“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgement 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 Corinthians 5:8-10
Did you know the Bible tells us clearly there are actually two very different and separate “judgements” for all people of all time? One is called the Judgement Seat of Jesus Christ (aka the Bema Seat of Jesus). The other is known as the Great White Throne Judgement of God. Every single human being ever born throughout history will stand before one or the other. For our eternal sake, they are VERY different! They happen at different times and have very different results! As I have said on numerous occasions, depending on our belief or not in Jesus Christ, we will be rewarded standing in front of one or judged standing in front of the other.
“Every man’s work shall be 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.”
1 Corinthians 3:13-15
The very first judgement which will occur will be right after the Rapture of the True Believers in Jesus Christ. Both “…the dead in Christ”, as well as “…we which are alive” will join Jesus in Heaven. This is not a judgement resulting in punishment but instead is one that will determine our Promised destiny of spending eternity with Jesus in Heaven. Due to our Christian belief that He died for our sins, we will instead be rewarded for what we did with His many Gifts to us. Our earthly works may be lost, but we “…shall be saved.” You see, the ultimate judgement of our sins were paid for when Jesus died on the cross. By believing in Him and accepting His gift of salvation, our sins have already been judged. All that is left is to be rewarded for what we have done as a Christian Believer. The Judgement Seat of Jesus does not judge our sins! Rather, it rewards us for our lives in following Him:
“For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, WE ARE THE LORD’S (capitals mine). For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. But why dost thou (you) judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all (Believers) stand before the JUDGEMENT SEAT OF CHRIST (capitals mine). For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”
While we will be “judged”, a few of the things we may be judged on are how well we obeyed the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); the level of victory we had over our sins (Romans 6:1-4); and, did we self-control the way we spoke (James 3:1-9). More importantly, since we will be standing in front of the Judgement Seat of Jesus, we already know we will be spending eternity with Him in Heaven. This judgement instead is to reward us with various crowns for our achievements during life as Christians. Those crowns are described as:
- The Imperishable Crown (2 Timothy 2:5)
- The Crown of Rejoicing (2 Timothy 4:8)
- The Crown of Righteousness (James 1:12)
- The Crown of Glory (1 Peter 5:4)
- The Crown of Life (Revelation 2:10)
The bottom line is for those who Believe in Jesus and have accepted His Sacrifice for our sins and were faithful to Him, there will be NO punishment, only a reward of Crowns given to us by Him!
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
And, just like the twenty four elders in Heaven we are told about in Revelation 4:10-11, my bet is we will ALL gladly follow suit in their response to God!
“The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, AND CAST THEIR CROWNS (capitals mine) before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
Only God deserves the honor and glory for sending His only Begotten Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins giving us the opportunity by accepting Him to spend eternity with Him in Heaven. Because of our sinful nature, we don’t deserve that! Any crown I receive I will gladly give back to Him!
So, what if we don’t believe in Jesus and we never accepted Him as our personal Savior? It’s not pretty! Now there will be a different Judgement and this is not by Jesus but by God Himself in what is known as the Great White Throne Judgement. This will be after Jesus’s Millennium (1,000 year) Reign of Righteousness on the earth (where we Believers will also be reigning with Him). Satan will have been cast into hell (where he will meet up with his buddies the anti-christ and the false prophet). The old earth and the old heavens will have been destroyed by God in preparation for the new earth and new Heaven which will then exist 100% sinless for eternity.
“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. 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. 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. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. AND WHOSOEVER WAS NOT FOUND IN THE BOOK OF LIFE WAS CAST INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE (capitals mine).”
If you don’t believe in Jesus and that he died for your sins, your name WILL NOT be found in the Book of Life and you will be judged and have to rely only on your works while alive on earth. But, as the Bible also tells us “All men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”, and therefore since the “…wages of sin are death”, there is no appeal of your punishment or second chance at any time. You may have been a nice person but your sins have never been forgiven. You therefore will experience “…the second death” and will be sent to hell forever.
As bleak as this may seem, we have all been given free choice. Remember what we were also told in John 3:16? “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” That choice simply is we can either accept Jesus’s Gift of Salvation and live faithfully by His Commandments or we can elect to not believe in Him and hope our earthly works are good enough to offset our sins and the resulting punishment. They are not! To me, it is very comforting to know and to believe in the gift Jesus personally has given us to make the right choice and to accept Him as our Lord and Savior. I know many will think this condemnation by a Loving God may seem unjust but He gave us the ability to decide for ourselves and gave us the knowledge of what is required to stand before the Judgement Seat of Jesus and not the Great White Throne Judgement of God. If you agree and know anyone, friends, family or acquaintances that don’t believe, PLEASE let them know what Jesus told us all:
“I come quickly and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”
If you do as we also have been instructed by Jesus to do, and that is to “…therefore comfort one another with these words:” you will hopefully one day meet up with them in Heaven. Remember, these are not my words! These are the Word’s of God! Trust always in Him and I will see you at the Judgement Seat of Jesus!
May God Bless you!