Spirit of Grace Ministries
Spirit of Grace Ministries
-- Feeding Jesus' sheep
-- Equipping His servants
-- Proclaiming His Gospel

Why a Judgement Seat?

By Dennis Pollock


In 2nd Corinthians, the apostle Paul writes: "Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him (God)." (2 Corinthians 5:9). Paul declares that his aim, his goal, his objective in life is to please God. No Christian could argue with this. Every person who has the Spirit of God working in his or her life wants to please the LORD.


But there is something more to this desire than we might suppose. In the very next verse, Paul tells us why we should all make this the goal of our lives, writing:


For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10)


So, Paul is saying, that we want to live in such a way as to please God, and the reason is that we are all going to one day stand before the judgment seat of Christ, and we will receive divine recompense for the things we have done while on earth and in our physical bodies.


We have a court date set for us when we will stand before Jesus and our life here on earth will be reviewed. We do not know the exact time or date, but God does, and no one is exempt from this appearance in the courtroom of heaven. This can be confusing for many, who feel that, since we have been saved through faith in Jesus, and since our sins have been forgiven, what is the point of a "judgment seat" where we will give an account of our lives? Why would God not simply meet us at the gates of heaven and welcome us in, no questions asked?


Still, there is no getting around this idea of the judgment seat of Christ. The Bible teaches that both believers and unbelievers, serial killers and prayer warriors, violent, abusive men, and gentle, compassionate men – all of us will eventually have our day in the divine court. However, the believers' judgments and the sinners' judgments will be at different times and for different purposes. The judgment of the unbelievers is sometimes called the "Great White-throne Judgment" and it is for condemnation and a demonstration of God's righteous judgment for the ungodly lives they have lived. Sinners do not all sin at the same rate and at the same level. And each will suffer for their sins and lives, according to the amount of divine light that was available to them throughout their lives. Jesus said: "And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more." (Luke 12:47-48).


But again, you may ask, "Since the followers of Jesus have been forgiven of their sins, should we not all be in the same situation – fully forgiven, completely clean, precisely the same? And if so, why would there be any kind of judgment needed for us?"


There is a concept called purgatory, which says that, even though we are forgiven, God still remembers our sins, and it will be necessary for God to punish us for hundreds or even thousands of years until we are fully cleansed from all the bad things we did throughout our lives as Christians. Finally, after years and perhaps centuries of torment and suffering and misery, God will deem us worthy of being in His presence, our suffering will end, and we will be allowed into heaven.


This concept is not to be found in the Scriptures. If you had not heard this in church, and simply read the New Testament through without any prior thought of purgatory, no one would ever come to this conclusion. Purgatory insults the blood of Jesus Christ and declares that Christ's blood is insufficient for the cleansing of the soul. Paul declared that he looked forward to being with Jesus upon his death, and stated that Christians look forward to leaving this world, not because they are eager to suffer for centuries as their souls are cleansed in purgatory, but because they will immediately be with the Lord, writing: "We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord." (2 Corinthians 5:8)


But if there is no purgatory, and if all our sins have been completely forgiven and blotted out, what is the point of this judgment seat of Christ? The answer is that there will be a distribution of rewards for our service to Jesus. And it is at that judgment seat that Christ will reveal the precise rewards we will receive "while in the body," in other words, while we live in a physical body on this earth, during our short lifetime. The believers' judgment is not so that Jesus can tell you how bad you have been and assign you some miserable time-out spot in heaven where you can pay for your poor behavior. It is a time when you will discover the eternal rewards you have gained by your service. In the final chapter of the Bible, Jesus says: "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work." (Revelation 22:12)


Jesus encourages us, that when we have a big party, we should not invite our rich neighbors, because they will probably repay us by inviting us to one of their parties later. Instead, He says:


But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just. (Luke 14:13-14)


Jesus is telling us that we will be rewarded for specific acts of kindness when we get to heaven. He is not telling us that we will be saved and gain entrance to heaven by giving parties to poor people. Acceptance by God comes exclusively through putting our faith in Jesus. But Jesus is saying that when we show compassion for the unfortunate, God will remember, and He will grant us eternal blessings because we are concerned for those everyone else ignores or rejects. In Matthew, He says: "For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works." (Matthew 16:27) (3:14 – JUDGMENT SEAT file)


Even the smallest acts of kindness that we do in Jesus' name will be remembered. Jesus says: "And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward." (Matthew 10:42). We sometimes think God pays little attention to us "small" people. Perhaps He watches over kings and presidents, but He has little time for schoolteachers, construction workers, and department store clerks. But Jesus tells us He does not miss a thing. He is keeping a careful record of our Holy Spirit-inspired works of kindness and ministry, and one day we will be rewarded for each one.


These are, according to Jesus, "treasures in heaven," and He admonishes us: "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…" (Matthew 6:19-20). These heavenly treasures will be enjoyed by us in eternity. A million, billion years from now, we will be experiencing the blessings of these rewards for things done in our short little few decades of life on this earth.


If a man buys me a meal, as a token of his appreciation, that meal will last me for a few hours. If he gives me a car, that automobile might last me perhaps fifteen years. If he gives me a well-built house, that house may endure for the rest of my life. But our Heavenly Father wants to reward us for our service to Christ with blessings that will not last us a day, fifteen years, or even seventy years. He will give us rewards that will last us throughout eternity. In our short little lives, we are accumulating eternal blessings which we will be enjoying trillions of years after we first enter heaven.


Paul writes: "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory…" (2 Corinthians 4:17)


What amazing benefits there are in knowing and serving Jesus! The forgiveness of sins, the gift of eternal life, eternal fellowship with God, and on top of all of this – we will receive rewards for every good thing we have done while in this present body. Is it any wonder that the sinner is given the title "unbeliever?" They throw away an eternal inheritance, blessings beyond anything our world could ever offer, and exchange them for the proverbial bowl of stew. May the Holy Spirit open their eyes so that they may see the fantastic and eternal inheritance available to every one of us in Jesus Christ.




For a full listing of all articles, written and audio, go to our Devo Catalog Page.



        For inspirational devos, bios of Christian leaders, free downloads, and the latest SOGM news:
Sign up to receive E-newsletter

Your donations are needed and greatly appreciated!



Just for you!

Missions Outreach

A major part of Spirit of Grace Ministries is our ministry in the great continent of Africa. There is a tremendous harvest going on in the world these days, and we are privileged to be a part of it. Above is a brief music video featuring video clips and pics from our recent mission in Nigeria in Oct/Nov, 2019.

Audio Devo: "Why is there suffering?"

People have debated this question for millennia. And we cannot speak concerning specific individual questions of suffering, but the Bible clearly speaks as to why suffering has always been a part of the human experience.