2 Corinthians 5:6-10
Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat-(Original Greek word for judgment seat is the Bema seat) of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
Bema Seat – What Is It?
The concept of the Bema Seat comes from the ancient Olympic games–(Isthmian games), which were actually held there in the city of Corinth. A judge would sit on a elevated platform called the Bema seat. The judge was to give out the appropriate rewards to the participants of the events. That is the imagery behind what is known as the Bema Seat. Rewards.
The Bema Seat is described in 1 Corinthians 3:12-15, “If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.”
Christ is going to test the motives of our actions. Everything we have done as Christians will be tested and those things found to be done with wrong motives will be burned up and we will suffer loss. In Matthews gospel Jesus talks about actions done for the sake of man’s praise will not be rewarded in heaven. The approval of man is the reward.
“Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.
But those things that were done with a pure motive will receive a reward! Those that help advance the kingdom of heaven without any ulterior motive will be having one fun day at the Bema seat of Christ!
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.
Bema Seat – What It Isn’t
The Bema seat judgment does not determine salvation. Rather, it is when believers must give an account of their lives to Christ. It is very important to not confuse the Bema seat with the Great White Throne judgment. Revelation 20:11-15 describe this judgment,
“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
The Great White Throne is where those who do not believe in Jesus Christ are judged and condemned. This will take place after Christ millennial reign here on Earth, according to Revelation.
In contrast, the Bema seat is only for believers in Jesus Christ, as I mentioned earlier. Where we will be judged on the authenticity of our works. For we will surely give an account of the decisions made while in this body.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.
But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.
“You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s Bema seat. It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.'” So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.”
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.