What is the Judgement Seat of Christ?

the Judgement seat of Christ

As Christians, we believe that we will all one day face judgement before God. This judgement is referred to in the Bible as the “judgement seat” or the “bema seat.” But what does the Bible actually say about the Judgement Seat of Christ?

🤓 Nerd Alert!

In the original Greek, “judgement seat” was translated from a single word, “bema“.

A bema was where the judges of athletic games sat. They made sure the rules were followed and they presented the prizes. Their job was not to condemn or punish the contestants.

Are we Judged by our Sins at the Judgement Seat of Christ?

The Judgement Seat is not a place where we stand, cap in hand, waiting to hear whether we get into heaven!  If we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, we are saved by grace through faith and our place in heaven is secure.

We will have to give an account of ourselves and of our service. Sounds terrifying!  Note to self: “You still have time, use it wisely, regret is a terrible thing!”

Judgement Seat of Christ vs White Throne Judgement

Judgement seat of ChristThe Judgment Seat of Christ and the Great White Throne Judgment are not the same. The White Throne Judgment will be the final judgment of the unbelievers and the wicked people, before they are thrown into “the lake of fireRevelation 20:11–15Believers will appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ.

Our works will be judged and rewarded at the Judgement Seat of Christ. 

In 2 Corinthians 5:10, the apostle Paul writes, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” This verse tells us that we will all face judgement and that we will be judged based on the things we have done while we were alive.

The passage literally translates to “we must all be manifested without disguise“, or “in our true character“.  I understand this to mean our motives will be laid bare. On earth, we never really see each other as we really are, only God can see our hearts.

Should we Fear the Judgement Seat of Christ?

The judgement seat is not a place of condemnation, but rather a place of reward.

In 1 Corinthians 3:12-14, Paul writes, “If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward.”

In this passage, Paul uses the metaphor of different building materials to illustrate the concept of judgment and evaluation of a person’s works in the sight of God. The imagery of fire represents the refining and purifying process that will reveal the true quality and worth of each person’s actions and contributions.

Jewels and hay burning

But read on…

1 Corinthains 3:15 goes on to say “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

These passages tell us that our works will be tested by fire, and if they survive, we will receive a reward; but if they fail we will lose our rewards – but will still get into heaven, albeit by the skin of our teeth!

The rewards we receive will be based on the things we did for God’s glory, not for our own gain.

God will scrutinise our works and judge them by “fire“.  Gold, silver and costly stones do not burn.  Wood, hay and straw get burnt up in fire.

It’s important to remember that the judgement seat is not something to fear. If we are living our lives for God and doing good works for His glory, we will receive rewards in heaven. In fact, in Matthew 6:19-20, Jesus tells us, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

How can we Prepare for the Judgement Seat of Christ?

Ultimately, the judgement seat is a reminder that our actions have consequences and that we will be held accountable for the things we do in this life.  

God, who sees our heart, will judge our deeds by our motives and our intentions, so, let’s strive to live our lives for God’s glory and store up treasures in heaven, where they will never fade away.

I will probably be mopping the floors and cleaning the heavenly loos, but I’m going to be there!

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