The Truth (Part 9): The Judgement Seat of Christ and Heaven – Sermon by Steven Loots


What happens after death

  • Judgement of all,
  • Different for believers and unbelievers,
  • Many are embarrassed by this as if God were making a mistake.


The Judgement Seat of Christ

10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’” 12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Romans 14:10 – 12.

10 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 word in the Greek for the judgement seat is “Bema” which refers to the judge’s seat at the Olympic games. The judge was not there to judge sin but to present awards. When we stand before the “bema” of Christ we will joyfully receive the rewards that he has promised us for works of faith. There is no fear before the bema.

John 5: 22 tells us that Jesus is the judge on the bema.

“ When Jesus comes, every Christian dead or alive, will be included in the great throng that will stand before the bema of Christ. We will be there, not merely as spectators or witnesses. The Holy Judge will not need anyone to witness. In that day His word shall stand. “He knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for He knew what was in man” (John 2: 24 – 25).”[1]

Only truly born-again children of God will appear before the bema.

“All the wicked dead (unbelievers) will be judged at the Great White Throne after the one thousand year reign of Christ on earth. But the subjects to whom the Apostle Paul addressed his messages when he said, “We must all appear,” were exclusively the saints of whom Paul considered himself one. “[2]

The Christian’s Works Will be Tested

It is very important that believers understand how rewards will be won and lost:

9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. 10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.   1 Corinthians 3: 9 – 15

We are saved by grace – This is Justification

Unsaved            Justification        Sanctification        Glorification

The Cross                          Life in Christ        Death/ Second coming    Bema


  • we can do nothing except to accept this free gift from God.
  • When we accept Jesus we no longer need to appear before the Great White Throne to have our sin judged.
  • Foundation is Christ
  • How and with what will we build?
  • We are called to live by faith and to do good works IN Christ
    • Sanctification– after we have come to Jesus.
  •     (Ephesians 2)
  • At death – Glorification
    • At the bema our works will be judged.
  • Hay, wood straw
    • Our bad works will be burnt up
  • Gold Silver and Precious stones
    • and our good works rewarded.
  • It is not possible to lose your salvation but it is possible to lose your rewards.
  • Some will arrive in heaven “as though through fire”.
  • We need to build up rewards in heaven.
    • The Bible expects us to.
    • See: Luke 17:7-10; Matthew 10:1-16 and Matthew 25:14-30.


Rewards and crowns – Saints Will Differ in Heaven

41 The sun has one kind of splendour, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendour.  42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead.

“Every Christian will be given a celestial body in the Resurrection, but these bodies will differ in the glory that each shall possess and enjoy in Heaven. Paul asks us to notice how the stars differ in glory, some shining with a greater brilliance than others.

Then he concludes: “So also is the resurrection of the dead.” All believers will have glorified bodies, but there will be difference in glory according to the measure of our diligence and devotedness to Christ and His work. I hold in my hand three coins. One is gold, one is silver and the third is copper. All three bear the same inscription of the United States of America. However, the glory of the gold is one glory, the glory of the silver is a lesser glory, and the glory of the copper is yet a lesser glory than either the gold or the silver. So also is the resurrection of the dead. Each of the bodies of the saved will bear the glorified and heavenly mark of distinction, but the glory of some will differ from the glory of others. Our capacity to serve in Heaven we will take to Heaven with us when Jesus comes.”[3]

The Crowns or Rewards

At the “Bema”, the Judgment Seat of Christ, Christians will receive rewards for their works. In the New Testament we learn that these are called “crowns” and that there are five such “crowns” to be given.

  1. The Incorruptible Crown. 1 Corinthians 9:25.
  2. The Crown of Rejoicing. 1 Thessalonians 2:19, 20
  3. The Crown of Righteousness. 2 Timothy 4:8
  4. The Crown of Life. James 1:12 and Revelation 2:10.
  5. The Crown of Glory. 1 Peter 5:2-5

We need to take heed of how we live on earth even though we are saved:

23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favouritism. Colossians 3:23-25

Heaven – The Home of the Redeemed

  • Heaven is real.
  • There Is a Place Called Heaven “I came down from Heaven”. John 6:38.
  • Heaven was also the place to which He ascended after His resurrection. Luke 24:51 says 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven.
  • It is the place where the glory and power of God are set forth. Jesus is there now, 1 Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven. Hebrews 8:1.
  • We have a home in heaven. John 14:2  2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
  • True believers are citizens of heaven. Philippians 3:20 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Heaven is perfect. It is called the Holy City (Revelation 21:2)
  • Heaven is a place of fellowship between man and God. Matthew 5:8 and Hebrews 12:22 – 24.
  • Heaven is a place of activity. “We will serve Him” Revelation 22:3.

Heaven is a place where there is no pain, suffering or tears.

[1] id

[2] Strauss, L

[3] Strauss, L