This may be to long. It comes to me, via email, from a non-Catholic who I think is a Rapture believer. Has anyone heard of the “Bema Seat” of Christ and what is the “Great White Throne of Judgment”? (could not post this as it made the post to long.) What do you think is the denomination of the author and you can offer any thoughts about the Biblical interpretation?
Question: “What is the Judgment Seat of Christ / Bema Seat of Christ?”
Answer: Romans 14:10-12 says, “For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat…so then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:10 tells us, “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.” In the context of both Scriptures, it is clear that they are referring to Christians, not unbelievers. The Judgment Seat of Christ, therefore, involves believers giving an account of their lives to Christ. The Judgment Seat of Christ does not determine salvation; that was determined by Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf (1 John 2:2), and our faith in Him (John 3:16). All of our sins are forgiven and we will never be condemned for them (Romans 8:1). We should not look at the Judgment Seat of Christ as God judging our sins, but rather as God rewarding us for our lives. Yes, as the Scriptures say, we will have to give an account of our lives. Part of this is surely answering for the sins we committed. However, that is not going to be the primary focus of the Judgment Seat of Christ.
At the Judgment Seat of Christ, believers are rewarded based on how faithfully they served Christ (1 Corinthians 9:4-27; 2 Timothy 2:5). The things we will likely be judged on are how well we obeyed the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), how victorious we were over sin (Romans 6:1-4), how well we controlled our tongue (James 3:1-9), etc. The Bible speaks of believers receiving crowns for different things based on how faithfully they served Christ (1 Corinthians 9:4-27; 2 Timothy 2:5). The various crowns are described in 2 Timothy 2:5; 2 Timothy 4:8; James 1:12; 1 Peter 5:4; and Revelation 2:10. James 1:12 is a good summary of how we should think about the Judgment Seat of Christ, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.”