“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” – 2 Corinthians 5:10
“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened.” – Revelation 20: 11-12
“The greatest thought that has ever entered my mind is that one day I will have to stand before a holy God and give an account of my life.” – Daniel Webster
Several years ago I had the privilege of traveling to Turkey and Greece with my oldest son, Rushman, to tour the seven churches of Revelation. After arriving in Ephesus, we boarded a beautifully restored 350 feet, four-masted sailing yacht that was built in 1931 called the Sea Cloud. Once on board, we sailed through the Greek Islands stopping at Patmos, Santorini, and eventually, Athens and Corinth.
One day, as we were walking through the ruins of Corinth, we came upon a huge stone, about five feet high, ten feet long, and five feet deep. On the front of that stone was a plaque with the word BEMA, a Greek word for our English translation, the judgment seat. According to Dr. John MacArthur, “In Greek culture, bema referred to the elevated platform on which victorious athletes received their crowns, much like the medal stand in the modern Olympic games.” Thus, Rushman and I were both standing before the ruined ancient bema of Corinth. “For we must all appear before the [bema] of Christ…” And so, the bema, or the judgment seat of Christ, will be the platform before which all believers will stand to receive their reward from the hand of Jesus for all the things they have done in this life that have eternal value (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).
So are you ready to stand before Christ?
The Bible teaches that there are two places of judgment. One, the Great White Throne Judgment, will be a place of condemnation and judgment. The other, the judgment seat (bema) of Christ, will be a place of reward and honor. Where you stand depends on how you respond to Jesus in this life. Those who place their trust in Him and receive Him into their hearts (John 1:12) will be invited to the awards banquet. They will never have to stand before the Great White Throne Judgment. Why? The reason is because when one places his trust in Christ, his sins are judged at the cross. At that moment, he is declared righteous by our holy God (Romans 3:22-25).
In Romans 8:1, Paul writes, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are IN Christ Jesus.” You must understand that your sins must be judged because God is just and He must act according to His nature. But where your sins are judged is up to you. In this life, they may be judged at the cross. If you refuse to come to the cross, then you will die IN your sin (John 8:24), forcing God to judge your sins at the Great White Throne Judgment.
And so, where will you stand? The choice is yours.