THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST

(Lesson 23 on Bible Doctrines) 

 

Text: ROMANS 14:10-12; II CORINTHIANS 5:10



INTRODUCTION:

  1. Most pretribulational rapturists place the judgment seat immediately after the rapture.  “The event herein described takes place immediately following the translation of the church out of this earth’s sphere” (J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come, p. 220).
  2. Pentecost gives three reasons for this position:
  1. According to Luke 14:14, rewards are associated with the resurrection. Since, according to I Thess. 4:13-17, the resurrection is an integral part of the translation, reward must be a part of that program.
  2. When the Lord returns to the earth with His bride to reign, the bride is seen as having already been rewarded (Rev. 19:7).
  3. In I Cor. 4:5; II Tim. 4:8; and Rev. 22:12 the reward is associated with “that day,” i.e., the day in which Christ comes for His own (Ibid., pp. 220, 221).

 

I. PROBLEMS SOME HAVE WITH THIS DOCTRINE

  1. The rejection of premillennialism and dispensationalism.
    1. Unger states that dispensational interpretation “is the key that unlocks the treasures of scriptural truth.  Rejecting this, as so many have done, a great segment of Bible truth remains an inexplicable and unsolved conundrum” (Merrill F. Unger, Great Neglected Bible Prophecies, p. 100).
    2. Many Bible teachers and preachers lump together all judgments in the Bible into one confusing and contradictory “general judgment.”
  2. The failure to properly distinguish between salvation and rewards.
    1. Certain passages which refer to the future rewards of believers have been wrongly applied to the lost with reference to salvation.
    2. Adding to this confusion are the errors of Arminianism (which teaches that a Christian can “lose his salvation”), Romanism (with its works-salvation, purgatory, and other damnable heresies), lack of assurance of salvation, and the “partial rapture” teaching
    3. The judgment seat will not determine who is saved and who is lost (see IV).
  3. The erroneous belief that the believer’s sins will be dragged up before them.
  1. It is the Christian’s works that will be judged, not his sins (I Cor. 3:13-15).
  2. Our sins have already been judged, forgiven, and washed in the blood of Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:1; cf. Ps. 103:12; Mic. 7:19).

 

II. THE JUDGE AT THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST

  1. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Judge – it is the judgment seat of Christ (cf. John 5:22, 27).
  2. We are to abide in Him and look for His coming (I John 2:28).

 

III. THE TIME OF THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST

  1. As stated in the introduction, it will probably be right after the rapture (I Cor. 15:58; James 5:7-9).
  2. The bride “hath made herself ready”(Rev. 19:7) indicates that the judgment seat has already taken place before the marriage supper.

 

IV. THE SUBJECTS AT THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST

  1. It is for Christians only (II Cor. 5:8-10).
  2. The lost will be judged at the great white throne (Rev. 20:11-15).

 

V. THE PURPOSE OF THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST

  1. Vindication – “Will there be no divine court of unerring justice to vindicate and reward these of `whom the world was not worthy’?  They deserve a better judgment.  They shall have it, but not in the courts of this world.  In the heavenly assize the saints shall be allotted power and authority, not only to rule and reign with Christ in the coming age but also judicial dignity to judge the wicked world which persecuted them, yea, even authority to judge the fallen angels (I Cor. 6:2, 3)” (Unger, p. 111).
  2. Rewards – As sinners our judgment was settled at the cross; as sons God chastises us for our unconfessed sins (I Cor. 11:31, 32; Heb. 12:5-11); and as servants all our works will be judged at the judgment seat of Christ.
  3. Assignment – “At the adjudication of believers, the saints will be assigned to their respective and proper places in the millennial kingdom…It seems apparent that these assignments will not only embrace executive and administrative offices, ruling and reigning, but judicial duties as well…Intrinsic faithfulness and meritorious service will be the criteria; and one thing is sure: politics and unjust favoritism will have no place in these assignments, as Christ Himself will make them” (Unger, pp. 117, 118).  Numerous Scriptures are cited by Unger concerning these assignments, including Matt. 19:28; I Cor. 4:5; 6:2,3; I Tim. 2:12; Rev. 2:26, 27; 3:21; 19:14-16; 20:6.

 

VI. THE REWARDS AT THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST

  1. An incorruptible crown (I Cor .9:24-27).
  2. Crown of rejoicing (I Thess. 2:19,20).
  3. Crown of life (James 1:12; Rev. 2:10).
  4. Crown of righteousness (II Tim. 4:8).
  5. Crown of glory (I Peter 5:4).

 

CONCLUSION:

“Though the ultimate motive for a Christian to serve God should be the constraining love of Christ and the realization of how much Christ loves him, it is a sobering thought that it is possible for a Christian to stand before God saved but with little evidence of service for God in his life.  When Paul spoke of the fear of God (II Cor. 5:11), he dreaded the possibility of standing before God with a wasted life that did not reflect gratitude of heart and love for Christ and that should have been manifested in daily service” (John Walvoord, Major Bible Prophecies, p. 311).


Pastor James Barker
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