It is the judgment for Christian service.
Many people believe that there is just one final judgment for mankind. Whoever passes this judgment goes to heaven and whoever fails this judgment goes to hell. Of course, I have found few people who can think of anyone they know that is going to hell.
In the Bible, however, there are a number of judgments. The “final” judgment, otherwise known as the White Throne Judgment, is just one of them (Rev. 20:11-15). A person in this age will escape the White Throne Judgment altogether if they trust Jesus Christ as their Saviour. That’s because Jesus has already been judged for our sins on Calvary and so a saved sinner cannot be judged for his sins again.
But that’s not the end of it for us Christians. We will still have to face the Lord Jesus Christ at a judgment for what we have done for Him since our salvation. This judgment takes place right after the rapture and before the Marriage of the Lamb, during the time that the earth is going through the tribulation. This judgment is called the Judgment Seat of Christ.
You can find the judgment seat of Christ in three places in the New Testament: Rom. 14:10-12; 1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Cor. 5:10. Only Christians will appear at this judgment. We will give account of the things done in the body, good or bad. This is not a judgment for our sins. They have already been judged. But this is a judgment of our service.
At this judgment, it is possible to receive up to 5 different crowns, gold, silver, and precious stones, and to be awarded authority over certain cities during the millennial reign of Christ. The crowns are:
- The “incorruptible crown,” 1 Cor. 9:25. This crown is given for temperance, which is, keeping the body under control and fit for the service of the Lord (which is as hard to do as an athlete training to win a race).
- The “crown of rejoicing,” 1 Thes. 2:19. This crown is given to soul winners.
- The “crown of righteousness,” 2 Tim. 4:8. This crown is given for loving the Lord’s appearing, to the point that His return is more desired by you than any thing else in life.
- The “crown of life,” Jas. 1:12. This crown is given for enduring temptation as you fight against sin. It is also the martyr’s crown in Rev. 2:10.
- The “crown of glory,” 1 Pet. 5:4. This crown is awarded to pastors who properly feed their flocks.
The gold, silver and precious stones are found in 1 Cor. 3:12. These are awarded for the quality of a man’s work for the Lord Jesus Christ. Many Christians today are doing a fair job of working for themselves and are doing nothing for the Lord. Showing up to church from time to time to “pay your tithe” is hardly what is meant by “working” for the Lord.
Since you can see what the Lord is going to be judging in order to determine to whom He should give the crowns, it should be evident to you whether you are doing or have done anything worthy of receiving a crown. If you are lacking here, it is time for you to get busy for the Lord! His return can’t be that much further off. So, you don’t have much time. Get busy!!
The doctrine of ruling over cities comes from Lk. 19:11-27. Here, servants are entrusted with a pound each and are told to gain by trading. The more each gained the more cities over which he was given authority. The one who did nothing lost his pound but not his salvation (1 Cor. 3:15; Lk. 19:24-26). The enemies are lost people who were never given a pound in the first place.
It is possible to lose rewards at the judgment seat of Christ, but not your salvation (1 Cor. 3:15). One of the surest ways to lose rewards is to do nothing for the Lord after you get saved. Just get in on heaven and keep living your life just like you did before you got saved. Another way is to support a deceiver (3 Jn. 7-11). So, get to know your Bible so you can tell the difference between a deceiver and a teacher who’s telling you the truth.
Study out the verses that are referred to in this answer. They will help you get ready for the judgment seat of Christ. But be warned, this is not going to be an easy judgment. Paul said, “Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men,” 2 Cor. 5:11. Get ready!!
Hope this helps,
Pastor Bevans Welder