FINDINGS AT THE JUDGMENT SEAT
By W. F. ROADHOUSE
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 Gods 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 Spirits indication of meaning. It will be Gods Judgment Seat (Rom. 14: 10), and our Lords (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 Gods 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 BAD. Matt. 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 Scroggies 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
CHARACTER OF THE BAD THINGS
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 Gods 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.
them, He could say on dark, dark
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 Gods standard. First,
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 worlds emoluments anywhere - well, he will be amongst the left ones at the first fruits rapture (Rev. 14 : 1-5, 15, 16) of Gods 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)
(Gr.), he is DISAPPROVED. See this important passage in 1 Cor. 9: 24-27; 10: 1-12 R.V. God proved
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 Gods firstfruit saints take place.