“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)
The phrase ‘judgment seat’ is the Greek word – BEMA. During the day when the Apostle Paul wrote these words, the Greeks participated in athletic competition much like our modern day Olympics. At each event there was a raised platform called the ‘Bema Seat. ’ It was here that the ruler watched the games and awarded the winners.
Paul uses this concept to describe what that will happen when the church stands before its Savior. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat (BEMA SEAT) of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” Though it is translated as ‘judgment seat’, there will be no judgment of the believer. For those of us who have trusted in Christ as our Savior, our judgment took place at Calvary. The Bema Seat of Christ will be a time of: revelation, recognition and reward. In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul reveals how our Christian service will be revealed and evaluated.
“For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 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. (1 Corinthians 3:9-15)
1. We are not ‘competing against’ each other
Paul tells us that we are co-laborers working together with each other and with God. It should be our desire that each of us be a winner!
2. Our service to God is ‘by the grace of God’
Paul tells us that it is God who gives us both ‘the desire and the ability’ to serve Him. (see Philippians 2:12-13)
3. One day our life as a believer will be completely exposed and examined
Paul speaks of honorable works such as: gold, silver, costly stones, and dishonorable works such as wood, hay or straw. Fire does not destroy gold or silver; it only makes it more pure. But fire completely destroys things like wood, hay or straw.
It is after this careful examination that we will be rewarded with our heavenly opportunities to serve our Savior. Therefore, those who desire to serve Christ in eternity should be serving Him today.