Skip to comments.The Judgment Seat of Christ for Believers (The Judgment of Christians)
Posted on 07/28/2012 12:43:56 PM PDT by xzins
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (5:10)
Driving Pauls noble ambition was the knowledge that there would be a penetrating uncovering of the depths of his heart by the Lord Himself. That will take place in the future when believers must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. The strong terms must and all stress the inevitability and comprehensiveness of this event. That knowledge produced in Paul strong motivation to please God in this life.
Phaneroō (appear) means, to make manifest, to make clear, to make visible, or to reveal. Commenting on the meaning of phaneroō, Philip E. Hughes writes, To be made manifest means not just to appear, but to be laid bare, stripped of every outward façade of respectability, and openly revealed in the full and true reality of ones character (The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, The New International Commentary on the New Testament [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992], 180). Some have argued that believers secret motives and heart attitudes will be made manifest to the holy angels; there is, however, no biblical support for such speculation. Others hold that the disclosure of which Paul writes will be to other believers, a view also without biblical support. Believers will be too preoccupied with the unveiling of their own deeds to pay attention to the revealing of others. Nor do believers hearts need to be made manifest to the omniscient God, who already knows every detail of their lives.
In that day, the full truth about their lives, character, and deeds will be made clear to each believer. Each will discover the real verdict on his or her ministry, service, and motives. All hypocrisy and pretense will be stripped away; all temporal matters with no eternal significance will vanish like wood, hay, and stubble, and only what is to be rewarded as eternally valuable will be left. First Samuel 16:7 declares that God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. There is no creature hidden from His sight, the writer of Hebrews adds, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do (Heb. 4:13). The true assessment of the work God has done in and through believers will be disclosed on that day.
Believers will not be judged for sin at the judgment seat of Christ. Every sin of every believer was judged at the Cross, when God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21). At the cross Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us (Gal. 3:13). As our substitute, He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Peter 2:24); He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God (Heb. 10:12; cf. Eph. 1:7; 4:32; 1 John 2:12). Because of His atoning sacrifice on our behalf, There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us (Rom. 8:1, 34). But though salvation is not by works, works are the inevitable result of true salvation. Philip Hughes comments,
It is worth remembering that a passage like this shows that, so far from there being discord, there is an essential agreement between the teaching of Paul and that of James on the subject of faith and works. The justification of the sinner, it is true, is by faith in Christ and not by works of his own; but the hidden root of faith must bring forth the visible fruit of good works. This fruit is expected by Christ, for it brings glory to the Father and is evidence to the world of the dynamic reality of divine grace. And it is especially in the bearing of much fruit that the Father is glorified (Jn. 15:8). (The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 183. Italics in original.)
Judgment seat translates bēma, which, in its simplest definition, describes a place reached by steps, or a platform. The Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) uses it that way in Nehemiah 8:4. In Greek culture bēma referred to the elevated platform on which victorious athletes received their crowns, much like the medal stand in the modern Olympic games. In the New Testament it was used of the judgment seats of Pilate (Matt. 27:19; John 19:13), Herod (Acts 12:21), and Festus (Acts 25:6, 10, 17). There was also a bēma at Corinth, where unbelieving Jews unsuccessfully accused Paul before the Roman proconsul Gallio (Acts 18:12, 16, 17). A person was brought before a bēma to have his or her deeds examined, in a judicial sense for indictment or exoneration, or for the purpose of recognizing and rewarding some achievement. Writing to the Romans of this same event, Paul described it as the judgment seat [bēma] of God (Rom. 14:10). God the Father is the ultimate Judge, but He has given all judgment to the Son (John 5:22). Paul Barnett notes,
A parallel passagewe shall all stand before the judgment seat of God (Rom. 14:10)implies an identity of function of Christ and God; God judges and Christ judges. The NT often refers to Christ as Gods appointed judge, appropriate to his role as Son of Man, as in Dan. 7:13, 14, 2627 (e.g., John 5:22, 27; 9:39; Matt. 25:3132; Acts 10:42; 17:31; cf. Rev. 20:1115). (The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, The New International Commentary on the New Testament [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997], 275 n. 45)
The phrase each one stresses the personal nature of believers judgment; it is an individual, not a collective, judgment. Its purpose, as noted above, is not judicial; it is that every believer may be recompensed for his deeds in the body. Recompensed translates a form of the verb komizō, which means, to receive back what is duewhether punishment for a criminal, or reward for one to be honored. When believers stand before the Lord Jesus Christ they will be recompensed for the deeds they have done in the body (cf. Rev. 22:12). Therefore, they cannot disregard their bodies, or treat them with contempt in some antinomian or dualistic fashion. Instead, they are to present [their] bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is [their] spiritual service of worship (Rom. 12:1). Things done in the body do have potential eternal value (cf. Matt. 6:1921).
The use of the word bad does not indicate that believers judgment is a judgment on sin, since all their sin has already been judged in Christ. The contrast between good and bad is not one between moral good and moral evil. Bad does not translate kakos or ponēros, the words for moral evil, but phaulos, which means worthless, or useless. Richard C. Trench writes that phaulos contemplates evil under another aspect, not so much that either of active or passive malignity, but that rather of its good-for-nothingness, the impossibility of any true gain coming forth from it (Synonyms of the New Testament [Reprint; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983], 317). Phaulos describes those mundane things that inherently are neither of eternal value nor sinful, such as taking a walk, going shopping, taking a drive in the country, pursuing an advanced degree, moving up the corporate ladder, painting pictures, or writing poetry. Those morally neutral things will be judged when believers stand before the judgment seat of Christ. If they were done with a motive to glorify God, they will be considered good. If they were pursued for selfish interests, they will be considered bad.
The clearest definition of the difference between good and bad (worthless) things is in 1 Corinthians 3:1115:
For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each mans work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each mans work. If any mans work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any mans work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
The only foundation of the Christian life is the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Peter 2:68), but believers must build on that foundation, as Peter exhorted:
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble. (2 Peter 1:510 NKJV)
Believers build for eternity not with wood, hay, or straw, but with gold, silver, [and] precious stones. The latter are valuable, permanent, and indestructible and will survive the fire of judgment; the former, though not evil, are worthless and combustible. They illustrate things with no lasting, eternal value. The fire, symbolizing judgment, will consume them in that day when each mans work will become evident. Believers will only be rewarded for deeds with motives that please and glorify the Lord. Pauls longing for heaven did not cause him to act irresponsibly or unfaithfully here on earth; it did just the opposite.
- Believers will not be judged for sin at the judgment seat of Christ.
- Believers build for eternity not with wood, hay, or straw, but with gold, silver, [and] precious stones. (1 Co 3) The latter are valuable, permanent, and indestructible and will survive the fire of judgment; the former, though not evil, are worthless and combustible. They illustrate things with no lasting, eternal value. The fire, symbolizing judgment, will consume them in that day when each mans work will become evident.
So, MacArthur's view of the judgment seat of Christ is that it is not the judgment of sin in believers, for ALL of each individual's sin was paid for by Christ's sacrifice.
His view is that the judgment seat is standing before God who will review our good, neutral, and worthless actions and reward us accordingly.
I agree with his views on that.
When does this judgment take place, in your opinion?
The Great White Throne Judgment is at the very end before the new heavens and earth.
When is this judgment? (Serious question. I’m not trying to be tricky or to play gotcha.)
Yes, he’s speaking what he learned from The Bible - it’s all there.
I believe that the judgement of believers occurs when the church is raptured. The great White Throne judgement is the judgement of unbelievers and occurs at the very end, as you said.
Yes, that’s generally where I had it in my mind; someplace between the rapture and the return at the head of His armies. In my mind, I had that being almost simultaneous, though.
It’s a sobering reminder that I will one day have a face-to-face chat with Jesus and have my Christian life lay bare.
People disagree on the timing of the rapture vs. the 2nd coming of Christ at the end of the tribulation period. If the two are nearly simultaneous that means that the church goes through the tribulation period (the 70th week of Daniel). I personally believe that there is enough scriptural evidence that the church is raptured before the start of the tribulation. However, I don’t think it’s wise to be dogmatic on this issue. I think we will all be surprised.
That is if he actually makes it to the Judgment Seat of Christ and doesn't end up at the Great White Throne Judgment.
The Judgment Seat of Christ is the Day of Christ and will be occuring while the Trib. is happening on earth.
But, you can think of no biblical passage that specifically illustrates that event? I can’t. We surmise it to be here or there.
It is not legitimate to believe in Jesus as Savior but not as Lord. Sincere belief trumps insincere belief any day.
Wesley took it even further as a 2nd work of grace in which the Lord touches us a 2nd time so that our whole desire is to love God with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength.
I don’t see insisting on sincerity of belief as being anything bad.
Romans 10:13 is the summary of it all, but Romans 10:9-10 is the details of it.
“The statements of MacArthur that should cause us to think are these:
Believers will not be judged for sin at the judgment seat of Christ.
Believers build for eternity not with wood, hay, or straw, but with gold, silver, [and] precious stones. (1 Co 3) The latter are valuable, permanent, and indestructible and will survive the fire of judgment; the former, though not evil, are worthless and combustible. They illustrate things with no lasting, eternal value. The fire, symbolizing judgment, will consume them in that day when each mans work will become evident.
So, MacArthur’s view of the judgment seat of Christ is that it IS NOT THE JUDGMENT OF SIN IN BELIEVERS, for ALL of each individual’s sin was paid for by Christ’s sacrifice.
His view is that the judgment seat is standing before God who will REVIEW our good, neutral, and WORTHLESS actions and reward us accordingly.”
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There’s error here and even more in the OP, where do you start? First, 1 Cor 5:10 is about our Particular Judgment at death. And 1 Cor 5:10 doesn’t say “worthless actions.” Clinging to the Luther’s heresy of “Faith Alone” while the verse states your “work” is judged!
1 Cor 5:10
For we must all be manifested before the judgement seat of Christ, that every one may receive the proper things of the body, according AS HE HATH DONE, whether it be good or evil.
 The proper things of the body: In the particular judgment, immediately after death, the soul is rewarded or punished according to what IT HAS DONE in the body.
Another verse in Scripture to show “Sola Fide” is a big
fat lie. So is “Jesus did it all on the Cross, our sins
are covered.” Understand two words which do not mean the same, there is a difference. Redemption and Justification, Our Lord “opened” Heaven, He redeemed mankind by His suffering death on the Cross. Our Justification is past present and future, you must “persevere” as Scripture says, to the end.
1 Cor 3:13-15 is totally misinterpreted, the error of
private interpretation of Scripture, another heresy.
And “Faith Alone” comes along to mess things up again.
Paul is stating at our Particular Judgment, immediately
after death everyone will be “judged” by Christ for their
lives lived, that includes our “works.” Paul tells us the soul shall be judged, suffer for a time and then be saved.
How do you figure? Those in Hell are not saved and those
who go directly to Heaven do not suffer. Paul is speaking of purgation, souls purified in Purgatory.
1 Cor 3:13-15
Every man’s work shall be manifest; for the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work, of what sort it is.  If any man’s work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  If any man’s work burn, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.
Is this artical is saying that by faith we are saved, then we get a different reward in heaven according to our works.
I think that’s one of the issues.
The major issue appears to me to establishment different judgments for Christians versus non-Christians.
It is hardly a matter of private interpretation of scripture. These are teachings of significant bodies of believers.
The issue appears to be the following, among many others. This scripture must be fairly and legitimately reconciled so that there is a unity of message.
Hebrews 8: 12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Psalm 103:12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
There are four groups present at the judgement of the sheep and goats.
Proverbs 2:21-22 For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it. But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.
The “perfect” are the very elect, the man child, His “jewels” and...they have already been justified. They are not judged and they “shall remain.” They are those that “discern” at the judgement of the sheep and goats....
Malachi 3:16-18 Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name. And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.
Perfect = Jewels, very elect that remain.
Upright = Sheep/Righteous souls but not perfect so they “dwell” while they are taught and must be again tested.
Wicked = Goats/cut off
Transgressors = Tares/rooted out(disposed of)