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The expression ‘the judgment seat of Christ’ is found twice in the scriptures, both times by the Apostle Paul.  In Romans 14:10 we read, “But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.”  2 Corinthians 5:10 says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”

Both of these verses are instructive for the believer on the Lord Jesus, for only believers will be there.  It’s important to realize that this is not something to be feared.  We should never be afraid of being in the presence of our loving savior!  We read in Psalms 16:11, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”  There is only complete joy in the presence of the one who loved us and gave Himself for us.

Let’s read the description of what the judgment seat of Christ is in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15, “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: 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.  If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”  First of all, let’s notice that the believer is not judged; his works are judged.  We are assured in Romans 8:1 that, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…”  As believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, we will never face the judgment of God.  How could we?  Christ has already paid the debt for all our sins.

What is in question here is how we build.  Of course, Christ is the foundation of which we build upon.  Paul was the wise master builder who laid the foundation by teaching of the wondrous person of Christ and His church.  Since Paul laid the foundation, we build upon that by our works for the Lord.  Why are some works precious like gold, silver and precious stones; and other works are useless like wood, hay, and stubble?  All true work done for the honor of the Lord is done by the Lord using us as his instruments.  Philippians 2:13 tells us, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”  These are precious works that will be rewarded.

Oftentimes, we do things that are really not led of the Lord.  Perhaps they are good things, but we do them in our own strength and for our own purposes.  Have you ever done a good deed just to hear the praise of men?  Have you ever visited a sick person just because you felt obligated, but really did not want to do it?  Have you ever gone to Sunday School just to show off your new clothes or because you wanted to spend time with a friend there?  All these are really wood, hay, and stubble.  These things do not honor the Lord, so they will be burnt up in this trial of fire.

Will this be a painful or embarrassing experience?  Absolutely not!  In the presence of the Lord we will not be prideful.  In fact, in His presence, we will only desire those things to remain which truly glorify His name.  In His presence, we will rejoice to see these carnal works burnt up and done away.

Let’s rejoice in the Word of God that tells us in Revelation 22:12, “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”  (105.1)