I’ve been sharing some thoughts concerning the last message of warning given to a dying planet – Revelation 14:6-12. Although this message is for “those who dwell on the earth,” people who are not in a relationship with God and don’t give God glory, it raises questions for all people. One of those questions is how does God’s judgment apply to those who know God and are known by God?
In my last post, I pointed out that if you know God and are known by God, he doesn’t judge you; you are accepted and he is a safe place to place to put all your belief or trust. What I have noticed is that when I share this Good News, many people have a big but: But what about when the Bibles says we are judged for our works and we have to appear before the judgment seat?
The Bible speaks of two judgments: the Great White Throne and the Judgment Seat of Christ.
The Great White Throne is a judgment for those whose names are NOT written in the Book of Life (Revelation 20:11-15). In a nutshell, everyone’s names start out written in the book of life. As we resist God’s love and grace and reject his invitation to be in a covenant with him, slowly but surely our names are blotted out. Technically, the Great White Throne Judgment does not determine salvation; it is the end result of refusing to trust in God’s love and grace; in his acceptance of us. Those who know God and are known by God have no worry about the Great White Throne judgment.
However, those who know God and are known by God do come before the Judgment Seat of Christ (Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10). This phrase comes from the Greek word that sounds like “Bay-ma.” What’s that?
Think of the Olympics. After a race, the athletes receive their reward according to how they placed in the contest – some are participants, some receive medals. The panel of judges that gives out the awards is the “Bay-ma.”
The judgment seat of Christ is NOT a judgment concerning our sins; it’s not about being saved or lost. Our sins are forgiven and we are saved because of Christ’s cross. When we are with Christ, no record of our sin remains (Hebrews 8:12; Micah 7:19). He took our sin upon Himself and defeated it with His sacrificial death and glorious resurrection: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” John 5:24
The Judgment Seat of Christ is to determine our heavenly rewards. In other words, it’s where we receive our reward for the things we have done as a RESULT of our saving relationship with Christ. This old song captures the picture quiet well.
(Many thanks to my friend Michael C. who helped me have greater clarity on this complex topic.)