Does “the Judgment Seat of Christ” (see 2 Cor. 5: 10) function only in, the realm of REWARD for Believers, or will its decisions also bring judgment?  This is the question we shall seek an answer for in Holy Writ.  One is quite aware of the usual answer, but let us study what the great, searching words of the Scriptures reveal. These will be our standard and gauge in that coming time of Divine scrutiny.  We do pray for God’s Spirit to give His holy illumination and the grace to bend our ideas and conceptions to His guidance and obedience.


First, the BEMA itself, that is, the place where judgment is rendered.  Our New Testament determines its meaning.  It is a place of ‘foot-room then a raised place, then a tribunal.  The New Testament writers nine times show it as employed to render, not only reward, but also clearly the opposite.  Proof is, that here Pilate condemned the Lord Jesus (Matt. 27: 10): BEMA is used of Herod (Acts 12: 21), of Gallio, (18: 18), of Festus (25: 6), of Caesar (25: 10).  This is the Spirit’s indication of meaning.  It will be God’s Judgment Seat (Rom. 14: 10), and our Lord’s (2 Cor. 5: 10).  It ever has to do, not with the unchanging, objective work of Christ for us, already received by faith; but with the subjective work; our service, our witness, our stewardship, our personal living, these come up for review.  Literally all judgment is for works, whether regarding saved or unsaved.  For example, “WARNING every man (says Col. 1 : 28) and TEACHING every man in all wisdom, that we may PRESENT every man PERFECT in Christ Accountability assuredly. “ALL ... EACH ONE” will be there who has known Christ.  His “doings” will be reviewed - will be exposed when we “appear” (Col. 3: 4). 


“Whether good or BAD this word kakos, that is, ‘bad,’ has reference to God’s children who are emphatically off-colour!  About 90 times it is used, and hence one can find accurately its meaning.  Concerning it Thayer says: - “Morally: of a mode of thinking, feeling, acting ... base ... wrong ... wicked ... crime ... troublesome, injurious, pernicious It is assuredly – “BADMatt. 24 : 48 – “But and if that evil (kakos) servant shall say … delayeth His coming”, and this is said of a judgment picture.  Here are other examples - Rom. 13: 1-4; 1 Cor. 10: 6; Jas. 3: 8, 1 Peter 3: 8-12.  All of these speak of believers where kakos is cited.  And hence without question the Word of truth ascribes to children of God this worst of ‘bad’ words and doings; as the Apostle does when he describes the awful category of sins (in Gal. 5 : 20, 21) to be “works of the flesh,” all of which have been met with in believers’ lives across the ages.  This enforces Dr. W. Graham Scroggie’s word to his friend (Ernest .J. Long):‑“I would rather go through the Great Tribulatios than endure what I believe some Christians will go through at the Judgment Seat of Christ With this feeling we are in full accord.  May God open our eyes to the coming accounting days before the All-searching Eyes




1. Wrongs that have never been straightened out, done to another, will pass on to the Judgment Seat.  Does God wink at sin?  Will there not be a place, a time, when things will catch up with us?  Righteousness will be excted from those, surely from those, who had more light than the unsaved!  If we have unrectified things, why do we scorn God’s provision?  What?  This – “If we keep on walking in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, AND ...”  Why do we put up the gracious promise on wall texts and cherish it in our hearts, and ever and again fail to meet the condition laid down for that blessed promise?  “IF we ... AND the blood of Jesus Christ ... keeps on cleansing us from all sin  “IF we CONFESS our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1: 7, 9).  Too often we think, and sometimes say, “O the blood covers all that It does – along the line we have just quoted to the reader.  This is absolutely the only way.


Comparing the killing of another with its consequent judgment, Jesus says, “But I say to you, that every one who is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment” (Matt. 5: 21ff).  “If therefore, thou art offering thy gift at the altar and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee ... first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift” (vs. 23, 24).  How hard and callous “brethren” can be - a thousand miles from the tender conscience revealed here by our Lord.  “Father, forgive them,” He could say on dark, dark Calvary!  Yet we have known even ministers to leave churches in bitterness behind them because of proud, unbending spirits - and this condition grieving the Holy Spirit of God for years.  Where will it be righted - at the Judgment Seat!  Even concerning “elders” it is written – “Some men’s sins are evident, going before unto judgment; and some men also they follow after” (1 Tim. 5: 24).


3. Dishonesties and false dealings of every sort move on to the Judgment Seat.  Or are these automatically forgiven to the believer irrespective of rectification?  How dare we ask such a question - when it reveals a standard lower than that of a respectable, worldly citizen?  Is the Christian ethic below theirs?  Our Old Testament gives crystal clear light here, as to God’s standard.  First, Israel had their Annual Atonement when their sins were forgiven, (1) by the covering of the blood of the sin-offering; and (2) by the carrying away of their laid-on sins via the goat sent into the wilderness (Lev. 16).  “There go my sins,” any believing Israelite could say as “the goat for azazel” carried them into the land of forgetfulness.  But did this Annual transaction also “cover” the dishonesties personally committed, through trickeries of the individual Jew?  Emphatically no. Because for the individual son of Abraham God laid down individual rectification.  See Lev. 6: 1-7 – “If any man sin and commit a trespass against Jehovah (not merely against his fellow-Jew) and (1) deal falsely with his neighbour in a matter of deposit, or (2) of bargain, or (3) of robbery, or (4) have oppressed his neighbour, or (5) have found that which was lost, and dealt falsely therein, and swear to a lie ; in any or all of these things that a man doeth, sinning therein  - then it shall be - what?  First, restore IN FULL; second, add one-fifth (20 per cent.) to the full amount - this would meet the manward obligation.  But yet, further, God’s side.  Only via Judgment.  This costly way was the Israelite “FORGIVEN concerning whatsoever” he needed forgiveness.  It is our deep conviction that Christian men to-day, if they live up to Bible standards, will require to have no lower plane than God’s people under the Old Covenant.


4. The required but unfulfilled works as the Lord of the Churches sees them.  It is the fifth Church message of Revelation 3.  “I know thy works,” Jesus says, “that thou hast a name that thou livest, and thou art dead. Become watchful, and establish the things that remain, which were ready to die: for I have not found” .(what? Regeneration? No; that is assumed in a church here.  The Blood? No; that also is assumed here) – “THY WORKS FULFILLED before God” (Rev. 3 : 1, 2).  Compare the threat in chapter 2 : 22, to the devotees of the “Jezebel” system – “cast her into great tribulation”.  When?  Careful study shows that the pivotal change in each section of Revelation is between the 4th and 5th points - things change here.  We believe that just here the Judgment Seat becomes operative and hence this “remaining” Church group comes up for review, and the pronouncement reveals a representative company whose shame is “UNFULFILLED WORKS How many examples of this failure in the judgment scenes are disclosed elsewhere - e.g., the now oil-less “five foolish virgins,” whose lamps were “going out” when the Bridegroom came.  The one-Talent man, the one-Pound would-be regent, the Rich Young Ruler who refused Christ his all, and others (Matt. 25: 1ff R.V.; 25: 14ff ; Luke 19: 1lff; 18: 18ff).  What multitudes are untrustworthy in service to-day: how can the Righteous Judge permit them entrustment in the greater stewardship of the Kingdom Reign ahead?  How dare He?  Many have laid up their treasure-cabinets (theesauros, Gr.) here on earth (Matt. 13:44) - this is what they “left” at death. They did not lay them up for safe- keeping in heaven; that account is but nil.  When a man leaves a petty 5 per cent. of £100,O00 fortune to definitely Christian work; or forsakes his God-given and fruitful call to preach in order to climb up in the political realm; or to become a financial wizard; or to be a mere social reformer; or to seek the world’s emoluments anywhere - well, he will be amongst the “left” ones at the “first fruits” rapture (Rev. 14 : 1-5, 15, 16) of God’s saints.  Hence the challenge, “Become watchful ... hold fast ... repent!'


5. When the Christian, like the ancient Greek runner, wrestler, boxer, after testing is disqualified, that is, misses the Prize (Phil. 3 : 10‑14) is adokimos (Gr.), he is DISAPPROVED.  See this important passage in 1 Cor. 9: 24-27; 10: 1-12 R.V.  God “proved” Israel in the wilderness - and declared them “disapproved Israel is our model of experience (10: 1 R.V.: “For,” he says; namely, this is a case in point). Like Israel, God’s people, brought out of Egypt with mighty Hand, all were baptized, all were fed, all were given drink; yet the vast number died in the desert.  Potentially all was theirs, this was their “promised land  Actually only two men made it; and these are our types (tupos, Gr.), our examples.  The lesson is:‑“Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.”  It is a solemn, awe-inspiring message for to-day and all these coming days. “ADOKIMOSDISAPPROVED!  No inheritance in Canaan for them - yet all was potentially theirs.  Ever remember: the “INHERITANCE” is always a REWARD after birth.  It is never given to outlanders (“the nations”); always given to God’s people (a fact that will clarify a lot of Bible study).  See Col. 3: 24, an epitomizing text – “the REWARD of the INHERITANCE, for ye SERVE the Lord Christ Thus serve ... reward ... equals inheritance.  “Heirs of the kingdom “Heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.” “He that OVERCOMETH shall inherit all things


6. So it will be authority conferred - Luke 19: 17-27; see terms used.  “A kingdom ... the kingdom ... reign ... authority over ten cities ... over five cities ... at My Coming And all in sharp contrast over the unused “pound” servant (bondslave). Rev. 2: 26, 27 R.V. – “And he that overcometh, and he that keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give authority over the nations, and he SHALL RULE THEM with a rod of iron, as I ALSO RECEIVED of My Father This is the greatest promise to a believer in the New Testament; but is repeated more briefly in Rev. 12: 10 just when “the kingdom” is actually realized – “Now (a present tense) CAME (a past tense in the Greek) the salvation and the power and THE KINGDOM of our God Only in that hour, 1260 days (12: 6, 14; 13: 5) from the glorious kingdom, will the setting up of the visible, glorious kingdom, will the exaltation of God’s “firstfruit” saints take place.