt 16:27-28 vss

IN CONCLUSION:

It is important to recognize the fact that the penal judgment for sin was borne completely by Christ and that none of it will ever fall upon the believer. The only judgment the believer will undergo is not designed to determine his eternal destiny, but his place of reward in his state of eternal life.

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