Summary: Message 31 in our exposition of Revelation focusing on the judgment seat of Christ.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ
“The Judgment Seat of Christ”
During the 7 year tribulation on earth there are a couple events taking place in heaven. One is the Wedding of the Lamb with the church which we discussed last week. The purpose of human marriage parallels the marriage of Christ and the Church.
1. Marriage is about partnership – companionship
2. Marriage is about potential – completeness
3. Marriage is about pleasure – Communion, intimacy
4. Marriage is about protection – commitment
5. Marriage is about procreation, production , creativity
6. Marriage is about portrayal -- Christlikeness
The other heavenly event during the Great Tribulation is the judgment seat of Christ.
This event is not even mentioned in Revelation. My sense is that since Revelation does not focus on God’s plan for the church but for Israel there is no mention. Paul is the one who discusses a time for the church to be evaluated and rewarded for their service. It is called a bema or judgment seat of God and of Christ. A judgment seat was common in ancient times.
In our culture we would refer to the “bench”. It was the place from which judgments were pronounced.
Bema seat – a raised platform or tribune where a judge would decide cases and reward athletes for their performance in the “games”.
God has turned over all judgment to the Son.
"For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, 23 so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. 24 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. John 5:22-24
42 And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. Acts 10:42
Before we look at the particular passages connected to this event, let’s look at the concept of judgment. The core meaning is to discern between, separate, select, examine, investigate.
It applies to discerning between two parties.
It applies to discerning when sin is destroying a person and the church. 1 Cor 5:12-13
It applies to discerning an infraction of the law and declaring punishment (judgment).
There are two final future judgments.
There will be an evaluation of the service and witness of Christians.
This is called the Judgment seat of Christ or God. For the Christian, this judgment is not something to be feared but anticipated.
We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 1 John 4:16-18
If we know Christ, His love instills confidence to face honest evaluation of our life and ministry.
He is not out to get us. He is out illuminate the truth. Only the truth can truly set us free.
There will be an ultimate judgment of those reject the Father and the Son.
This is called the Great White Throne Judgment found in Revelation.
There is a considerable contrast between these two future judgments.
JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT
Involves the Church; the bride of Christ Involves all people from the beginning whose names are NOT in the
book of life
Involves all those resurrected to glory Involves all those resurrected to punishment
No one goes to hell No one goes to heaven
No unsaved people present No saved people judged but we will assist judgment
Determines reward and responsibility in
eternal kingdom based
on earthly faithfulness Determines degree of eternal punishment in hell based on earthly
Takes place after the rapture Takes place after the millennium
Conducted by Jesus Conducted by God Himself
The judgment of Christians has to do with faithful service. The judgment will determine reward not punishment. It is all about recognition for faithful service. I like to see this as the awards ceremony. It will be a time when Christ recognizes faithful service. Some think that reward should not be a motivation for service. If God offers it, it must be a legitimate factor and motivation.
There are numerous passages that allude to future reward as a present motivation.