The Judgment seat of Christ is for the bestowal of crowns with or without stars. Inclusion in the rapture of the Church is the only way to participate in this prize-giving ceremony. The Judgment Seat of Christ is not a trial to determine salvation or punishment for wrongdoing. The ‘Judgment Seat’ is typical of the custom in Olympic Games of decorating winning athletes with garlands on a podium before judges who issues prizes according to the performance of each athlete.
The time for this judgment is soon after the evacuation of the church to heaven, in the near future. It will take place in the second heaven in final fulfillment of the prophecy that “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies” (Ps 23:5). It will be the first banquet after the rapture. “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom” (Mt 26:29). The judgment of believers’ works, classified into six categories, shall be by fire.
- Precious stones,
- Hay, and
Only works not consumed by fire shall abide and earn a commensurate reward. Anyone whose works are burnt up shall receive no reward but not loss of salvation. Reward will be based on things done or not done in the name of the Lord and for His glory. The most notable laurels believers shall be awarded at this ceremony are crowns.
Crown Of Rejoicing
This is the soul winner’s crown. “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For you are our glory and joy” (1 Thess 2:19-20).
Crown Of Glory
This is the crown for good pastors. “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away” (1 Pet 5:2-4).
Crown of Righteousness
This crown is especially reserved for those who love the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is for members of the eschatological community who are daily watching for the rapture of the Church to take place. “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8).
Since the Book of Revelation deals with endtime doctrine, this crown may be part of the blessing promised in Rev 1:3 “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.”
Crown of Life Jas 1:12; Rev 2:10
This is a special crown for martyrs, those who love the Lord with all their heart and those who “did not love their lives to the death” that is those who counted it pleasure to die for the cause of Christ. The original twelve Apostles including Paul and most of the early believers who suffered martyrdom will receive this crown during the Bema.
Involvement in immoral activity is one of the most persistent temptations facing present-day Christians. We are surrounded by every conceivable opportunity to think impure thoughts. Nearly every movie and TV program is, in one way or another, trying to convince us that immorality should not be considered an evil thing. This crown is awarded to believers who were not only pure in heart, but those who consistently overcame the alluring of the flesh being unspotted in the world. This is a crown every saint should have yet some will miss it and will be ‘a castaway.’ (1 Cor 9:25-27)
In heaven all are children of God. The Judgment Seat will separate saints into sons and servants. Sons have special privileges. The purpose of the Judgment Seat of Christ is to determine positions in future dispensations beginning with the millennial reign of Christ on earth. Thus, the purpose of the Judgment of Believers works is to locate saints in their rightful positions:
- There are different classes of citizenship in Heaven and in the millennial earth.
- For there to be a reward, works must be done in faith because without faith it is impossible to please God.
- Faith without works is dead.
- Faith is believing and doing.
- Faith is obedience to the revealed will of God at any point in time.
- Grace will take you to heaven but works will determine your position in heaven and the millennial earth