It’s interesting to listen to people discuss what they value and watch the excitement on their faces. I especially enjoy watching children unwrap presents with great anticipation. Friends, 1st Corinthians 2:9-10 says (and I am paraphrasing) that eyes have not seen, nor ears heard, nor hearts dreamed of the great things that God has prepared for those who love Him; and, yet His Word has given us a glimmer into the future. While the Judgement Seat of Christ stirs up holy reverence, it also inspires me to cooperate with the Holy Spirit to become all He wants me to be for the Glory of God as a testament to His goodness. I’m sure that’s what you desire as well!
In my previous blog, I studied Romans 2 which ensures the reader understands that Holy God will judge (1) those He has declared justified and (2) those who continue to rebel against God’s revelation or the Gospel of God (which is the just shall live by faith Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; and Hebrews 10:38). I didn’t want to move any further in my study of Romans without writing on the believer’s rewards. Scripture states:
- And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. (Hebrews 9:27 to 28).
Context and Quick Navigation:
While the intention of this blog is to present ONEBRANCH NOTES that focus mainly on the Judgment Seat of Christ (refer to section D2), it is important to have a holistic understanding of all the judgments to be able to rightly divide scripture. In doing so, these notes will delineate briefly God’s 7 appointed judgments categorized into 4 scenarios or main intersections of time between the eternal and the temporal. That said, click here to move directly to the rewards.
Now these notes will be self explanatory, but the joy will come in reading the Scriptures for yourself. So grab your Bible and let’s dig in.
A. God is the same: yesterday, today, and forever
- (example of consistency re judgment – refer to Isaiah 5:1-24 and Matthew 21:33-41)
B. God is love and is merciful
- (John 3:16-18; Hebrews 9:26-28; Matthew 9:13; Hosea 6:6)
C. God is Righteous and is a Just Judge and gives everyone a choice
- Belief determines where we spend eternity – Heaven or Hell (Romans 1: 19-20; John 5:24; Romans 5:8-9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24)
- It is impossible to believe in the LORD Jesus in your heart without increasing submission to the Holy Spirit. This means a true Christian cannot practice sin. (Romans 10:9, James 2:19, 1 John 3:7-10; Luke 6:46; Matthew 13:20-22; John 6:60-66; 1 John 2:19)
- The penalty of sin was paid by Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection and acceptance of His finished work and His ownership of you allows His Holy Spirit to reign in you sealing you (Ephesians 4:30)
- God’s word encourages us to continue to self-examine, confess, and repent after the point of salvation to avoid suffering loss (1 John 1:9; 1 Corinthians 11:31).
D. God has provision for all scenarios:
Note: Some describe the below 4 scenarios in 7 judgments (Believer’s Sins, Believer’s Self-judgment, Believer’s Work, Israel’s Disobedience, Judgment of the Nations, Judgment of Rebellious Angels, Judgment of the Unsaved)
1. Righteous Jews and Gentiles Before Christ’s Death and Resurrection
Those deemed righteous before Christ were kept in paradise until Christ descended and preached to them (1 Peter 3:18-22; Romans 4:3; Ephesians 4:8-10; Psalms 68:18; additional verses Psalm 16:10; Hosea 13:14; Matthew 12:40; Luke 23:43; Job 19:25-27; Hebrews 12:1; Luke 16:26; Genesis 15:6). These saved people are the friends of the Bridegroom (John 3:27-30) who are the witnesses to the Marriage of the Lamb (Luke 15:6-7; Daniel 7:18, 22; Revelation 19:6-9). Rewards are also assigned to these.
Conscience, Patriarchs, and Law
2. Church Before Christ’s Second Coming for Millennial Rule
The Judgment Seat of Christ is for believers (regenerated Jews and Gentiles) and it takes place in Heaven for those in the church age (after Christ’s death and resurrection). There are two key factors to remember:
- Belief/Lordship determines where we spend eternity; and,
- Behaviour determines how we spend eternity – reward and punishment for works.
(Romans 8:11; Titus 3:5; 2 Corinthians 5:9-10; Romans 2:6; Matthew 25:37-40; Romans 14:10-12; 1 Corinthians 3:10-17; Isaiah 14:1-32; Psalms 62:12; Proverbs 24:12)
Scripture also states that our motives and the manner in which works were completed will also be judged (1 John 4:17-18; Matthew 6:1-4; Hebrews 4:12; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 1 John 2:28; Matthew 5:10-18; Luke 19:12-27)
Scope of Believers
Scripture states that the saved will return with Christ to rule and reign. This supports that those believers who are alive at the time of the catching away to meet Him in the air and the dead in Christ need to be judged before we reign with Christ (1 Corinthians 15:20-28, 51-57; Revelation 22:12, Revelation 19:7-9; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, Matthew 24:31-51 31). We must be able to attend the marriage supper of the Lamb. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb and the Judgment Seat of Christ occurs in heaven within the period of the earth’s 7 years of tribulation; the time of Jacob’s trouble (Daniel 7:18-28, Daniel 9:24-27, Jeremiah 30:7, Joel 2:11, Zephaniah 1:14-17) based on parables (Luke 14:14-24; 2 Timothy 4:8; Matthew 25: 1-12). There will also be souls (who are not a part of the raptured church age) who are martyred during the great tribulation for their allegiance to Jesus Christ (they did not accept the mark of the beast – Revelation 7:9-14; Revelation 12:11).
Behaviours to be judged include:
- Words (Matthew 12:35-36)
- Obedience to the revealed Will of God (Matthew 7:21)
- Honesty in serving earthly employers (Ephesians 6:5-9)
- Honesty as an employer to employees (Colossians 4:10)
- “Whatsoever” he does (Colossians 3:23 – 24; Proverbs 4:23)
- All his work (Revelation 22:12)
- His stewardship (Luke 19:11-26; Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 12:42-48)
The Believer’s Outcomes:
The outcomes for the believer’s judgment include rewards, discipline, and assignments. God’s faithful and unchanging righteousness, declares a person just by God’s grace through faith alone and His sanctification process (Romans 7:15-20; 1 John 1:8 – 10) gives the believer the opportunity to exercise our salvation (Philippians 2:12-13; Galatians 6:7-9; Hebrews 6:10-11; Hebrews 12:28). As such, at the Judgment Seat of Christ, our works which include both the good and impure actions (that will be burnt up) are part of the legal process of assignment (Revelation 5:9-10, Ephesians 2:7; 2 Timothy 2:15; Hebrews 8:12; Psalms 103:12; Colossians 3:5-11). The assignment of reward or loss results in the appointment to PERMANENT/ETERNAL setting, work, and authority.
- Judge the world under Christ, Judge angels under Christ (1 Corinthians 6:2-3)
- Reign with Christ on Earth (2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 5:10)
- Kings and priests to God (Revelation 5:10; Revelation 3:21)
- Incorruptible Crown – Victor’s Crown (1 Corinthians 9:25-27)
- Crown of Life – Martyrs Crown (Revelation 2:10)
- Crown of Glory – Elders Crown (1 Peter 5:2-4)
- Crown of Righteousness – For Those Who Love His Appearing (2 Timothy 4:8)
- Crown of Rejoicing – Soul Winners Crown (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20)
- 1 Corinthians 3:15; 2 Corinthians 5:11; Colossians 3:25; 1 Corinthians 3:9, 12-14. To provide an impression of the sorrow over lost opportunity I offer these considertions: Luke 12:47 and Matthew 25:30 (note the Lord also promised to wipe away these tears and all other tears Revelation 21:40)
3. Israel and Nations at the End of Great Tribulation
When Christ returns, He will judge those from the nation of Israel, who have survived the Great Tribulation (Jeremiah 30:4-7; Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:9-30). This judgment is described in Ezekiel 20:34-38. The purpose is to determine which individuals will enter God’s kingdom on the earth-the Millennium (Zechariah 12:10; Zechariah 14:4). The righteous from Israel, those who have put their trust in Christ, will enter God’s kingdom. They will experience the long-promised blessings that God has given to that nation (Deuteronomy 28:13; Zechariah 8:20-23; Ezekiel 37: 21-28). The unrighteous will be purged.
The other nations who have survived the Great Tribulation will be brought to the city of Jerusalem and judged in the valley of Jehoshaphat (Joel 3:2). The righteous will enter God’s Millennial kingdom (Matthew 25:31-41). All the unrighteous (Jew or Gentile) will be taken to judgment and will probably be killed at this time. Their final judgment is still the future at the Final Great White Throne Judgement.
4. Unsaved at the Post Millennium/Final Judgement
The Nonbeliever’s Outcome
Hell (and all its inhabitants) as well as death will be cast into the Lake of Fire which is the PERMANENT /ETERNAL punishment for those who rebel against God and His provision for sin. This judgment occurs in eternity at the Great White Throne for the unsaved which include unbelievers, the deceived, the unrepentant, rebellious angels including Satan, and the last enemy death (Revelation 20: 1-10; 2 Peter 2:1-11; Jude 1:6; Daniel 7:10; Psalm 102:26). These do not have their names in the Book of Life but do have their works recorded in other books (Revelation 20:11 -15; Isaiah 5:14).
Reward is Punishment:
I do not have insight into the depths of torture in hell nor the Lake of Fire. I can only provide to Scripture references that support there will be different experiences; all deservedly bad and varying in degree. Please refer to Matthew 11:21-24; Romans 2:5-6. If it were not for the grace of God, we would all be destined to this fate. Thank you Jesus for being the willing, obedient, sufficient and victorious sacrifice.
I am so thankful that God made a way to reconcile us and that He is so gracious to reward us for obedience in our transformation into Christlikeness. As it is written:
- All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ–everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan. (Ephesians 1:3-11 NLT)
While these are study notes on the believer’s rewards in Scripture, peradventure you have not yet found peace with God, please allow this to be your invitation to make things right. If you feel a prompting in your spirit, it is likely the Holy Spirit calling to you. Today is the day of salvation and tomorrow is not guaranteed!
It is as simple as admitting outloud that you have sinned and accept that God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for all of our sins. Ask God outloud to forgive your sin. Saying this outloud is an acknowledgment that you believe you are talking to God. If you believe what you are saying then Scripture says, that God will not turn you away. THEN, you need to grow which will result in turning away from all your sinful patterns, BUT with the help of the HOLY SPIRT because you can’t do it alone. Truth be known, at first we all like our sin and none of us will ever be good enough!
If you would like, you can review the 4 SIMPLE STEPS or concepts to help you ask the LORD to bring you into right standing with Him. The steps are designed to help you know why a prayer of repentance is necessary. There are no “specific words” to pray, but there is a process to coming to faith. If you need evidence of who Jesus Christ is, you should evaluate the Scripture for yourself. Please visit DESIRINGFRUITFULNESS.CA/CHOICES for historical proof which was documented. Thank you.