Let’s read of the Great White Throne Judgment in Revelation 20:11-15, “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.  And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.  Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.  And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (NASB)

What a terrible scene is being described.  God on His throne and no grace present.  God on His throne judging in pure righteousness.  Those who stand before God on this day are the “dead, the great and the small.”  We then read that “the dead were judged…according to their deeds.”  In this portion, the ‘dead’ refers to those who are ‘spiritually dead’.  Indeed, some may also be ‘physically dead’, but they will be raised to stand before God as their judge.  These are judged according to their deeds or works.  Just how extensive is this judgment?  We read the Lord’s words in Matthew 12:36, “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.”  The spiritually dead will even be judged for the things they say.  These spiritually dead are those who do not have “life in Christ” (Romans 8:2).  They have rejected the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior.  The Lord Jesus, Himself, said in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”  There is no eternal life except through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  All those who stand before God at the Great White Throne have rejected the Lord Jesus as their sin-bearer.  Thus, they stand before God still in their sins and will answer for every sin, every thought, every idle word, etc.  They will be condemned without mercy or grace.  We are solemnly warned in Hebrews 10:31, “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

What about those who are saved?  What happens to them?  Let’s start with a word of great encouragement.  Romans 8:1 assures the believer, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  The debt of our sins was paid for on the cross of Calvary when the Lord Jesus Christ hung there, bearing our sins in His own body.  (1 Peter 2:24)

To those who are saved, we will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ.  2 Corinthians 5:10 tells us, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”  Where the spiritually dead will be JUDGED, those who are saved will be RECOMPENSED for our deeds.  For more about this event, let’s read 1 Corinthians 3:11-15, “For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work.  If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

At the Great White Throne judgment, the lost will be judged “according to their deeds.”  At the Judgment Seat of Christ, those who are saved will not be judged, but will have their works (deeds) judged.  That which was done according to the leading and strength of the Lord will shine forth as gold, silver, and precious stones.  That which was done for selfish reasons, under our own strength, or according to our own plans and purposes…that will be burnt up like wood, hay, and straw.  Even if ALL of a believer’s works are burnt up, or deemed useless, he will suffer loss of rewards but “he himself will be saved.”

Two judgments.  One terrifying.  One blessed.  YOU will stand before God.  Will you appear before God at the Great White Throne and be judged for your sins, or will you put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and be present at the Judgment Seat of Christ to receive rewards from the hand of your loving savior?  The Lord Jesus beckons you to come to Him and receive the salvation that can only come through faith in Him.  “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”  (Matthew 11:28)  (350.3)