The Judgment Seat of Christ
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad."1
Question: Another Daily Encounter reader asks: "You said that man would be judged for what he did for God here on earth. I have always been of the opinion that what we did on earth for God won't even be mentioned. I was brought up to believe that, 'We are saved by faith, not of works lest any man should boast.' To me that means that what we did for God while on earth is not going to be a topic that we will face. Could you please give me some insight into this?"
Answer: Actually there are two judgments in the Bible—there's a good one and a bad one. First the good one: This is known as the judgment seat of Christ which is only for Christians. Here we will not be judged for our sins because they have already been judged and the penalty paid for by Jesus when He died on the cross in our place. The judgment seat of Christ is where Christians will be rewarded on the basis of their faithful service for the Lord while here on earth. As the Apostle Paul wrote, "That each one may receive what is due him for the things done while [here on earth]."1
The second judgment is what is known as "The Great White Throne Judgment" of God. The Apostle John wrote, "Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it … And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books … and each person was judged according to what he had done … If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire [hell]."2
This judgment of God is for those who never accepted Jesus as their Savior and received God's pardon. At this judgment they will be judged for their sins—and will have to accept the just penalty for them because they rejected Jesus's sacrifice of paying the penalty for them by His death on the cross. Sadly, God will say to them, "I never knew you; depart from Me."3
A terrifying thing for those who don't know Jesus Christ as their Savior: they will be lost forever in hell—whatever and wherever that place may be. One thing about hell is certain: it is an eternal separation from God, the author of all love and life—a place prepared for the devil and his demons of evil.
God has made it very clear in His Word that "It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment."4 So whatever you do, make absolutely sure that you have accepted Jesus as your Savior. This is obtaining your Passport for Heaven. Whatever you do, don't leave earth without it.
For help be sure to read “How to Be Sure You’re a Real Christian” at: http://tinyurl.com/real-christian.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You that Your Word makes the way of salvation very clear. Grant that I shall so live that I will not be disappointed at the judgment seat of Christ when I stand before You to give an account of my life. Also help me to so live that my life will always be a living witness of Your love and salvation so that others, seeing Your love in me, will also want to accept Your love and forgiveness for themselves, and not have to appear before You at the Great White Judgment throne to be judged for their sins. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. 2 Corinthians 5:10 (NIV).
2. Revelation 20:11-13, 15 (NIV).
3. Matthew 7:23 (NKJV).
4. Hebrews 9:27 (NKJV).