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The Judgment Seat of Christ
A Preliminary Enquiry.
pp. 159, 160
There is nothing more solemn to the believer than that he must one day stand before
his Redeemer and give an account of his stewardship, and this fact with its many
consequences finds expression in a number of passages of the N.T. Neither is it confined
to any one dispensation or calling. We find the principle expressed in the form of parable
in the Gospels, and by doctrinal statement in the epistles.
The language in the epistles is plain.
"We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ" (Rom. 14: 10).
The solemn fact is implied in such a passage as I Cor. 11: 31, 32:
"If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we
are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world."
A number of important distinctions call for consideration here. We propose an
examination into this heart searching subject, and will seek an answer to the many
questions that arise, including such as:
How does the teaching of Rom. 14: 10 or I Cor. 11: 31, 32 harmonize with the
doctrine of a full free forgiveness, justification and perfect acceptance in Christ?
How does the appearance of the believer before a judgment seat of any description
harmonize with such a passage as Rom. 8: 33, 34?
Does this scrutiny at the judgment seat of Christ belong only to the earlier ministry of
Paul, or does it find a place in the dispensation of the Mystery as well?
If we limit this judgment to the believer's "works", "service" or "stewardship", can we
affirm that disloyalty, self seeking or any other form of unacceptable service, is
when found in the redeemed, something other than sin?
How does the award of "loss" at that day accord with the forgiveness of ALL
What can be meant by receiving the things done in the body (II Cor. 5: 10)? and how
can a believer who has put on immortality in resurrection ever possibly "reap
corruption"? (Gal. 6: 8). Is this "reaping" operative only in this life?
These and many like questions will press upon us for a Scriptural answer. In some
cases we may have to confess that it is beyond our knowledge to provide one. We will
"hasten slowly" and build as solidly as grace will permit. The first thing that seems to
call for consideration is the term "the judgment seat", and to this we devote the remainder
of this article.
The Greek word translated "judgment seat" is bema, a word that occurs twelve times
in the N.T., twice of the Lord, and eight times concerning earthly judgment seats, once a