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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Judgment and Rewards, #23
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. (II Corinthians 5:10)
The concept of the Judgment Seat of Christ being an awards ceremony is totally unscriptural. No passage of Scripture presents the Day of Judgment as an awards ceremony. In addition, the Greek term beema, that is translated judgment seat, is used consistently in the New Testament to mean a court where accused criminals are brought for judgment. There is no basis for regarding the Judgment Seat of Christ as an awards ceremony.
It is true that Paul spoke of running a race. It is true that those who run well will receive a crown. The eternal Word of God cannot be changed: every person will receive from the Lord's hand what he has practiced in the flesh, whether his behavior has been good or whether it has been wicked.
But the concept of the Judgment Seat of Christ being an awards ceremony in which no believer faces punishment, although held by numerous Christians, is unscriptural. The fear of God is missing from the Christian churches as a direct result of this concept. The Christians lie, steal, behave treacherously, practice immorality, and pursue their self-centered, self-willed ways in the world.
Do the Gospels and the writings of the Apostles teach us we have no need to fear the Judgment Seat of Christ? Is it actually true that no matter how we behave we will not be punished provided we have made a profession of belief in Jesus? Is this what the Scriptures teach concerning judgment and rewards?
Indeed it is not, and this monstrous deception has destroyed the moral character of the Christian churches. It is time for us to repent.
The current concept of the Christian redemption is that of the grand Divine pardon. The emphasis on the grand pardon has given rise to the belief that the Judgment Seat of Christ must be a presentation of rewards, followed by some sort of mild reproof directed toward those "believers" who have lived a worldly, self-serving life—a mild reproof followed by the drying of all tears and repeated assurances that all is forgiven.
This is incorrect, but it is believed widely in our day.
It is true and scriptural that the Christian redemption is a grand pardon. Christ is crucified and Barabbas, the criminal representing each of us, is set free.
The grand pardon concept of salvation has held out the hope of eternal life to many dying sinners. The pardon is available today, just as it has been since Christ died for our sins and rose again as proof we have been justified in the sight of God the Father.
However, there is another basic concept set forth in the New Testament writings. It is the concept of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth and our entrance into that Kingdom. The Gospel of the Kingdom includes the great Divine pardon—the unconditional pardon of the repentant sinner, but also the idea of freeing the sinner from the person and works of Satan, and bringing him into eternal union with God through Christ.
To be continued.