Thursday, March 8, 2018

P2 - The Judgment Seat of Christ - What Will Take Place

Image result for bema seat
2 Corinthians 5:10 "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad."


In our last post we began considering the subject of the Christian's future rewards. For those desiring to review the previous post, click here:

We noted that this event, called "the judgment seat of Christ", will occur following the rapture or "catching-away" of Christians by Jesus from this planet before or near the beginning of the seven-year tribulation period. Quite frankly, the subject of future rewards doesn't get mentioned much in pulpits. The value of such a study and the preaching of it is in how it can motivate Christians to more godly living.

As Paul writes in Romans 14:10-12, each Christian will stand before the Lord to "give an account". The opening text in today's post, 2 Corinthians 5:10, indicates that during the judgment seat of Christ examination, believers will be evaluated on the basis of what they did with respect to "deeds done while in the body". Paul's remarks in 2 Corinthians 5:5-10 provide the logic behind why believers must have their physical, glorified resurrected bodies re-united with what will be their perfected, immaterial souls following the rapture of the church. In today's post, we aim to answer the question about the kinds of rewards Christ will issue at His judgment seat or "Bema-seat". 

What kind of rewards will believers receive at the judgment seat of Christ?

As we consider the cluster of texts that discuss the judgment seat of Christ, we discover three particular areas and five particular rewards handed out once every Christian is with the Lord Jesus Christ. 

The three main areas in which each Christian will be examined are the following:

a. The ways in which we conducted our lives following saving faith. Romans 14:10-12

b. The works we did will be examined as to whether they subtracted (i.e. wood, hay, or stubble) or contributed (i.e. gold, silver, precious stones) to the Kingdom (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).

c. The witness of the Christian will be scrutinized with respect to words said and opportunities to share their faith (2 Corinthians 5:5-10)

In the above three areas, the New Testament bears out five main rewards or "crowns" that represent areas of responsibility each Christian has in the course of daily Christian-living. The late Bible scholar J. Dwight Pentecost notes the following headings for these rewards:

a. Incorruptible Crown, given for the mastery of the old-man or the flesh (1 Corinthians 9:25).

b. Crown of Rejoicing, given to soul-winners (1 Thessalonians 2:19).

c. Crown of Life, given for enduring trials (James 1:12).

d. Crown of Righteousness, for loving His appearing (2 Timothy 4:8).

e. Crown of Glory, for feeding the flock (1 Peter 5:4). 

Whenever I scan over the above five rewards and three main areas, I'm immediately convicted, challenged and comforted all at once. The conviction comes when I find myself not doing as well as I ought often-times. I sometimes neglect witnessing opportunities or choose to follow the flesh rather than the Spirit. Some days are "wood,hay and stubble" days for sure. 

The above scriptures challenge the Christian to strive all the more to live a life that is pleasurable to God. After-all, the Christian is saved not only from wrath, sin and hell; but also to to good works (Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 2:12-13; 1 Peter 2:9-12; 2 Peter 1:3-4; Hebrews 10:24-25). It is then I find comfort in knowing that all the good works that I am expected to do post-conversion are as a result of the Holy Spirit empowering me to do such (again, Philippians 2:12-13). Ephesians 2:10 reminds us that such works were "prepared in advance". Thus, in that glorious time in heaven, right after the rapture, whenever I stand before Christ, the glory will not be in my rewards. Rather, the glory will manifest in the raising of the banner of His glorious name. It is in Jesus' accomplishments on the cross that believers derive any credit to live this life and to stand blameless before His throne. 
More next post....