Foundational Doctrines of Christ 6

Eternal Judgment, Part 2

The Bema Judgment Seat of Christ 

by Pastor John Hamel

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The Bema Judgment Seat of Christ

Are You Properly Fulfilling the Great Commission?

Hypocritical, Prideful Christians Have Their Reward Here on Earth

Are You Building on the Foundation of Christ?

Rewards Will Be Given for Sincere Service Not Salvation 


“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.” (2Corinthians 5:10)

There are at least seven Eternal Judgments mentioned in the Bible. We have briefly studied the first five. I will list them for you here again, along with the two remaining Judgments.   

First, there is the Judgment of the Believer’s Sin in Jesus.  That occurred at Calvary. (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 John 1:7)  

Second, there is the Believer's Daily Self-Judgment. (1 Corinthians 11:30-32; 1 John 1:9)  

Third, there is the coming Judgment of the Nation of Israel. (Ezekiel 38 and 39; Jeremiah 30:7; Zechariah 14:2)  

Fourth, there is the Judgment of the Gentile Nations. This will purge the Earth of all rebels prior to Jesus setting up His 1,000 year reign. (Matthew 25:31-36; 1Corinthians 15:24-25; Revelation 19:11-16)  

Fifth, there is the Judgment of Fallen Angels. (Jude 6-7) 

Sixth, there is the Bema Judgment Seat of Christ.  This is where the Believer ultimately has rewards given or taken away. (Romans 14:10; 2Corinthians 5:10)  This will be the subject of our abbreviated study today.  There is so much more that can be said on this subject.

Seventh, there is the Judgment of the Wicked Dead.  That is also known as the Great White Throne Judgment.  

Many wrongly muddle all seven judgment references into one judgment. This is a damaging, misleading practice, indeed.

Today we will study the Bema Judgment Seat of Christ.

The Bema Judgment Seat of Christ

Even as you read this today, Almighty God is watching over His Born Again people.  Watching and keeping superior records for the day they will appear at the Judgment Seat of Christ.   This is a judgment of rewards and is reserved for the Believers in Christ only.  

All others appear at the Great White Throne Judgment.  That sad judgment is reserved for Christ-rejecters only. 

I believe the Judgment Seat of Christ, or the Bema (Greek for “reward”) Judgment, will occur immediately upon the return of Jesus Christ at the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation Period. (See Luke 14:14 and First John 2:28 with Scripture below.)

“And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” (1 Peter 5:4)

At that Judgment every Believer will be judged upon the way they kept Christ first in thought, word and deed from the time they were Born Again.  

Every human being who has lived or will ever live is placed in this Earth as a period of probation.  Once this probationary period ends, it is foolish to believe that any Believer who lived for the flesh and self will hear Jesus say, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.  Enter thou into the joy of the Lord.” (Matthew 25:21)

Every reward at this Judgment will be an earned reward, not a gift.  This reward comes at the end of life’s battle.  Here wounds, scars and sufferings will be traded for crowns, mansions, Eternal authority with Christ and all blessed things.  

The same will be withheld from those Believers who lived lives of compromise. (Luke 19:15-26)

Salvation is a free gift from God but not so with the Eternal rewards passed out at this Judgment.  The Apostle Paul said he bore in his body the scars of serving Christ thru great rejection and persecution. (Galatians 6:17)  He pressed toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ. (Philippians 3:14)  Like Paul, we, too, must become acquainted with the fellowship of Jesus’ sufferings if we are to receive a crown(s) to lay at Jesus’ feet in Heaven. (Philippians 3:10; Revelation 4:10-11)

Everything the Believer sets his or her hand to during this earthly probationary period will be scrutinized by the God Who knows all.  His eyes are open to all. (Jeremiah 16:17)  His eyes run to and fro, watching, recording all. (2 Chronicles 16:9)  All things are naked and open before Him. (Hebrews 4:13)  

Jesus Christ will be looking to see to what extent every Christian committed their life to fulfilling the Great Commission found in Mark’s Gospel.

Are You Properly Fulfilling the Great Commission?

“And he [Jesus] said unto them [all Disciples], Go ye [or send] into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.  And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them [references to persecution of that day]; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.  So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” (Mark 16:15-20)

Not only will the Great Judge be looking to see to what extent each of His children fulfilled the Great Commission, He will be investigating every thought, every word and every deed of every Believer who ever lived. (Matthew 12:35-37) 

He will also investigate the motives behind those thoughts, words and deeds.  Even if you were faithful to the Great Commission and the building up of Christ’s Church, He will be looking for your motives in doing so.  

Did you hold the Office of Pastor for power, control and a paycheck?  Did you serve as an Evangelist, Teacher, Deacon, Elder or Sunday School Teacher to be noticed and praised?  Did you sing or use musical gifts in pride and to be lauded and applauded?  

To Christ you will give answer to all of these questions and so many, many more.

Hypocritical, Prideful Christians Have Their Reward Here on Earth

“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward

“But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. …Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

“But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.” (Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18)

What could be clearer? 

Hypocritical, prideful, attention-seeking, unloving, merciless Christians receive their rewards here on Earth.  

On the other hand, those who performed their works without notoriety and out of love for Jesus alone will receive their rewards in Heaven.  Only a fool would choose to be on the wrong side of this equation.

Are You Building on the Foundation of Christ?

Jesus is soon coming to take His people out of the Earth, both living and sleeping in their graves, in the twinkling of an eye. (John 5:28-29; 1Corinthians 15:52-53)  At that moment the Believer’s Judgment begins.  Your works and the motives behind your works may not matter much to you now but you will wish you made much of them then.  At that time the Lord will bring to light every compromising, hidden work of darkness and make manifest the motive of every family member’s heart. (1Corinthians 4:5)  

Again, I refer you to the Apostle Paul.

“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.” (1Corinthians 3:11-15)

Notice the Judgment of Reward is only for builders upon the foundation of Christ.  This is a reference to Christians building on God's Word.  There, everyone’s works will be tested by Holy fire.  

Some works are precious and represented by gold, silver and precious stones.  

Some works are worthless and represented by wood, hay and stubble.  

The precious works survive the heat of Christ’s Holy fire.  The worthless works are incinerated to ashes.  These ashes represent great sorrow and loss to present compromisers.  Not loss of salvation.  Only loss of rewards.  The compromisers will be saved – but only by the skin of their teeth.  Eternal life is not lost – only Eternal rewards.  What a shameful, shameful day for so, so many!  What a glorious day for so many more!

Believer in Christ, will the way you are presently spending your probationary period abide the fires of Christ’s Holy Judgment?  Will your present works survive the test?  Why do you do the things you do?  Will you receive reward or ruin?  Will you receive crowns or corruption?  Will you receive promotion or demotion?  Praise or shame?

Rewards Will Be Given for Sincere Service Not Salvation

Rewards are not given out for salvation, as so many wrongly believe.  They are given out for service.  Sincere service.  

If Jesus were to come today, where you stand with Him right now is where you will stand with Him then.  He is coming soon and immediately upon His arrival He’s pulling your file.  Not one neglected opportunity will escape His notice. (James 4:17)  Neglected holiness cannot possibly escape His scrutiny. (1Thessalonians 4:7)  This will not be a day of glory for the carnal Christian rebel but only for the ones who sold out to the Great Commission in every possible way. 

This is why the Apostle Paul said the following.

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth 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.” (2Timothy 2:7-8)

The Apostle Paul also insisted that we all “fight the good fight of faith.” (1Timothy 6:12)  The fight of faith is a fight to the finish.  If you are a Christian and you’ve been living the life of a hypocrite, there’s good news for you.  You can turn it around right now through the power of repentance and stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ confidently.  

The Bible says when we are faithful to confess our sins that He in turn will be faithful to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1John 1:9) 

Just tell the Father you’re sorry and want to get back on track.  Your mistakes will be remitted, literally washed away by the Blood of Jesus and forgotten by the Almighty. (Hebrews 8:12)  

You’ll get to start with a clean slate and have the opportunity once again to receive the blessing of rewards in Heaven. 

“…be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a Crown of Life.” (Revelation 2:10)

Be blessed in your sincere service to the Savior ... John and Barbara Hamel



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