Saturday, March 10, 2018

P3 - The Judgment Seat of Christ - Why It Matters To You

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1 Corinthians 3:11-15 "For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire."


Over the last few posts, we have explored the topic of "the judgment seat of Christ". This future event will feature Christ evaluating each Christian's post-conversion life. This event, as we discovered, will occur right after the rapture of the church. For those wanting to review the first post in this series, click here:

We also took the time to survey the types of rewards that Jesus will hand out to those persons demonstrating faithfulness to him in this life. For those interested in reviewing that post, please click here:

In this third and final installment of our series, we want to explore why there must be a judgment seat if the Christian's salvation is a settled matter. We will also suggest two life-practical reasons why Christians ought to take more seriously the kinds of rewards they'll receive while living their lives for Jesus.

Why the judgment seat of Christ, if the Christian's salvation is already a settled matter?

We've looked at when the judgment seat of Christ will occur and what we can expect from it. However, why would Jesus have each of His people stand before His throne for a time of examination and reward, whenever the issue of salvation is not in question? After all, isn't the point of salvation to simply save us from present and future wrath (see Romans 5:9-10; 1 Thessalonians 1:10)? 

Hopefully, the reader has already understood that Christianity is much more than "fire-insurance". Christians are not only saved "from something", but "to something". The Gospel not only provides "fire insurance" but "life assurance". Think about how grateful every Christian will be when they stand before their Lord? Or, think about how much it can motivate present faith to hear the commendation of their Lord: "well done thou good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:21,23). 

Two reasons come to mind as to why Jesus would have Christians stand before him at the "Bema-seat" to give an account.

a. Motivation for godly living. 

Think of someone going to school to get a diploma or a degree. How motivating it is to reflect on that time they step across a stage to get that piece of paper. Or, think about how athletes will train for months to get a medal? Again, motivation is a big factor in how well they train and perform. Motivation is more than appropriate as to why rewards are handed out in either case. Think about how much motivation the Christian needs to live the Godly life. I myself often think about "is it worth it"? 

Whenever I think about seeing the Lord Jesus, hearing his commendation and receiving rewards for having "lived the life well", the virtues His Spirit is working forth in my life are made all the stronger. Passages such as 1 John 3:1-3 connect the Lord's return to how much of a godly life the Christian will lead.

b. Majesty of Christ.

Whenever we turn to Revelation 4:10-11, we find reference to 24 elders, which represent the saints of God in every age. Notice the description of what believers will do when they see their Lord in Revelation 4:10-11,

"the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”

Closing thoughts:

In these last couple of posts, we've considered the subject of the "judgment seat of Christ" or the matter of the Christian's future rewards. We considered the timing this examination of the Christian (following the rapture of the church, 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 2 Corinthians 5:5-10; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; Revelation 19:7-8). We also looked at the particular areas and rewards Christ will give to each believer. We then considered why the judgment seat of Christ will occur. What final thoughts can we offer as we close out our survey of this vital area of Biblical revelation?So many thoughts could be offered, but for sake of time, let me mention a handful to tie our study to a close. 

All of the crowns we looked at earlier are not designed for the Christian to wear around in eternity to boast and say: "look what I've done!" Rather, the purpose of the rewards or crowns is to ascribe glory to Jesus Christ and say, in effect, "look what He has done"! The theme of heaven is the glory of God in Christ. The Christian is destined to reign with Jesus as an heir of God and co-heir with Him (Romans 8:14-16). To point the glory to Jesus Christ is much like Olympic athletes that gladly yield their accomplishments for the raising of the flag of their country while on the podium. The ultimate reason for the Bema-seat or Judgment-seat of Christ is for His church to shine forth and point to Him that made it possible for each Christian to stand before His throne. 

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