It takes some effort and imagination to picture yourself standing before Jesus Christ, God the Son; the One who loved you and delivered you from the law of sin and death. I believe we see in Scripture that God indeed wants us thinking about being with Him in His holy presence.
God’s Word directs us to “…seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on the things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3: 1b-2).
Have you given any thought lately to the Judgement Seat of Christ? I’m sure the term Judgement does not have a cheerful ring to it, but oh what an event it will be! Whether you face it when your life on earth is over, or when we are all caught up together to be with Him, there will be an appointed time for each of us to stand before Christ and give an account for all that we have done in our lives.
“Ought not this to make us feel what an intense thing the Christian life is—not a thing of sleepiness or haphazard, not a thing to be left now and then to a little superficial consideration? It must be a matter which demands all our strength, so that when we are saved there is a living principle put within us which demands all our energies, and gives us energy over and above any that we ever had before. Those who dream that carelessness will find its way to heaven have made a great mistake.” -Spurgeon
Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” Why would the Bible say that we will give an account for the bad that we’ve done if we are in Heaven, and there is no sin, no bad, and no evil there?
First Corinthians chapter three provides some more details. As Paul teaches that we are labourers together with God, he teaches that the foundation of our labour for God is Jesus Christ.
“Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest (known): for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’swork shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” Vs 12-15
Did you notice how often the word fire was used? You see, heaven and earth will pass away (Rev. 21:1), and all worldly deeds will pass with it. The Judgment Seat of Christ is a time of receiving rewards for all we have done, in faith, for the Lord. There are different rewards for the various acts of service we have done.
Just to name a few, there are rewards for denying ourselves—Matthew 16:24-27; for generous giving—Matthew 6:20; and for enduring persecution—Luke 6:22-23. In many references to the rewards we will receive, the Greek word misthos is used, meaning “pay for services, hire, reward, wages.” These are real, physical rewards!
Other rewards are: the opportunity to rule and reign with Christ during the Millennial reign based on our faithfulness (Matthew 25:21-23), and also the earning of crowns (Rev. 2:10; 1 Cor. 9:24-25; Phil. 4:1; 1 Pet. 5:1-4; and 2 Tim. 4:6-8).
The “gold, silver and precious stones” acts that we have done for the Lord will be rewarded. The “wood, hay and stubble”—those things we’ve done for ourselves with wrong motives—will burn, and we will lose those rewards. Think of it like an Olympian who trained, ran the race, and earned a medal, only to have the medal stripped away because it was “made known” that he used steroids; that athlete went through all the motions, but his motive was wrong—he acted selfishly.
Our race is being closely and lovingly monitored. We are called to be faithful stewards. Christ died for us, and it is only reasonable that we should live for Him. Despite the fact that we owe Him everything, He still delights in rewarding us for living for Him. We should long for the judgment seat of Christ rather than dread it. With your actions and affections today, are you storing up treasure? Earning rewards? Or are you losing rewards? Determine today to live with eternity in mind. Second John 8 encourages us to “Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward” (emphasis added).