II 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.
There’s an event upon leaving this life that may not be all that pleasant. All Christians will stand before God and give account of the deeds done in this life. This is the Judgment Seat of Christ. I can almost see one of the things to occur after this life happening, because this could be the very time that God wipes away all tears. I see tears at this event as God shows us what we could have done but didn’t. Out of a heart of regret, tears will fall. At the Great White Throne judgment the unbeliever will appear before God. However, this passage refers to believers. Why a Great White Throne judgment? A person’s fate has already been sealed because in this life he/she refused Jesus Christ as Savior. They will hear the Lord say depart from me. I never knew you. The reason people go to hell is because they reject Christ as the way to heaven. Why the Judgment Seat of Christ? The destiny of those here has been determined as well. Eternal life is given to believers–by grace through faith, not of works lest any should boast–at salvation. Because you accepted Christ as Savior you will appear at this judgment. It is for rewards for the life lived after salvation. Being saved doesn’t take away the need for our continued obedience to God. If a person is truly born again, his/her life changes. All things become new. We will give an account of how we have lived since we accepted Jesus Christ as Savior.
When does it take place? This is what I believe the Bible teaches. Following the rapture of the church, when the saved will be caught up to meet the Lord, the earth will be plunged into seven years of tribulation. The church is gone and God’s wrath is unleashed on the earth. Believers caught up in the rapture will go to the Judgment Seat of Christ and then the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Following these times, Christ physically returns to the earth for the 1,000 year millennial reign. This is the second coming of Christ. Don’t get them mixed up. The first was the rapture; Jesus doesn’t come to earth; he remains in the air. When the reign of Christ begins, the Bible says the saints will come with him to the earth.
What is the purpose of the Judgment Seat of Christ? We have a soul; nothing else in creation does. When God created man from the dust of the ground, he just lay there until God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2 gives us this account. God did this for nothing else but mankind. The soul is the real you, what you cannot see. When you die, this body goes to the dust. Your soul will leave the body and as a believer you’ll be in the presence of the Lord. This judgment is not to judge sins committed. To that we should all say THANK GOD. MY SINS ARE GONE! Judgment for sins took place at Calvary. Hebrews 10:17 says their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. This judgment won’t determine if we go to heaven or hell. We all determine before death which judgment we’ll attend. Some ask “what about purgatory?” There is no such place. The Bible doesn’t teach anything about a place to go between death and heaven or hell. However you die–with or without Christ–is how you’ll face God. You’re either saved or lost when you die.
The Judgment Seat of Christ has to do with rewards. Some say the joy of serving the Lord is a reward in itself. That is true. In Revelation 22:12 Jesus said I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. In First Corinthians 3:8 Paul said every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor. These are some places that verify there will be rewards. There will be degrees of rewards here; I also believe there will be degrees of punishment in hell.
Here are five crowns that believers can receive at the Judgment Seat of Christ. (1) Incorruptible Crown: In I Corinthians 9:25 Paul said And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. This is for those who master the old person. I’m still working on that, still growing in the Lord. Let’s strive for this crown. (2) Crown of Rejoicing: In I Thessalonians 2:19 Paul said For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? This crown is for soul winners. God help us lead others to know him as Savior. (3) Crown of Life: James said in 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. When a person endures trials and overcomes them, a crown of life is promised. (4) Crown of Righteousness: In II Timothy 4:8 Paul said Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. I’d welcome his appearance right now. Would you? (5) Crown of Glory: In I Peter 5:4 he said And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. This crown is for those faithful in feeding the flock of God. I trust God will count me worthy to receive this crown.
Whatever the number of crowns we get, Revelation 4:10 tells us crowns will be cast at the feet of Jesus because he is worthy to receive them. Many Christians will face regret. First Corinthians 3 bears this out: 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. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. It is mentioned this way in scripture. Some works are wood, hay and stubble–not of any worth. Other works are gold, silver, and precious stones. What happens to these when put in the fire? Wood, hay and stubble burns up; it’s gone while the others survive the fire. It’s not how much work you’ve done but what kind. Would you rather have a truckload of diamonds or a truckload of hay? Think about what kind of work you have done, what you are doing. You’ll be judged for it. Some are valued by God while the rest will be burned up. You could face God singed at the coat tails. You would have no work to be rewarded. To that some say heaven will be reward enough. That’s true as well, but just getting in isn’t all that matters. I have escaped the damnation of hell. It should matter to me what happens to others. The rich man in hell didn’t want his brothers to come to that awful place. We should care and work to get others to heaven with us.
Christian, are you ready to meet Christ? Does your work glorify yourself or God? Pride gets in the way of all of us from time to time; we must strive to do things for God and not for our benefit. Are your treasures in heaven or on the earth? If I hear the trumpet today, I want to go. There is nothing worth holding me here. What awaits the believer is better. So I say “Lord Jesus, come quickly.” Will you have regrets for what you could have done, could have been for God? God help us all to hear well done thou good and faithful servant.