For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
2 Corinthians 5:10 (NLT)
I’ve been before a judge once. I was in for speeding and my case was eventually dismissed. I found out later that it was the same courthouse that Michael Vick had his hearing and sentencing for his illegal dog fighting ring several months later.
It was scary to go before the judge. This was the person ultimately responsible for the punishment I was going to receive. As I watched people go before me, I remember driving myself crazy with thinking of the worst-case scenarios. I didn’t see anyone get a way with anything. The judge was hard with sentencing. Then when my name was called to go before the judge. Although my case was dismissed, I will never forget the pressure that I felt standing before the judge.
The Judgment Seat of Christ that we read about this week is a little different. It’s also called the Bema Seat of Christ, which “bema” is the Greek word for judgment. When Paul was writing this, the bema seat was the tribunal bench in the Roman courtroom, where the governor sat giving out verdicts.
This judgment from Christ will not be whether or not we get into heaven. Once we become a follower of Jesus there is no condemnation or eternal punishment (Romans 8:1). This is however a judgment on how followers will be rewarded. It’s a judgment where Jesus evaluates and gives rewards based on what we’ve done in this life.
The struggle is that it seems fair or causes competition between followers. If anything this pending “review” that we will all face should cause us to help and encourage each other to increase our reward. Think Hebrews 10:24-25: Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
Working hard not to prove anything to Jesus but proof that’s He’s worked and continues working in my life.