In an attempt to take the large volume of scriptural material on the subject of the Judgment Seat, this article and the one to follow systematize our finding into 10 summary statements. This article deals with the last four of those ten statements.
It has been accurately said that the Christian life is more like a marathon than a 100 meter sprint. Actually it seems that it is more like a marathon with an obstacle course added! But as hard and as difficult as the Christian life can often be in this unrighteous world, when we remember the finish line we are encouraged to keep on keeping on. When we are finally with the Savior that will make it all worthwhile. Seeing Him in His majestic glory will be an unbelievable moment for all of us. And making our appearance before Him at His Judgment Seat will be an amazing and enlightening moment for sure.
In our last study we began the process of summarizing some of the main points that were made over the past months in this series of studies. Six points were shared in the last study and six more will be shared in this one.
#7 – Failures in life, when repented of, do not eliminate the possibility of significant reward at the Judgment Seat.
What serious believer is there who is not chagrined by some past sin and failure in his or her life. But the believer is to take heart by looking at men who sinned (like David and Peter) and yet will be rewarded greatly. Since all believers have experienced failure in their lives, we are not to become despondent and give up. Repentance of the sin, followed by living diligently for the Lord Jesus, can bring about great reward. As long as we are alive on this earth, the promise in the Scriptures of entering His rest (reward) remains (Heb. 4:1).
#8 – The Judgment Seat of Christ is a necessary event.
Because of the nature of God and because all creatures are accountable to Him, judgment is mandatory. All creature, angels or men, must give an account for how they have or have not adhered to the moral law of God. This is also true of believers. While believers are redeemed individuals they too face judgment. As the Apostle Peter clearly puts it, judgment must begin “with the household of God” (1 Peter 4:17) and then proceed to everyone else. It must be clear to all of creation that the Lord is just and righteous as well as being loving and good. How one has lived cannot be overlooked or swept under the heavenly carpet. The Judgment Seat is that particular judgment where believers from the church age give an account for their lives.
#9 – The relationship at the Judgment Seat of sin, grace, mercy and justice is not fully comprehensible to us.
From the teachings of the Lord Jesus and the Apostles, it is apparent that sin will impact the events of the Judgment Seat. It is also clear that the justice of the Lord will be blended together with His mercy (the withholding of deserved punishment) along with His grace (the giving of unmerited favor). Only the Lord, as He deals with His children, will righteously put together the perfect mix of these various elements. It is somewhat of a mystery to us how these will be blended together, along with other matters such as how the length of a person life will be factored in (the believer who has known Christ for 80 years versus the one who was saved on his death bed). The complexity of these things is clearly above the pay grade of we mere mortals. But definitely not that of the righteous judge of the earth.
#10 – The Lord is generous and desires to greatly reward His children.
We know that the Lord delights in giving good gifts to His children, as that is part of His nature. He is not stingy nor is He reluctant to give generously to believers. He does not have a limited supply of rewards that need to be rationed out to His people. That which limits His generosity is not His nature but rather the unfaithfulness of believers. Even the trials of life are designed to make it possible for Him to reward His children in a greater way. He is the creator of all good and perfect gifts (James 1:17) and it is His desire to lavish these upon His own children.
#11 – Believers need to carefully evaluate their lives “today” to see if they are truly trusting and obeying.
This emphasis upon “today” being the appropriate time for laboring and evaluating is an emphasis of the book of Hebrews. Believers really cannot afford to live in a condition of spiritual delusion, nor can they afford to put off to a future day serious reflection about their own walk with Christ. It is important to immediately face these critical matters and seek the insight of the Holy Spirit in coming to understand where we really are spiritually. It is vital to decide to live fully and completely for the Lord Jesus now, and then to daily build on that decision in the power and guidance of the Spirit.
#12 – All toil, suffering and sacrifice will be more than worth it when we see our Lord Jesus.
As we noted at the beginning of this study, being a faithful follower of Jesus in this present evil world is not at all easy. It requires all diligence (to quote Peter), alertness and sobriety. Being “in” the world but not “of” the world is the requirement (note John 17:11-16). Christians are seen as aliens, strangers and those who citizenship is in heaven (Heb. 11:13-16; 1 Pet. 2:11). All of this makes the task of being a faithful child of God a difficult one since Satan who is seen as the god of this world is actively opposed to such living.
The believer has impressive resources in the Scriptures, the Spirit and the saints. There is little doubt that when we see the Lord Jesus, any and all suffering and sacrifice will be immediately seen as worth it. In the words of that faithful, diligent man, the Apostle Paul.
“the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)
“momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)
Or to put it in less inspired terms but ones that are still accurate: “only one life, it will soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.”
May this coming payday be one that we eagerly look forward to!
(A fuller study of this subject can be found in Dr. Benware’s book, “The Believer’s Payday” and can be found at Paulbenware.com)