Have you ever picked up the newspaper and read an article about an outrageous court decision? Whether it be millions of dollars for spilled coffee, or a guilty murderer being set free by a jury, this world is filled with unjust judgments. But there is coming a day when Christians will stand before a righteous judge and no high priced lawyer or foolish jury will be able to excuse our unfaithful lives.
In the last study we learned that Jesus is coming back to claim his bride (the church) at an event which we call the rapture. Once in heaven with Jesus the Bride of Christ will sit and take part in the marriage supper of the lamb (Rev 19:9). Here, the church will sit in communion with our saviour for the first time since his last supper with the disciples (Luke 22:16). But before this glorious supper can take place, there is another event that must come to pass.
• Rom 14:10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the _____________________________________________.
• 2 Cor 5:10 For we must all appear before the____________________________________; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
Before the church takes part in the marriage supper of the lamb, every believer must first stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For the remainder of this study we will ask simple questions about this judgment and see what the Bible has to say about it.
Who will be Judged?
Q. Who do you think Paul was writing to in 2 Cor 5:10 and Rom 14:10?
Q. Considering the beginning of 2 Cor 5:10, do you think Paul expected to stand before the judgment seat of Christ?_____________.
In these passages Paul was clearly addressing Christians. Every time this particular judgment is mentioned, it is in letters to the church. See also 1 Cor. 3:12f; 1 John 2:28; 1 Thess. 2:19-20; 1 Tim. 6:18-19; Tit. 2:12-14. All of these passages make it clear that Christians must prepare for the judgment seat of Christ.
Who is the Judge?
Q. Again, according to 2 Cor 5:10 and Rom 14:10, who is the judge?
• John 5:22. Q. What has God the Father committed to God the son?
• 2 Tim 4:1. Q. Who shall judge the quick and the dead?_______________.
These verses indicate that Jesus Christ will be our judge. God the Father has committed all judgment to Christ and has put all things under his feet (Heb 2:8). It is important to note at this point that there are actually two judgments which are yet to come. First, the Lord will judge his church shortly after the rapture and before the marriage supper of the Lamb, secondly, Jesus will judge the unsaved at the end of this world, where death and hell will finally be thrown into the lake of fire. This terrible judgment of the unsaved is found in Rev 20:11f.
Christians will not take part in this final judgment. This judgment is for those who have rejected Jesus Christ and who yet remain in their sins. The absence of their names in the Lambs book of Life is the evidence against them, and the judgment is eternity in the lake of fire (Rev 20:15). This judgment does not take place before the judgment seat of Christ, but before the Great white throne (Rev 20:11).
Why will we be Judged?
By contrast, it is the nations of them which are saved that will walk in the heavenly city (Rev 21:24). It is these saved folks who are written in the Lamb’s book of life (Rev 21:27). Our judgment is much different from that of the unsaved.
• Rom 8:1. Q. What will the Christian not face?____________________.
We will not be judged in order to determine if we are saved, but we will face this judgment because we are saved.
But if this judgment does not determine our eternal destiny, what is it’s purpose? • 1 Cor 3:11-15.
Q. According to that passage, what shall be made manifest on our judgment day?__________________________.
Q. v13. What will the fire mentioned here determine about our works?
This judgment is not to determine who is or isn’t a Christian, but this is a judgment only for Christians. Our sin was judged when Jesus bore our penalty on the cross, and when we accepted Him as our Lord and Saviour. Our judgment now is not as sinners, but as his servants. This judgment will reveal the quality of service we have given to Him as we sojourned here on earth.
• 1 Pet 1:17. Q. According to what, does God judge?__________________.
Q. What does this verse encourage us to do because of the coming judgment?
In 1 Cor 3:11-15, our works are compared to gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, and stubble. The judgment which we will face is likened to fire. Each of the materials mentioned withstands fire differently, some endure, and some are destroyed. This is exactly what will happen to our works when we stand before Christ at the judgment. Those things which we have done in the flesh, the idle, worthless things that have no impact on the kingdom of Christ will be destroyed. Those things which we have done in the power of the Holy Spirit, which have a lasting impact for Christ will endure.
Q. According to 1 Cor 3:14, what will the man receive whose work is not destroyed
Q. According to 1 Cor 3:15, what will the man suffer whose works are burned
Q. Considering verse 14, what do you think the man who suffers loss will lose?
Q. According to verse 15, what happens to the man himself whose works are burned?
This judgment will determine how we have served Christ. Some will receive rewards from Jesus Christ, and others will stand before a heap of ash with nothing to show for his Christian life. Q. According to 1 John 2:28, what will some men be, at his coming?_______________________.
Q. According to 1 John 4:17, what can we have at his coming?____________
Although our works will not determine our salvation, they are still of the utmost importance. How we serve Him now is what will determine whether we stand before him in shame, or with boldness. If this judgment were to happen at this moment, which would best describe you?
Of what sort they are…
• 1 Cor 4:1-5. Q. What will Jesus, our judge, bring to light when he comes?
Q. What will Jesus, our judge, make manifest when he comes?
• Heb 4:13. Q. What are all things in the eyes of God?
In determining of what sort our works are, Jesus will reveal the things which we have done in secret. Nothing is hidden from his eyes. Even our heart condition while serving him will determine whether our works are wood, hay, stubble, or gold.
In this life many men and women are hypocrites. Christian’s may teach, give, soul win and serve, but do it for the wrong reasons or with the wrong attitude. These works will be burned up at the judgment and the condition of his heart will be revealed
Q. 1 Cor 4:2. What is required of us, God’s stewards?_________________.
The unfaithful Christian can fool fellow believers into believing he is a spiritual man, he can even see a measure of “success” in his ministry. But God is more concerned with sincerity and faithfulness then he is with success. God will judge this man’s heart and determine finally of what sort his works are.
• Matthew 12:36. Q. What will we give account of at the judgment?
_ Discuss in your groups what you think is meant by idle words.
• Heb 13:17. Q. What do you think a Pastor will be responsible to give an account for at the judgment seat of Christ?
List below, some areas of the Christian life that you think will be judged at the judgment seat of Christ.
What is the result of this judgment?
• 1 Corinthians 3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a ________________.
• Matthew 5:11,12. Q. What will the Christian who is persecuted falsely, for Christ sake receive in Heaven?________________________.
• Rev 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my _______________ is with me, to give every man according as his _____________________.
The Bible indicates that the faithful Christian, whose works endure the judgment will receive rewards from Jesus Christ himself.
• James 1:12. Q. What will this man receive, why?
• 2 Tim 4:8. Q. What will these men receive, why?
These verses seem to indicate that some of the rewards at this judgment will be in the form of crowns. The word crowns here refers not to the crown which royalty would wear, but to a wreath which could be won in the sporting events of that day. These crowns will be God’s recognition that we have fought a good fight, finished our course, and have kept the faith (2 Tim 4:7).
• Rev 4:10,11 speaking of the 24 elders in heaven, may be an indication of what we will be inclined to do with our crowns after they are rewarded.
How should we prepare for this Judgment?
• 1 John 2:28. Q. How should we live while we wait for his coming?
• 1 Peter 1:16,17. Q. What should we be as we pass our time here on earth?
• 2 Tim 4:1,2. Q. What did Paul exhort Timothy to do because Jesus is coming in judgment?
• Col 3:23-26. Q. How should we serve him knowing that there is a reward awaiting us at the judgment?
Unlike the unsaved, our standing in judgment before Jesus Christ does not have to be a frightening and terrible experience. The faithful and sincere Christian can stand before Him with confidence (1 John 2:28). In preparing for this judgment we must abide in him and ensure that our works are done in the right spirit and with the right motivation. Unlike other religions, we do not look for rewards in heaven that satisfy fleshly desires. The faithful Christian is motivated by a love for the Lord and lives for the day that he can receive rewards from Christ, not for his own glory, but so that he can lay them again at the feet of Jesus.