Summary: The idea that saved people will experience a grilling judgment of everything they have done does not set well with many believers, but it is clearly taught in Scripture. This raises some questions!
The Believers Judgment: Setting the Stage (Romans 14:10-12) Second in series
1. There are a zillion jokes about heaven, but I have limited time, so here is one.
2. At the pearly gates, St. Peter greeted a minister and congressman and gave them their room assignments.
"Pastor, here are the keys to one of our nicest efficiency units. And for you, Mr. Congressman, the keys to our finest penthouse suite."
"This is unfair!" cried the minister.
"Listen," St. Peter said, "ministers are a dime a dozen up here, but this is the first congressman we've ever seen." [beliefnet.com]
3. In a more serious vein, let me remind you that heaven is a gift of grace for all those who have accepted Christ as their Savior, not a reward. But we can earn rewards that we will enjoy eternally in heaven.
4. R. C. Sproul put it this way: “…the only way we get into heaven is through the work of Christ, but we are promised rewards in heaven according to our works.”
5. Before we are given our rewards, we are judged, evaluated; our lives reviewed.
Main Idea: The idea that saved people will experience a grilling judgment of everything they have done does not set well with many believers, but it is clearly taught in Scripture. This raises some questions!
A. The general principle: all people will be JUDGED for everything they do (Ecclesiastes 12:14).
“For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”
B. Believers will be judged at the Judgment SEAT (Bema) of Christ (Romans 14:10)
This event will occur immediately following the rapture or resurrection of the church after it is caught up to be with the Lord in the air as described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. I have pasted an argument to this effect in your notes to see we think this.
Arguments in support of this view:
(1) In Luke 14:12-14, reward is associated with the resurrection and the rapture is when the church is resurrected.
(2) In Revelation 19:8, when the Lord returns with His bride at the end of the tribulation, she is seen already rewarded. Her reward is described as fine linen, the righteous acts of the saints—undoubtedly the result of rewards.
So the order of events will be (a) the rapture which includes our glorification or resurrection bodies, (b) exaltation into the heavens with the Lord, (c) examination before the Bema, and (d) compensation or rewards. [source: https://bible.org/article/doctrine-rewards-judgment-seat-bema-christ]
C. The LOST (generally) will appear before the Great White Throne to determine the degree of their condemnation (Revelation 20:11-15).
II. How EXTENSIVE Will This Judgment Seat Experience Be?
Sometimes I think that it will be great to have people who wronged me give an account before the Lord and squirm in shame.
• But I will have to give an account for the people I have wronged and the things I have done.
• A double-edged sword.
A. Our DEEDS (what we do) (I Peter 1:17)
And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile,
B. Our THOUGHTS and intentions (Hebrews 4:12-13)
C. The things we SAY (Matthew 12:36)
D. Our MOTIVES (I Corinthians 4:3-5)
I Samuel 16:7, “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
E. What we thought were SECRETS
“…on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.” Romans 2:16
F. Our UNCOFESSED sins
“But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged” (I Corinthians 11:31).
G. Our CONFLICTS and relational sins (I Corinthians 4:3-5)
But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.
1. Divorces/Financial swindles
2. Power plays/Ego trips