“All believers in the Body of Christ will be judged for rewards”.
Scripture shows that soon after this Age of Grace comes to a close, all believers will stand before the “Judgment Seat Of Christ”.
“For we must all (believers) appear before the judgment seat of Christ”, writes Paul the apostle in [1 Corinthians 5:10].
“That every one may receive the things done in his body, (while we’re here in this body) according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad”.
The King James Bible uses the word ‘judgment’, which probably scares people.
The Greek word for this judgment is “Bema“. We must all appear before the Bema Seat, which was a raised platform that was used in the Olympic games. This was a seat of the judges to determine who would win.
This is the analogy that the apostle Paul is using.
So looking at it from an Olympic sports event scenario we must all appear before the Bema Seat.
This will not be a judgment for our sins, but rather for our rewards.
For all our sins have been paid in full and cancelled at the Cross of Christ. We never need fear that.
It will be a judgment for our rewards, depending on how we have served the Lord Jesus Christ during our life here on earth. Each one of us will be rewarded according to our works.
Encouragement From Paul The Apostle
“Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent we may be accepted (approved) of him.” [2 Corinthians 5:9]
We’re not dealing with salvation at all here, but in the area of rewards for our living here in this life as believers.
And that’s the admonition & encouragement to a believer.
We’re not just saved to escape hell fire, but rather we are saved to serve, and that’s why God leaves us here.
The twelve disciples in Christ’s earthly ministry wanted to know what would be their reward. The eleven had been with Jesus in this Scripture for almost the whole three years. They have their salvation, so they’re not worried about that. And remember we’re not counting Judas.
“Then answered Peter and said unto him, `Behold we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?” [Matthew 19:27-28]
What is Peter referring to? What kind of a reward are we going to get for having left all material blessing, our fishing business, home and family?
And look at how Jesus answers them. “And Jesus said unto them, `Verily I say unto you. That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration (that is when the 1000-year kingdom would be set up) when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel”.
Now what was that? That’s their reward for having served Him so diligently during those three years of His earthly ministry.
It didn’t have anything to do with their salvation but it had everything to do with their rewards.
The Sin Factor Already Dealt With
There are many who feel, that we are going through all our trials and tribulations because of sin in our past.
Well, if you are one of them, then I would like to ask you this.
“Are you a believer and are you a child of God? Are you saved?”
Your answer is ‘yes’.
“Well then, where do you get the idea that you still have sin on your back?
You do not carry past sins because they have been judged at the Cross.”
When we come before the Bema Seat or the Judgment Seat of Christ, we will NOT to have to face our sins, because they are taken care of, they’re forgiven. They’re cancelled.
So we come before Him now to be judged on what we have done as believers in our earthly journey.
It’s not going to be so much on ‘how much’ we have done, but the motivation behind what we have done.
Why do we do the things that we do? Do we have the right motive?
So everything we do has to be done in that light.
Am I doing it because I love the Lord, and He’ll receive the glory? If so then it will count for rewards.
But on the other hand if we’re doing it to show people how much we can accomplish then it will count for nothing.
It will be nothing more than hay, wood and stubble.
The Concept Of Working For Rewards
Paul only writes to believers, “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day (what day? The day when we stand before the Bema Seat. For that day) shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try (test) every man’s work of what sort it is” [1 Corinthians 3:12-13].
All our works will be under the spotlight. The very deep, penetrative and fiery eyes of Jesus are going to examine and judge everything that we’ve done as believers.
We’ll have those things that the fire can’t touch such as the gold, silver, and precious stones. The stuff made of wood, hay and stubble, goes up in a puff of smoke.
So this Scripture pretty much explains itself. Our motives will be a key factor.
For The Glory Of God
Why do we do the things that we categorize as good works? Is it just for pleasing the flesh or someone else or truly done for God’s Honour and Glory?
“If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward…” [1 Corinthians 3:14]
We can’t argue with that. Many don’t like that concept, but it is what the Bible tells us. We must understand this concept of rewards for the believer. It’s God’s motivation for us to labour and work for them.
Jesus did also tell us to, “lay up our treasures in heaven and not on earth” [Matthew 6:19-20]. HE says it twice.
Since God is telling us to “lay up our treasures in heaven” twice in the same breath, He’s laying absolute ‘emphasis’.
Absolutely, we’re going to receive rewards.
Our salvation, the promises like the street being paved with gold, and the mansions in glory, are not rewards. They are free gifts.
The rewards are going to be something else. We can’t understand it fully, but it could well be, that whole area of outer space is going to be the domain of the Church Age believer, because we’re told that we’re going to rule the heavenlies. [Ephesians 2:6]
So there’s going to be areas of rewards that every believer should want to work for.
This is a concept that is so hard for a lot of us to overcome because we’ve had it drummed and indoctrinated into us for so many years that we have to work and have to do something for our salvation.
But Romans 6:23 just blows that thought process out of the window.
“For the wages (something that you earn) of sin is death; (spiritual death) but (the flip side) the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” [Romans 6:23].
You can’t work for something and then call it a gift, because as soon as you work for it, it is no longer a gift.
And so it is with our salvation.
But once we’ve become a recipient of that gift, what does God logically expect?