Hebrews 6: 1Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. (KJV)
Matt. 25: 31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on His throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on His left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. ….
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ 44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45 “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
There 2 types of people who face Judgement.
1. Judgement of unbelievers/ the goats
The great white throne of God – The Greek word “Thronos”
Rev 20:11-15 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. (12) And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (13) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. (14) And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (15) And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
In v11 above, the great white throne is the Thronos, where those that are “dead” already are judged – (12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne). These people are judged for their rejection of Jesus Christ once and for all, according to the Book of Life on Judgement Day. Remember the teaching on Repentance from dead works – unbelievers are dead, because they don’t have Christ, who is the only One able to give life – I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE!
Matthew 12:36 but I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.
Hebrews 4:13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
Isaiah 66: 22 “As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the LORD, “so will your name and descendants endure. 23 From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the LORD. 24 “And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”
2. Judgement of believers/ the sheep
1 Pet. 4: 17For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
The Judgement seat of Christ – The Greek word “Béma” (pronounced Bay-ma)
2 Cor. 5:10 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.
Romans 14: 8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that He might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written: ”‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’” 12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.
1. The First Judgment is Past. Our justification or our Judgment as a Sinner:
When we accept the finished work of Christ as an atonement for our sins, we can never again come into judgement as a sinner.
John 5: 24 “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned [judged]; he has crossed over from death to life.
Romans 8: Paul adds, “There is therefore no more condemnation (judgment) to them which are in Christ Jesus.”
You see, the purpose of the Judgment Seat is not to determine whether a particular person enters heaven or not, for every man’s destiny is determined before he leaves this life. The purpose of this Béma judgment is not to punish believers for sins they have committed either before or after their salvation.
1 John 1: 7 But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin. 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
When we confess our sins, God cleanses us thoroughly and completely for “the blood of Jesus Christ purifies us from all sin.” The Lord removes our sin completely and permanently, not partially.
Psalm 103: 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
(Also Isa 38:17 Micah 7:19)
2. The Second Judgment is Present, part of our sanctification, our Judgment as Sons:
Heb 12: 4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
1 Cor 11: 32 When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.
3. The Third Judgment is Future – our redemption, our Judgment as a Servant.
Now it’s this judgment that takes place at the Judgment Seat – the Béma Seat of Christ. Paul says, as we have read in 2 Cor. 5:10 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.
Who is Paul talking to? 2 Cor is addressed to “the church of God which is at Corinth with all the saints which are in all Achaia.” Now understand, this is not a warning to the unsaved, this is a word addressed to believers. The “we” in 2 Cor Ch 5 appears no less than 25 times, and it is clear that it is being addressed to the church, to believers. This judgment is for Christians, but it cannot and doesn’t deal with sin or salvation. The Béma is not a judicial bench were someone is condemned, it is a reward seat. It has nothing to do with the Christians Rejection, but everything to do with the believers Reward.
1 Cor 3: 10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
Paul teaches here that at the Judgment Seat our Service will be revealed and rewarded. The loss we can suffer is a loss of rewards in heaven, not a loss of Salvation.
Rev. 22: 12And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. 13I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
Who was Christ talking to? 1The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass;
Again He is talking to believers, His servants. Christ comes to fetch us, to separate us from the goats, to take us to His Judgement seat, where we will be rewarded with our inheritance, which is eternal life - in the presence of God! To understand what that might be like, we have to look at the experiences of those who have seen God, albeit in a vision.
Isaiah 6: 5Then said I, Woe is me! for I am ruined; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
The Glory of God is something quite unbelievable…
1 Cor. 3: 8 The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. 10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds.
Our works CANNOT save us. Only belief and faith can. Does that mean our works are not important? Not at all. Our works on this earth will determine our rewards in the life hereafter.
The principles of Judgement
Gal. 6: 7Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.
Eph. 6: 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.
Col. 3: 23And whatsoever you do, do it heartily, unto the Lord, and not unto men; 24Knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for you serve the Lord Christ. 25But he that does wrong shall receive for the wrong which he has done: and there is no respect of persons.
James 2: 12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
James says that we are going to be judged by the law of liberty. Our lives are going to be examined in the light of God’s Word. Those who have shown Mercy, will be shown Mercy.
There are Five main rewards – our inheritance in heaven. The bible speaks of them as crowns. These are the privileges of service for the King of Kings.
1. The incorruptible crown. - for those who strive to serve Christ acceptably.
1 Cor. 9: 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25And every man that strives for it is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26 Therefore I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified. [practice what we preach!].
2. Crown of Rejoicing - the reward for witnessing for Christ.
1 Thes. 2 19 For what is our hope or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are you not even to be in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy.
Paul was speaking here to the people that he had won over to Christ. It gives one great joy to win another over for Christ, so much so, that those we have won over will actually be our glory when Jesus comes back. We will receive a crown of rejoicing for the souls that we have led to Christ. It is perhaps the greatest reward anyone can receive.
3. The crown of glory - the reward for being a good example.
1 Peter 5: 2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
Being shepherds of the flock of God means we need to be doers of the Word, being good examples to others – practicing what we preach! We need to make sure that those we lead to the Lord are discipled properly. We need to take care of those that God has entrusted to your ministry or teaching.
4. The crown of life - reward for suffering for Christ.
James 1:12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
5. The crown of righteousness - for keeping your faith until the end.
2 Tim. 4: 6For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
The rewards we will be given will be the responsibility that we are given in God's eternal kingdom, and it will never be changed, it is for ever, eternal. But, it is determined here, on earth.
2 Thessalonians 1: 6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.
Possibly the greatest punishment of all! To be shut out from the presence of God!
Other Scriptures: Jude 6; Revelation 14:10-11; Revelation 20:10;
One of the greatest truths in scripture is the coming again of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Titus 2: 11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. ….. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.