Judgment Seat Of Christ
By David J. Stewart
In 1934 Dr. John R. Rice (1895-1980) launched THE SWORD OF THE LORD, which, by the time of his death, had become the largest independent religious weekly in the world, with subscribers in every state of the Union and more than 100 foreign countries. Thousands of preachers read it regularly, and it undoubtedly had the greatest impact upon the fundamentalist movement of any publication in the 20th century. Here's an excellent quote from chapter 4 of the book, “WHEN A CHRISTIAN SINS.” The chapter is titled, “THE CHRISTIAN'S HAPPINESS IN HEAVEN DEPENDS ON HOW HE LIVED ON EARTH” ...
"AGAIN LET ME SAY that I do not encourage sin. No one must treat sin lightly. We are not soon done with the disaster of sin. The Christian who sins will suffer for it in this life. He will suffer for it in the life to come.
Some people suppose that every sinner who goes to Heaven will have the same joy and happiness. But that is not true. In Revelation 20, we find that sinners who go to hell are judged, every man according to his works, according to the things written down in God's Books. The torment of unsaved people in hell will differ, each one according to his opportunity and according to his sin.
Likewise, the Bible makes it abundantly clear that not all Christians will enjoy the same position and have the same honor and responsibility and blessing in heaven. It is true that each one who trusts in Christ has the same salvation and goes to the same heaven. But beyond salvation there will be rewards for Christians according to their service, and Christians must give an account for their sins. Let no Christian think that he is getting by with his worldliness, his sin, his disobedience, his carelessness about soul-winning.
THE CHRISTIAN MUST MEET HIS DEEDS, GOOD AND BAD, AT CHRIST'S JUDGMENT SEAT
Read with me the shocking passage of Scripture in 2nd Corinthians 5:9-10:
'Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.'
Here we know why Paul worked so hard, why he endured such persecution, gave up home, family, good name, ease, honors, in order to win souls. He was labouring to be acceptable to Jesus Christ! He knew that he would one day meet the Saviour and longed to have Jesus say to him, 'well done, good and faithful servant' (Mt 25:23). Paul says, 'For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ' (2nd Co 5:10a). Do not confuse this with the final judgment of the unsaved as described in Revelation 20. Do not confuse this with the judgment of the Gentile world as described in Matthew 25:31-46. Here is a judgment, in heaven, of Christians only. After we are already caught up to meet the Lord in the air, after we have resurrected bodies, after we see the Saviour, then 'we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.'
And what occurs at this judgment seat of Christ?
'that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad' (2 Co 5:10b).
Do not explain away the plain statements of the Scriptures. The Christian is still to come face to face with his past. I know that the Christian has his sins forgiven as far as the destiny of his soul is concerned. It is true that all his sins are laid on Jesus and paid for on the cross. But God is still against sin. And up in heaven no Christian will think it did not matter that he sinned. Every Christian will find how horrible are the results of his sins. He will face what he has done, whether it be good or bad.
I do not wonder that, in the next verse, Paul says, 'Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade man' (2 CO 5:11). Paul knew that it would be a terrifying thing for Christians, born again, and even in glorified bodies, to stand up before Jesus Christ and give an account of the deeds done in the body both good and bad. In my sermon on 'Tears in Heaven' in the book And God Remembered, I have discussed the tears of Christians when they face their sins in heaven. And I hope you will read it.
God may forgive sins, but there are some of the results of sin that will never be undone...”
SOURCE: “WHEN A CHRISTIAN SINS,” John R. Rice; chapter 4, pgs. 60-62; copyright 1954, Sword Of The Lord Publishers; ISBN: 0-87398-911-2
Repeatedly we are warned in the Scriptures that all men (including believers) will be held accountable for our thoughts, words and actions. The difference is that the unsaved will be DAMNED (Greek krino) instead of CONDEMNED (Greek katakrino).
God judged our sins at Calvary, when Christ died upon the cross. YOU ARE A SINNER! Unless you accept Christ's payment for your sins, you will spend eternity burning in the fires of Hell. Getting to Heaven is free; but the degree of enjoyment you will have is based upon the works that you do . . .
1st Corinthians 3:8-15, “Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by 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 shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”
God draws the plan for my life and my work (Philippians 2:13). God is the Master Builder, the Master Architect. We receive rewards when we are a co-labourer with God. Christ is the only foundation. You cannot lay another foundation, because the foundation has already been laid, which is Christ. The Pope is not the foundation. Water baptism is not the foundation. Good works are not the foundation. The sacraments are not the foundation. You cannot pour another foundation on top of the existing foundation. JESUS IS THE FOUNDATION!!!
It is free of charge to go to Heaven, but how much you will enjoy Heaven as a Christian depends on how you live as a Christian. You get to Heaven free; but you labor to receive wages (Revelation 14:13). To earn wages, we must labor with God in the things that God labors in; such as, to get the lost saved (Luke 8:15; John 15:8).
Jesus said that men will give account on judgment day even for idle words spoken (Matthew 12:36).
Acts17:31, “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”
Contrary to the world's biased, unjust and crooked courts, God will judge in total righteousness.
Hebrews 4:13, “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”
Carefully notice in Hebrews 4:13 that the last word of the Scripture “do” is the Greek word logos and means “something said (including the thought); by implication a topic (subject of discourse), also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive.” In context here it means that we all have to answer to God one day. We won't have to give account to any human being; but rather, our Creator. How tragic then that so many people today live for the praises of men (John 12:43). May we all live with the conviction that “all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”
Job 7:17, “What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him? And that thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him every moment?”
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