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. ~2 Corinthians 5:10
Many years ago, I was requested to appear as a witness in an administrative case against someone accused of embezzlement. The room I waited in had a judge’s chair that was elevated and behind the flags of the United States and California. As I looked at the judge who sat on that chair, I thought about the importance of that judge to evaluate all the facts and testimonies that would be given to him and the final judgment he would make on the accused. This morning, we want to consider what is known as the Bema Seat of Judgment.
Let us see what this is.
The Bema Seat was the seat of a judge. It was either an elevated seat or a seat on an elevated platform where a judge sat. Those being evaluated or judged would stand below this seat, looking up. It was prominent as the seat of a judge during the Olympic Games. There, this judge could see the contest clearly and come to a truthful decision about the outcome. At the judgment seat, rewards were given to the victors and nothing to those who were losers. Paul stood before the judgment seat of Gallio in Corinth and the judgment seat of Festus in Caesarea. It could be that these two events embedded in his heart the idea of the judgment seat of Christ. Again, it was at the judgment seat that a fate, decision, or reward would be determined by a ruling judge.
Let us see who will appear.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.” Everyone who is saved will appear at this judgment seat. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the sole Judge sitting on this seat. No saved individual is exempt. No saved person will be absent. Every saved person has the same appointment date with Jesus. It will occur immediately following the Rapture in Heaven. Just as when an Olympic race was over and all the contestants were required to stand before the judgment seat, every believer will stand before Jesus.
Let us see what will be decided.
“That every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” The Bema Seat is a judgment of the believer’s works. It is not a judgment of our sin. Our sin was judged at the cross. It is a judgment of how well you ran the race and whether you finished well. It is a judgment that determines the reward of crowns in Heaven. It is a judgment of souls brought to Christ, how we did when we went through trials and difficulties, if we lived in the discipline of a Spirit-led life or a life lived in the flesh, what we did with our spiritual gifts and the opportunities God gave us, and if we love the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our material, methods, and motives in service and works will be reviewed. All of our works will be tried by fire to see what sort it is. If it burns, it is an indication that our material, methods, and motives did not glorify God. If it passes through the fire, it is considered as valuable as gold, silver, and precious stones.
Let us see how we can prepare.
“And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming” (1 John 2:28). Stay close to Jesus in fellowship, in service, in witness, in your earthly relationships, and with Him. When we are close in our fellowship, we will have confidence that we will not be ashamed when we stand at His judgment seat.
The race we are running will one day come to a finish. Will you finish as a winner or a loser? Be ready to stand before Jesus as one who finished his race well.
Have a productive God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Jeremiah 26-29