November 17 2017 – Click here to listen
Okay some of you took exception to me yesterday when I said that I, a born-again Christian, will have to give an accounting for my life to God when I die, and I wasn’t looking forward to it. One person summed it up for those who wrote by saying: “I disagree that we will have to give an account for each of those stupid things we’ve done. I believe the blood of Christ not only washed my sins with forgiveness, but that those wrongs are separated as the east is from the west.”
Well I hate to disagree with my friends including this old gentleman, but my Bible clearly teaches there will be a day of accounting for EVERY man, woman, boy and girl.
Check out Heb. 9:27: “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”
Sounds pretty straight-forward, concise, and convincing to me.
The “Great White Judgement” in Rev. 20:11 is for the lost. If we refuse to believe and die without receiving Christ, we will be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment and everyone there is cast into the “Lake of Fire.” It is not for those of us who have been washed in the blood of Christ through faith.
However, in II Cor. 5:10 there is another judgment called the BEMA judgment, (Greek word for “Judgment Seat). 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.”
BEMA is a reference to the Greek Olympics and the place where rewards were given. After this event there would be an awards ceremony. Three rewards would be given: First place for the best athlete, second and third rewards for those that came in the next two places. It was not a place of condemnation, but only a place where rewards were given. God’s judgment of Christians is the same. No one at this judgment will be condemned because they are already forgiven of their sins and saved, but here all Christians will be judged according to their works for Christ.
Everyone will appear before God at one of these two judgments.
Which judgment one stands before is determined simply by one fact: Whether one has believed and trusted in Jesus Christ as their Savior or not. If we believe God’s word and receive Jesus as our Savior, we will be judged at the BEMA judgment and will go to heaven. Everyone at the BEMA goes to heaven. Everyone who doesn’t will appear before the Great White Throne Judgment, and will be cast into hell and be eternally separated from God.
The emphasis today in many churches when they teach about heaven and the BEMA judgment is to stress that it is a place of reward. We speak of mansions in heaven, and of how wonderful it will be to see Jesus, “Face to face.” All these things for many are true and are wonderful and reassuring. However, this thinking is not as comforting as some might hope. Not everyone will get a reward. My brother once told me that he could care less about rewards, he said he would be happy if he could squeak in and be a janitor. He just wanted to escape hell. I can relate, but I don’t want to spend eternity like that.
John Piper once wrote: I think there will be varying rewards on the basis of that measure of fruit. So that one will get five cities and one will get ten cities to rule over. And I’ll get a little Georgia village.
Rewards to me aren’t as important as facing my Savior Jesus and knowing what He went through for me, and having Him evaluate my life’s work AFTER accepting Him as my Savior, much less before. When I read 1 John 2:28 I cringe: And now, little children, remain in Him, so that when He appears, we may be confident and unashamed before Him.
Think for a moment what is the converse of this? In other words, if we don’t “remain in Him” as we should, that can only mean we will be ashamed when we stand before Jesus Christ.
Just saying . . .
Paul sums it up nicely as to how we should run our race. And there is yet time . . .
1 Cor. 9:24
Do you not know that all the runners in a stadium compete, but only one receives the prize? So run to win. Each competitor must exercise self-control in everything. They do it to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one.
Have a great weekend and go to church this Sunday. I’m at Honey Lake and will be there. Come join us for an exciting day of fun . . .