The Judgment Seat of Christ
…We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
— Romans 14:10
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.
— 2 Corinthians 5:10
The fact is that soon everything in this world will pass away. Only those things that were done for Jesus — in obedience to Him — will last for eternity. In light of this truth, it’s imperative that we frequently examine our hearts to determine our real spiritual condition. If we find areas that need improvement, the Holy Spirit will help us correct those areas that are out of harmony with Him.
The Bible says that a day is coming when we will all stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ to give an account for what we’ve done with His Word and with His plan for our lives. Romans 14:10 says, “…For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” And Second Corinthians 5:10 says, “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.”
It’s important to understand that this is not the Great White Throne Judgment (see Revelation 20:11), before which unbelievers will stand and give account to God for their lack of faith. The Judgment Seat of Christ speaks of the moment in God’s timeline when Christians will be rendered eternal rewards — or where they will discover that they have accumulated no eternal reward — according to their works in their lifetime.
The word “judgment seat” is a translation of the Greek word bema, a word that described an official place where judgments and rewards were rendered to those who stood before an official judge. Paul used this word to emphatically warn us that a time will come when each of us will stand before Christ, answer for what we have done, and be rewarded or not rewarded accordingly. The books will be opened and everything will be made known, including the motives of men’s hearts (see 1 Corinthians 4:5).
Since a day is coming when the truth will be revealed, wouldn’t it be better for you and me to take an honest look at ourselves right now so we can get things completely right in our hearts before that great day when we stand before Christ?
I’ve prepared the following questions to help you see areas of your spiritual life that may need attention. These are questions I regularly ask myself to keep my own heart open and pliable in the hands of the Holy Spirit. I pray they are as helpful to you as they are to me. They’re not meant to be condemning. I share them with you only to help you determine if there are areas in which you need divine assistance and change. I know that I will give account one day for the way I truthfully answer the following basic questions — so for me, this is a meaningful starting point to help me regularly make sure my heart is right.
Prayerfully consider asking these questions for yourself, bringing them before the Lord so He can help you keep your heart aligned with His and walk in the light of His truth for your life.
What do I give to God financially?
Does your giving show that the Kingdom of God and world missions are still your heartbeat — something you deeply value?
Since actions really do speak louder than words, it would be a healthy exercise for all of us to look at our financial giving and see what our giving reveals about our priorities.
What do my spending habits and my acquisition of personal possessions say about me and my character?
Do you spend money on possessions that you know should have been used in the expansion of the Gospel in places where its voice needs to be heard? If so, what changes do you need to make?
We can all mislead ourselves to think we’re more generous than we really are. But if God Himself gave His view of our spending habits, what would He say about us? Would He say that the propagation of the Gospel is the most important thing to us — or that our spending habits reveal that our own comforts are most important? We must be willing to allow Him to deal with us and then make changes as He lovingly touches those areas of our lives that need improvement.
What am I doing with my time?
How you use your time is a great indicator of what you really deem as import- ant. Do you spend time with God and His Word as a top priority in your life? Or do you somehow find time to watch television, go to the movies, or do other things you want to do while failing to find time to saturate your heart in the Word?
A good question we could ask ourselves is this: If God looked at our lives and measured what we love most by the things we give our time to, what would He say we loved the most in life?
Whom am I really serving with my talents?
An honest answer to this question will reveal the depth of your commitment to God and to the local church. Serving the Lord means that you have willingly given Him the final say about what you do with your time — and that you are willing to make time to serve in the local body He has set you in.
Is there anything you’re laying down or sacrificing in order to walk in obedience and service to God? Are you willing to be inconvenienced to help someone else or to serve in the church — to jeopardize your own comforts and pleasures to further the cause of Christ and make a difference in the lives of others?
Words are easily spoken, but actions prove a person’s sincerity. By looking at our lives — our talents, our gifts, and our time — would God say our actions prove we’re devoted mostly to ourselves and our own needs and interests, or would He say we’re truly living for the expansion of His Kingdom?
What do I spend most of my time praying about?
What does your prayer life reveal about you? Do you only pray about yourself, or do you pray for the needs of others also? It’s easy to think of your own needs and desires — because they’re your needs, and no one knows them like you do. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that. But how often do you focus on the needs of others when you pray? Does God hear you primarily praying for your- self, or does He hear you praying for other people too?
Would God say that your life reveals a willingness to pick up your cross to do what He asks you to? If God opened the books to reveal the sacrifices you’ve made in response to Him, would the records reveal that you care deeply about pleasing Him and living in obedience to His commands, both in His Word and His specific direction for your life?
I believe these questions, though basic, are a good starting point to examine ourselves to determine our spiritual gauge. If the needle points toward “empty” or even “half full,” we need to spend time in the presence of God to be refilled and resupplied. None of us wants to look ashamedly into the eyes of Jesus on that great day — on what should be one of the most wonderful days in our eternal lives!
I want to encourage you to take time to think over the questions in this Sparkling Gem and let the Holy Spirit shine His light upon your life. Then through time in prayer and in God’s Word, let Him tell you what action you need to take to bring correction and be fully refilled and resupplied!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, since the day is coming when I will stand before the judgment seat of Christ to be rewarded or not rewarded according to my works, please help me take a serious look at my life now and evaluate where I need to make changes. On that glorious day, I do not want to look into Jesus’ eyes while feeling regret and sadness — I want to look into His eyes, knowing that I did all He asked of me to fulfill His plan for my life. Holy Spirit, help me examine my heart and my actions to see what I need to change now. And Holy Spirit, I ask You to remind me continually that a day is coming when I will stand before Christ to answer for my life. Please keep me in remembrance of this so that I will live at all times with eternity at the forefront of my mind.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I acknowledge that I live each day with an awareness that I will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ one day. As a result, I take a serious look at my life regularly to see where I need to make changes. I am determined that I will look into His eyes on that glorious day without regrets, knowing that I did my best to fulfill His plan for my life. Hence, I will live in obedience and yieldedness to the direction of the Holy Spirit so that I can be ready for that great and notable day.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Have you ever thought about the day when you will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ? In what ways would your life change if you stayed more aware of that fact throughout each day?
- Have you ever heard a preacher or Bible teacher teach on this subject? If not, why do you think this subject has not had more attention when it deals with one of the most critical moments in our eternal existence?
- We will all stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ. How does that thought personally impact your heart? Why does it affect you that way? What does your answer tell you about your own spiritual confidence and condition?