A divine appointment

When God keeps that divine set appointment with us in heaven, Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:10 that we will appear… that ALL MUST appear… before the judgment seat of Christ.
Now there is a lot of confusion about that place.
Judgment seat translates into Greek as bema, which in its simplest definition means a raised platform reached by steps. In the Greek culture that Paul wrote from and to, bema referred to the elevated platform on which victorious athletes received their crowns even as we say today in the Olympic games.
In the New Testament, it was used as the judgment seat of Pilate…of Herod. There was even a bema in Corinth where unbelieving Jews unsuccessfully accused Paul before the Roman governor Gallio.
So a person brought before a bema was to have their deeds examined for the purpose of recognizing and punishing wrongdoing or rewarding some achievement.
And that’s what the Bible means, too.
Unbelievers, those who don’t follow Christ, will have their sins exposed and be punished before the judgment seat of Christ. The Bible clearly, all too clearly, tells us that.
There will be, it says, much wailing and gnashing of teeth at the bema for, says the Bible, the fate of non-believers is eternal damnation in hell…everlasting punishment for sins which will be exposed by God’s penetrating justice.
Now Christians will also go before the bema. But Christian believers will NOT be judged for sin at the judgment seat of Christ. Why? Because our sins were dealt with at the cross. Jesus, our very judge, paid for those sins with his blood. They are gone, Blotted out, Forgotten. Paid for.
So what will happen to us at that judgment seat?
The full truth about our lives, our character and actions as a Christian will be made clear to each believer. Each one of us will discover the real verdict on our ministry, our service, our motives. All hypocrisy and pretense will be stripped away.
As Samuel 16:7 says, “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearances, but God looks at the heart.”
The writer of Hebrews put it this way: “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
That’s another part of our divine appointment.
The things we did with shallow, self-serving motives will not please God. That’s the bad Paul refers to… stuff that means or counts for nothing, things which may not be sinful per se but things which had no eternal value, like working our way up the corporate ladder, earning all sorts of degrees, accumulating wealth, getting better at golf…. morally neutral things…. The things so many of us spend so much of our time pursing,
The things that are considered “good” at that bema, that judgment seat, are the things we do that DO HAVE eternal value, things done with a motive to glorify God. That’s the divine ordained allegiance we are to have – to bring him glory by our lives.
At that judgment seat, we will be rewarded for those deeds… deeds good and pure and pleasing to God. We don’t know what those rewards may be….other than, glorious. But they await us.
That is a certainty.

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