Christ as Judge – 6 Things You Need To Know About The Bema Seat Judgement

The Bema Seat. Christ will judge Christians.

It’s a topic that not many Christians contemplate about, probably because of it’s complexity and because of the negative connotations that we pin on judgement.

Have you heard about the Bema Seat before? Where does it come from, and what conclusions can we draw from the Biblical passages that mention the judgement of Christ?

Here’s 6 things you need to know about the Bema Seat, and 6 Prayer points for reflection and communication with the Father.

 

1. Why is it called the Bema Seat?

The Bema Seat was something that the recipients of these letters would have been familiar with – The Ancient Greek bēma (βῆμα) means both ‘platform’ and ‘step’. It was a tribal bench in Roman courtroom where the governor sat and rendered judgement on civil matters.

See also: Christians are Dirt- Why God works with Dirt

 

God is a judge among many other things, but we don’t often think of Him in that way. So many people who aren’t familiar with God’s love will only have this view of God – a stern old man wearing a powered wig rendering unfair and swift judgement… but NOTHING could be further from the truth.

Here’s why…

2. Christ will judge as God the Father’s representative.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15

Christ makes the perfect judge and priest as He is compassionate… yet sinless. He felt the pain and brokenness of the human body. He felt the limitations of being tired, lonely, and needing physical and emotional relief. He understands our weaknesses. He is gracious and understanding – and yet perfectly holy (separate from sin) and perfect.

See also: Self-Care for Christian Moms… Smart or Selfish?

 

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

The judgement seat of Christ, the Bema seat, is a judgement only for Christians.

Every Christian is given gifts when they first receive the Holy Spirit, and every Christian is given the call to evangelize and live for Christ’s glory… but not every Christian heeds these commands.

All of the stuff that we did for ourselves, for our image or for our comfort… will all burn away. And what remains will be a pure and holy offering to God.

 

3. Most theologians believe that the Bema Seat Judgement is only for Christians. Romans 14:10-12

The judgment seat of Christ does not determine salvation. The only way you can be saved is faith in Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf (1 John 2:2) (John 3:16).

We should not look at the judgment seat of Christ as God judging our sins, but rather as God rewarding us for the times that we remained faithful.

There is no condemnation once you are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:8)

4. Most theologians believe that there will be rewards for faithful behaviors.

Specifically, crowns! Here’s the scriptural basis for each crown.

  • The Imperishable Crown – (1 Corinthians 9:24-25)
  • The Crown of Righteousness – (2 Timothy 4:8)
  • The Crown of Rejoicing – (1 Thessalonians 2:19)
  • The Crown of Glory – (1 Peter 5:4)
  • The Crown of Life – (Revelation 2:10)

Not all Christians will receive all crowns, and there might very well be some Christians who don’t receive any.

But most theologians believe that our natural response will be to give our crowns to Christ as a gift – the only gift we can give – in thanks for His sacrifice for us.

5. At the Bema Seat, some will hear: “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21)

At the Bema Seat, some will hear “Well done, my good and faithful servant!” (as based on the parable from Matthew 25:21.)

Because of this, our goal should be to please Christ while we’re on earth. 2 Corinthians 5:5-10

Just like running a race, you don’t want to wear your heaviest backpack, your fluffiest parka, and your warmest winter boots. You want to run with no extra weight, with nothing to slow you down.

The writer of Hebrews uses this analogy with amazing clarity:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
Hebrews 12:1-2 NLT

So sister, put off the guilt, the shame, the worry, the anxiety… and allow Christ to carry your burden for you.

Once you’ve become a Christian, you’ve traded your junk for Christ’s gift – His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. (Matthew 11:30)

At the Bema Seat, Christ will reward His Christians with gladness. He will crown us with love, and take our hands and lead us to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.

6. It isn’t you… it’s Him

You might think that the solution is to try harder, do more, obey with greater intensity. Sometimes when faced with our own sin, we squirm away, or we make up even more rules on how to have our own brand of holiness.

No! The solution is found in only one place: the cross of Christ, where Jesus took your shame upon himself and endured the judgment of God for the sins that we committed.


Once you’ve become a Christian, you’ve traded your junk for Christ’s gift – His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. (Matthew 11:30)
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Christ will judge us at the Bema Seat, but His judgement isn’t one of condemnation, but of peace, love, and genuine relationship.

Our eyes are clouded – we don’t fully understand or frankly enjoy the idea of being judged by Jesus.

Do you know how much Christ loves you?

No. You don’t. You can’t.

I don’t either, because His love for us truly surpasses human knowledge. At the Bema Seat, we won’t be worried about our mistakes, but we will be so filled with love and worship that we will feel full. Content. In a state of rich peacefulness.

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:14-21).

The Bema Seat. Christ will judge Christians.

It’s a topic that not many Christians contemplate about, probably because of it’s complexity and because of the negative connotations that we pin on judgement.

So, in the light of the Bema Seat Judgement, let’s pray that we:

  • will be filled with the love of Christ while on earth
  • are filled with power and be able to throw off the shackles of pain, shame, sin, anxiety, and doubt
  • will be motivated to live a holy life to make Jesus famous
  • will have a rich prayer life and that the Holy Spirit would make us students of the Word
  • would have a Bema Seat mindset of our time here on earth.
  • ask God to use us to further the cause of the Gospel.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

 

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