The Judgment Seat of Christ

What is the judgement seat of Christ? It’s also known as the judgement of rewards.

2 Corinthians 5:10: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.”

Many believe that the saved will receive reward for their earthly good works at the final judgement. And that this will not affect the salvation of those already saved

1 Corinthians 3:14,15: "If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

I wonder whether our heavenly life will be impacted by this judgement. For example, will the saints have a better “life” in heaven than will others, and if so, is this judgement eternal? I also wonder whether this is a Protestant version of purgatory.

Also of interest is

1 Corinthians 15:41,42 “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead”

This implies that we will be different from each other after the resurrection, presumably based on our good works.

Yes – different rewards and punishments from the particular judgment, per the Council of Florence, Bull Laetentur coeli, July 6, 1439:

It has likewise defined, that, if those truly penitent have departed in the love of God, before they have made satisfaction by the worthy fruits of penance for sins of commission and omission, the souls of these are cleansed after death by purgatorial punishments; and so that they may be released from punishments of this kind, the suffrages of the living faithful are of advantage to them, namely, the sacrifices of Masses, prayers, and almsgiving, and other works of piety, which are customarily performed by the faithful for other faithful according to the institutions of the Church. And that the souls of those, who after the reception of baptism have incurred no stain of sin at all, and also those, who after the contraction of the stain of sin whether in their bodies, or when released from the same bodies, as we have said before, are purged, are immediately received into heaven, and see clearly the one and triune God Himself just as He is, yet according to the diversity of merits, one more perfectly than another. Moreover, the souls of those who depart in actual mortal sin or in original sin only, descend immediately into hell but to undergo punishments of different kinds. [Denzinger 693]

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Thanks Vico,

So, as documented at the Council of Florence, the degree to which the saved will see God will depend on their good works. What does seeing God mean? Does it mean merely seeing God differently or does it mean experiencing heaven differently? If the latter, then will some have a better life than others. And is this condition eternal?

What do we say to Protestants who believe that God, not the individual, chooses who will go to heaven and who will go to hell?

If there is no free will regarding heaven or hell, it would logically seem that there is no free will regarding the quality of life in heaven or hell.

Catholic Enclopedia show the meaning of Beatific Vision, the seeing, means immediate knowledge of God, to differentiate it from earthly human mental knowledge.

The immediate knowledge of God which the angelic spirits and the souls of the just enjoy in Heaven. It is called “vision” to distinguish it from the mediate knowledge of God which the human mind may attain in the present life. And since in beholding God face to face the created intelligence finds perfect happiness, the vision is termed “beatific”.

Pace, E. (1907). Beatific Vision. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

Thanks, Vico,

If we experience perfect happiness from the beatific vision, is it safe to then assume that we won’t care about the judgement seat of Christ.

John 14

15 If you love me, keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever. 17 The spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, nor knoweth him: but you shall know him; because he shall abide with you, and shall be in you.


1732 As long as freedom has not bound itself definitively to its ultimate good which is God, there is the possibility of choosing between good and evil, and thus of growing in perfection or of failing and sinning. This freedom characterizes properly human acts. It is the basis of praise or blame, merit or reproach.

1734 Freedom makes man responsible for his acts to the extent that they are voluntary. Progress in virtue, knowledge of the good, and ascesis enhance the mastery of the will over its acts.

sthudium, 2 Corinthians 5 also states we shall receive recompense for the bad deeds we have done in the body, such as every careless word we have uttered, and the times we have judged others, (Matthew 12:36, Luke 6:37,38, Matthew 18:34,35), as we must all strive for that holiness without which no one shall see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14, James 2;24, 2 Peter 3:14, Matthew 19:21), Yet, by our love for others, we can cover a multitude of our sins. (1 Peter 4:8, Daniel 4:27, Luke 11:41, James 5;20). Peace always in the Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, our Good and Great God and Saviour

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