Summary: A doctrinal and practical understanding of the Judgment Seat of Christ that all Christians will stand before one day.
Two most important judgments in the future: Great White Throne Judgment and Judgment Seat of Christ (Bema).
I. The Meaning of Bema Judgment.
Bema = a Greek word translated in English as “judgment seat.”
At the large Greek Olympic was an elevated seat that the competitors would assemble before to receive their rewards and crowns.
II. The Evidence of the Bema Judgment.
Rom. 14:10-12 10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written:“As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.” 12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.
1 Cor. 3:9 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field (agriculture metaphor), you are God’s building (architecture metaphor). 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ (the “Rock”). 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, (what are you building your life upon?) 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him (lost man). For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
2 Cor. 5:9 9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
III. The Purpose of the Bema Judgment
A. What the Purpose of the Bema is not.
1. Not to determine if going to heaven or not.
2. Not to punish you for sins committed either before or after saved.
3. Not purgatory.
Our salvation is based on grace = Eph. 2:8,9
But Eph. 2:10 affirms that works done after salv. are important to God.
B. What the purpose of the Bema is.
1 Cor. 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.
We will give an account as stewards of our Lord.
a. In the past, God dealt with us as sinners.
b. In the present, God deals with us as sons.
c. In the future, He will deal with us at the bema as stewards.
What happens at the judgment seat can have permanent consequences.
There are degrees of punishment in hell and degrees of reward in heaven.
IV. The Time of the Bema.
Between the Rapture and 2nd Return of Christ.
V. How Will We Be Judged?
Stripped of every outward façade of respectability
Openly revealed in the full reality of one’s character
All hypocrisies and concealments
All our secrets, intimate sins of thought and deed
Opened to the scrutiny of Christ
All false accusations leveled against you will be brought to light.
Cruelty, gossip, and misunderstandings will be cleared up.
All “he said, she said” arguments will cease.
Nothing but facts, nothing but the truth.
If you need vindication, you will have it.
If you need to be shown your error, you will have that too.
No time will be needed to gather evidence.
No jurors will be selected to hear the arguments
We will not dispute the outcome.
We will not disagree with Christ, because we will know He is right.
C. Impartially: Romans 2:11
No special advantages are given to the wealthy.
Those who counted on perks and power in this life find themselves stripped of every crutch.
Every trappings of man will fade into insignificance in the presence of the
One who discerns the “thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).
Pastors and missionaries will not be given preferential treatment.
In fact, those who teach the Word of God will be judged by “a stricter judgment” (Jas. 3:1)
He will inspect the rubies as well as the rubble.