*THE BEMA – JUDGMENT THRONE OF CHRIST FOR BELIEVERS*
Heb9:27 “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this THE JUDGMENT”
2Cor5:10 ”For we must all appear before THE JUDGMENT SEAT of Christ”
As there is more than one resurrection (resurrection of Christ, then resurrection of the dead in Christ at the rapture, then later of the dead unsaved), also there is more than one judgment.
Word ”to judge” in Greek can mean to analyze but also to condemn.
God has appointed His Son Jesus Christ to be the Judge of all the earth Acts10:42.
The word ”BEMA” is taken from games where the contestants would compete for the prize under the careful scrutiny of judges who would make sure that every rule of the contest was obeyed (2Tim2:5). The victor of a given event who participated according to the rules was led by the judge to the platform called the Bema. There the laurel crown was placed on his head as a symbol of victory (1Cor9:24,25). Bema was not a place to punish the looser but a platform to recompense the victors.
*THE BIBLE SPEAKS OF AT LEAST SEVEN DIFFERENT JUDGMENTS:*
1.The Savior on the cross being judged for our sins Is53:5-8
2.The believers’ self-judgment 1Cor11:31, “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.” At Communion and daily the saint judges himself
3.The judgment of the believers at the BEMA – the subject of this lesson
4.The judgment of the nations; Matt25:32 (division of the sheep and the goats)
5.The judgment of Israel, Ez20:30-44, post-tribulation
6. The judgment of angels, Jude6. They are reserved in darkness, waiting
7. The judgment of the wicked dead, Rev20:12-the great White Throne Judgment
*I. DESCRIPTION OF THE BEMA-THE JUDGMENT SEAT (third in the list above):*
In 2Cor5:10 BEMA it is translated “the judgment seat of Christ”.
It is generally conceded that this judgment will take place in the air. This fact is probably drawn from 1Thess.4:13-17, which speaks of the Second Coming, the first resurrection and then says, “… to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
*II. TIME OF THE BEMA-THE JUDGMENT SEAT*
1. At the first resurrection. Luke14:14, “… for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.”
2. At the Second Coming of Christ. Matt16:27, “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works.”
*III. WHO WILL BE JUDGED AT THE BEMA?*
Only believers will be judged at this judgment. In II Cor. 5, the pronoun “we” is used 26
times and in each instance it refers only to believers. See also 1Cor3:10-15.
*IV. WHAT IS BEING JUDGED AT THE BEMA?*
This judgment is not a trial to decide the fate either of the saved or unsaved; salvation is a gift Rom6:23.
The Bible is very plain, Jn3:16-18, that salvation is not the issue. The salvation issue is settled in life by accepting or rejecting Jesus.
At BEMA the believer is being judged for his works. The returning Lord examines the servants in the use of the one, two or five talents that He has entrusted to them.
Sins committed before or after conversion will not be judged. Heb10 :17, “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” To judge them, God would need to remember them, to dig them up from the lowest sea Micah7:19.
Heb.11 sees the saints as perfect, for all their sins and imperfections were hidden beneath the blood of Christ.
The believer’s sins committed after conversion will not be judged at the Bema either. 1Jn1:9, confessed sin is forgiven and cleansed forever; unconfessed sin draws chastisement Heb12:6 and it is washed by walking in the light 1Jn1:7. Jesus has paid even for the believers’ unconfessed sins. Which believer can say that he has confessed all his thousands of daily sins? Unconfessed sins break fellowship with God, not relationship (sonship).
*1. OUR WORKS WILL BE JUDGED* 1Cor3:13, “Every man’s work shall be made manifest. . . and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.”
Eccles.12:14, “For God shall bring every work into judgment.”
*2. OUR WORDS* Matt12:36,37, “… That every idle word that men speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” The believer will not be punished for idle words but he will be ashamed as having missed opportunities to glorify God with his words.
*3. OUR THOUGHTS* Matt15:19,20, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts. . .these are the things which defile a man . . .” See Matt5:28,”…looketh. . . lust. . .”
*4. OUR SECRETS* Rom2:16, “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my Gospel.”
*5. OUR MOTIVES:*
-Correct-Constrained by His love, 2Cor.5:14.
-Wrong-Self glory, 1Cor3:21, “Therefore let no man glory in men. ”
*V. HOW WILL GOD JUDGE AT THE BEMA?*
The test of our work on this life is exemplified by Paul as the test through fire upon a construction: if building materials are burned then reward is lost but salvation is not lost; if building materials are not burned then a reward is given. 1Cor3 :13, “… for the day shall declare it, because it shall be
revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.”
This will be a fair impartial public display of justice. No one will be able to say that God showed favoritism.
Gal6:7,8, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
*VI. WHAT ARE THE RESULTS OF THE BEMA?*
For the works that remain, there will be rewards. For that which is burned, the individual will suffer loss of opportunities of rewards. 1Cor3:15, “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”
”He shall suffer loss” from the context is understood to be loss of eventual rewards that could have been won, not loss of salvation. Such a Christian will be ashamed 1Jn2:28.
See crowns offered as rewards: 2Tim2:5, 2Tim4:8, Jam1:12, 1Pet5:4, and Rev2:10. Jam1:12 .
*Building materials are of two classes:*
*1. Fireproof: gold, silver and precious stones*
–GOLD speaks about the nature of God (see wood covered in gold at the tabernacle, speaking about Jesus being human and God, also about us having human nature and the Holy Spirit living in us); building with gold means that you build in the nature and will of God;
–SILVER speaks of redemption (silver tools used by priests at the tabernacle and silver coins used as a symbolic redemptive fee); building with silver means that you elevate the redemptive sacrifice of Christ in all areas of your life;
–PRECIOUS STONES speaks about the Body of Christ (see the 12 precious stones on the chest and shoulders of the high priest, also 1Pet.2:5); it speaks about being involved in a local church
*2. Combustible-wood, hay and stubble* –wood speaks about human nature, weak, decays; hay speaks about emotions: can do a great fire but not lasting; stubble speaks about something you cant rely on Is.36:6.
*VII. HOW CAN I BE PREPARED TO MEET THE BEMA?*
-By constant communion with our Savior Jesus Christ.
-By constant confession of sins (Don’t confess the same sin twice. God forgives after the first honest confession 1Jn1:7-9)
-By prayer, study and meditation on the Word of God.
-By constant attention to the will and leading of the Holy Spirit.
-By having a conscience void of offense before God and men, Acts24:16.
To the Christian the Bema should hold no terrors, for it ought to be the best day he has ever had. It will be his crowning day.
1Cor4:5, “… and then shall every man have praise of God.” Much of our works may be burned, but God will find at least one thing to praise and reward.