Monday, June 8, 2020

MUST WE ALL APPEAR BEFORE THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST?




Several verses teach that we must all face some form of judgment:

·       So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. (2 Cor. 5:9-10)

·       Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God…So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. (Romans 14:10-12)

However, other verses indicate that we have already passed from death into life:

·       Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. (John 5:24; 3:36)

It also seems that, even if we have to face the judgment seat, our heavenly fate is already settled at our Lord’s return:

·       Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)

Therefore, some have surmised that the judgment seat will be about our heavenly rewards:

·       If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:14-15)

However, there are problems with this solution. This is a judgment regarding salvation and not rewards:

·       “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. (Matthew 25:31-34)

Even more problematic is the fact that many verses claim that all of God’s saved children have become co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17) and share in the same inheritance and heavenly hope (Ephesians 4:4):

·       So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours,  and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. (1 Corinthians 3:21-23; Romans 8:32; Psalm 84:11)

·       For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. (Colossians 2:9-10)

If we are all one and receive the same reward, then this judgment cannot be about receiving differing rewards. (Nor is there any mention of a second judgment where we will be issued distinctive rewards.

This means that we are left with the same question, with which we started: “What is this judgment seat all about?” I have a theory, but it’s only a theory. This might be a place where we become entirely transparent along with everything we done. For some, it might be a time of shame, for others, a time to hear “Well done good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23). It might also be a time that some will be honored by reigning at His “right and left hand.”

And what of the fate of the unbeliever, the hater of the Light? Will he be able to stand in the presence of Christ? It doesn’t seem likely (Psalm 1:5;  15; 25; Isaiah 33:14-15; 2:20-22; Malachi 3:2; Luke 21:36; Revelation 20:11). If he hated the Light in this world, he will probably hate the Light even more in the next, where it shines with greater intensity (John 3:17-20), even if that means condemning himself to an eternal place of torment.

Sorry that I cannot be any more definite than this.





2 comments:

  1. Do you know of any Bible passage that says something about a time of shame for a redeemed Christian at the judgement seat. Could it be that the judgement seat is something that happens while we are alive in this world ? - I have experienced shame many times during my life as a professing Christian. njp

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Neal, There is no verse that explicitly says this, but some surmise that there will be shame when it is revealed that their works had been made of stubble (1 Corinthians 3:15).

      However, even if this does happen, I don't think that it will last for long. Why not?

      Revelation 21:4 "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Also 7:17)

      There is just a lot we don't know, but I'm sure that heaven will be blessed for all of us (1 Corinthians 3:21-23)

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