Let’s look at a few verses that deal with the judgment seat of Christ.  1 Corinthians 3:11-15 says, “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.”  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.”  Romans 14:10, “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.”

I think it is important that we make a few distinctions concerning this judgment seat of Christ.

  • It is for believers only! Writing to believers in 2 Corinthians 5:10, Paul wrote, “ WE must all appear…”  Writing to believers in Rome, he wrote, “WE shall all stand…”
  • At the judgment seat of Christ, believers ARE NOT being judged. It is our works that are being judged to determine ‘what sort it is.’  1 Corinthians 3:13 says, “Every man’s WORK shall be made manifest…”  At the Great White Throne judgment, when the unsaved are judged, we read in Revelation 20:12, “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS.”  The believer has his works judged, while the unbeliever is judged according to his works.
  • At the judgement seat of Christ, our salvation is not being questioned. 1 Corinthians 3:15 assures the believer, “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but HE HIMSELF SHALL BE SAVED…”

The scriptures speak of ‘rewards’ that men shall receive of the Lord.  We read in 1 Corinthians 3:8, “Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and EVERY MAN SHALL RECEIVE HIS OWN REWARD according to his own labour.”  We read in verse 14, “If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, HE SHALL RECEIVE A REWARD.”  1 Corinthians 4:5 says, “…and then shall every man have praise of God.”  The Lord Himself says 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.”  What kind of reward will we receive from the Lord?  We often see in scripture that we will be rewarded with CROWNS.  Let’s look at a few of those crowns we will receive from the hand of the Lord one day.

  • 2 Timothy 4:8 speaks of a CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
  • 1 Peter 5:4 speaks of a CROWN OF GLORY. “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”
  • James 1:12 speaks of the CROWN OF LIFE. “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the CROWN OF LIFE, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”

The Greek word for crowns is ‘Stephanos’ and means “a chaplet (as a badge of royalty, a prize in the public games or a symbol of honor generally; but more conspicuous and elaborate than the simple fillet.”  These crowns that the Lord gives to His own become sacrifices that we may return to the Lord, realizing that He is the reason that we have done works that honor Him.  Philippians 2:13 says, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”  Once we receive those crowns, we will be gathered with all the other saints in Glory and give them back to the Lord.  We read in Revelation 4:10-11, “The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”  (220.6)