Do you believe in some kind of judgment?
Do you believe in a God who acts as our Judge? If you are a believer, I know you do. If you are a seeker, maybe so. If you are an outsider to the faith, I am positive that this is a tough concept for you. In fact, you probably don’t believe that there is a judgment. God wouldn’t do any such thing in this “politically correct” culture that we live in.So many people out there do not believe in a judgment. “Speak to them of God as a Father, a friend, a helper, one who loves us despite all our weakness and sin, their faces light up; you are on their wavelength at once. But speak to them of God as Judge, and they frown and shake their heads. Their minds recoil from such an idea. They find it repelling.”- in Knowing God, by J.I. Packer.
But there are few things stressed more strongly in the Bible than the reality of God’s work as Judge. “Judge” is a word often applied to him.
God judged Adam and Eve, expelling them from the Garden and pronounced curses on their future earthly life. (Genesis 3)God judged the corrupt world of Noah’s day, sending a great flood. (Gen 6-8)
God judged Sodom and Gomorrah, engulfing them in a volcanic catstrophe. (Gen 18-19) God judged Israel’s Egyptian taskmasters and unleashed against them the terrors of the ten plagues. God judged those who worshipped the golden calf. God judged Israel for their unfaithfulness to him…
The list goes on and on and on……..into the New Testament, where we find that Jesus Christ himself, the divine Savior, will be the divine Judge (James 5:9, 1 Peter 4:5). He has been who has been designated by God as judge of the living and the dead in Acts 10:42.
Jesus himself said, “The Father has committed all judgment unto the Son…He has given me all authority to execute judgment…. the hour is coming, in which all who are their graves shall hear my voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:22, 26, 28). The Jesus of the New Testament, who is the world’s Savior, is its Judge too.
There are four different ‘Judgments’ discussed in the Bible– 1) the Judgment Seat (also called the Bema Seat of Christ) 2) the Judgments during the 7 year Tribulation, 3) the Judgment of the Nations before the Millennium begins (after the Tribulation), and 4)the final Great White Throne Judgment when unbelievers are cast into the Lake of Fire. By the way, the wicked are also resurrected, they aren’t annihilated like many want to believe. Acts 24:15
Let’s look at the Bema Seat first, probably the most important for Christians:
Judgment Seat (Bema Seat) of Christ– 1 Corinthians 3:9-15 This Judgment Day is for Christians only right after the Rapture and will bring the false foundations in one’s life to light Vs.13 Fire will test the quality of each person’s works Vs. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward Vs. 15 If what he has built burns, he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. This is the most detailed passage of the Bible that refers to the “Judgment Seat of Christ, also referred to as the Bema Seat”. See Romans 14:10 also. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:10 During this judgment, Christians will be judged according to their good works only and receive crowns. Jesus will not “see” your sins, as he died on the cross to save you from them!
There are five different crowns reserved for those who are faithful to do God’s work: Crowns are symbol of authority. They denote the authority that will be granted to Christians during the Millennial period when they reign with Christ. Yes, my friend, you will be rewarded in heaven! Here are the crowns: Jesus said in Revelation 3:11, “I am coming quickly, hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown”. 1) Incorruptible Crown- called “the victor’s crown,” is given to those who “keep under their body, and bring it into subjection”- 1 Corinthians 9:25,27 2) Crown of Life- often called “the martyr’s crown”, this reward will rectify the many injustices Christians suffer in life. Those who have suffered much yet endured with a sweet Christian spirit will be given this crown, who have been “faithful unto death” as a witness for Christ.- Revelation 2:10. 3) Crown of Glory- this is often called “the shepherd’s crown” or “the pastor’s crown”. It is reserved for those who have given their lives to the teaching of the Word of God- 1 Peter 5:1,2-4 4) Crown of Righteousness- a special crown is reserved for those Christians who, inspired by the imminent return of Christ, have lived a very righteous and holy life. Titus 2:12-14, 1 John 3:2-3, 2 Timothy 4:8 5) Crown of Rejoicing- often referred to as “the soul winner’s crown”, this crown is reserved for those who have devoted their primary attention to the salvation of lost souls, often in a humble way.- 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20.
We will finish up the Judgments next blog and then move on to: The subject of Death and Dying. This is a topic we all can relate to. Trust me, you have either had a husband, wife, child, parent or grandparent likely pass away in the last year or two.
Wake up people!What has he been doing over the last couple of years? Co-teaching Bible studies , and presently finishing books on Genesis and Proverbs. In the fall of 2016, he will be teaching on the topic of New Testament Survey with his son Jimmy at Grace Church in Racine, Wisconsin.