The Judgment Seat and Rewards Doctrine

Attend a typical church building, or read a regular study or commentary and you will eventually come across the doctrine of the Judgment Seat (or Bema Seat) and rewards doctrine – which is typically explained as various “crowns” which people will receive (or not receive) based in some way on how they performed on the earth.

They say that there are two different judgments, one which they call the Great White Throne judgment… where those who do not know Jesus and are not in the Book of Life, will be “judged” (i.e. condemned) while believers will be sectioned-off for a second judgment to determine how many rewards (or crowns) we receive or don’t receive based on our life.

So in-essence, even though Jesus has totally and completely forgiven and removed all sin from us, and made us completely new creations in Him, you still must worry about your performance on some level, because your eternal rewards in Heaven, are still dependent on your performance. Or so this doctrine would have you believe.

In this study today, we will be taking a look at this common doctrine of the Bema seat, and Crown rewards, and see what the scriptures actually say about it.

Live in Love, Live in Jesus

There’s a lot of religious lingo in our culture today – and Christianity is no exception to that statement. Christians use phrases such as “being in Christ” a phrase that I use often as well, and even borrowed it for the title of today’s study. Some others are “saved” and “redeemed”,”sanctified / holy”, even “eternal life”. We use these words, but do we really have an understanding of what they truly mean?

If we don’t know the meaning of words, the message falls flat… if I’m speaking another language, one that you don’t know, the message of what I am saying will be lost to you.

Even the word “Gospel” has lost it’s meaning to people today. The word comes from the phrase “God Spel” meaning “good news”. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is indeed good news, even better than what we have come to make it out to be most of the time. God has done something greater than what we can even imagine. And it is the good news for us to receive; but many have not been receiving because the message has been lost. This is what what we will be studying today.

Eternal Life, A Relationship With Jesus

When we hear the words “eternal life” many images and ideas come to mind. For most, it conjures a moment in time when one prayed a payer to go to heaven, that is what is generally believed because that is the idea that is most often taught in churches all across the world. They say “if you are unsure of your destination when you die, simply pray this prayer and you can go to heaven.” Simply pray the sinners prayer, or invite Jesus into your heart, are all common Christian lingo, for what amounts to basically nothing more than spiritual fire-insurance.

It’s no surprise then that people see God as distant and impersonal – just a being up in heaven, with no real interest in their day-to-day lives. They don’t know Him, because honestly, they have never been introduced! The finished work of Christ has been reduced to a cold, emotionless contract.

The scriptures however paint a very different view of God, and the sacrifice of Jesus for you; as well as eternal life. In truth they are much more than the way in which they have been presented. And this is what we will be studying today.

The Gift of God’s Love

One question that seems to come up over and over is the question of activity. People have said to me that they want to “do things for God”, they want to be useful and they aren’t sure what He wants them to do. I’ve heard the frustration and confusion and uncertainty in the voice of people when they tell me how they feel like they are stagnating and they are searching all around for some way that they can be “used by God” and that thought and that drive consumes them, and they feel as though their life and time is being wasted doing nothing.

Let me tell you today that while I certainly understand the heart behind those feelings and the desire to do something, I must also tell you today that the answer I give to each person who expresses those feelings to me is the same… and it is a word from God that catches a lot of people off-guard.. maybe God wants you to not do anything right now, but receive His love. You see, most people are so busy looking for something to do for God, they have forgotten the real reason why they were created in the first place – to be filled with the Spirit and the fullness of God and receive His love. This is what we will be studying today.

The Restoration of Your Image

Let me begin straight-away by telling you that I used to be a very fearful, introverted an angry person. I used to have all kinds of negative, thoughts, negative feelings and negative emotions. I used to let those things define me, define who I was, and define my future as well. However while I was too blind to see it back then all those years ago; none of that was true, that was not truly who I was, and my destiny in Christ was far greater than those petty things.

Since then, I have learned that my experiences are not all that unique. There are a lot of people still living by their thoughts, feelings and emotions, and allowing those things to direct and define their existence. However, I want to share with you today that just as myself, your destiny is far greater than those things. Your destiny is to have your image restored to the way that God intended. To be lifted out of whatever pit you may find yourself in and to be dusted off and cleaned-up – not through your own works or self-efforts, or painful suffering and endurance as all of the man-made religions of the world tend to portray… but by the glory of Christ and the power of His Spirit. This is what we will be studying today.

Behold, All Things Are New

A verse of scripture that is well known among believers is 2nd Corinthians 5:17, which says “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”. It is an amazing statement – if we stop even for a few moments to meditate on what it means and the reality that it presents to us, we will be wonderfully amazed. I would imagine that most of us have at the very least one thing in our life that we want to change… and that is exactly what this verse is offering through Jesus Christ.

Even so, most people never see the reality of this in their life – they are still very much entrenched in the old; they are still bound by who they used to be, instead of who they are in Christ Jesus. There are a great many believers still spiritually living in the past, hanging out in the graveyard of what now is dead, instead of living in the newness of life which Jesus brought. So today we will be studying how to live in the present reality which Jesus has brought, and to live in it now without any more delay. If you have been looking for a breakthrough in your life, this study will set you free through Christ today.

You Have Been Freed From the Curse

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine yourself bound. Imagine your hands, arms and legs bound with chains; imagine being shackled tightly and how you would feel, not being able to move at all. Now imagine that there was a divine miracle, all of the chains that bound you have instantly fallen off; you are no longer bound. You were not able to move at all before, and now you are free to move around as much as you desire. You have a reason to rejoice! You have a reason to celebrate! You were a prisoner, and now you are free!

This scenario is actually more than just an imagination – it is a wonderful reality. You and I were prisoners once; prisoners to sin, prisoners to sickness, disease and all the curse of the Law of Moses. Now however, we have been set free. We have been released from all of the curse, however many people do not yet realize that they have been set free. They are behaving and living as though they are still bound, even though the shackles are no longer holding them in-place. Today we will be studying the wonderful reality that you have actually been released from the curse. You do not have to live in bondage and fear any longer. Jesus has delivered you.

Don’t Settle For Mediocrity

Take a moment right now and assess your life. Evaluate your needs. Go ahead… I’ll wait…

Now whatever your current needs are, whatever seems to be lacking, I want to tell you that the supply is already there. Whether it is a physical need in your body, such as healing, or whether it is a financial need, a mental need such as peace of mind, or even a spiritual need; the supply is there. The supply was paid for and done long before you ever had the need; long before you have even existed on the earth, your need has been covered.

Many times, we settle for mediocrity. We may receive one or two things from God, but then we think it is enough, we think that we have imposed upon Him too much already, or we simply accept things into our lives that are not needed… we tolerate things that need not be tolerated. There are many things that Jesus has paid to free us from that we have accepted as facts of life in our modern culture. I want to encourage you today that you don’t have to put up with these things any longer – there is a better way, made possible by Jesus Christ.

You Are the Manifestation of Jesus Today

In our continuing study of who we are in Christ, one thing that tends to receive a lot of push-back from the traditionalists in the world today, is the truth that in Christ Jesus today, we are the manifestation of Him on the earth. We are the manifestation of Jesus to all of the people of the world today. This idea irritates those who believe that it is insolence to in any way liken ourselves to Jesus They believe that because He is so much greater than us, that it is an insult to even make any kind of comparison which connects Him with us. It may seem right to our human thinking, however, God Himself has a different idea than this traditionalist view.

That’s why as we study today, we are going to be taking a look at precisely what Jesus has to say about Himself and us, and what our relationship to Him actually is. And by seeing this truth, we will no longer have this perceived distance between us and God any longer. We will be able to embrace our true nature in Him; and live in the truth that He wants us to live in.

Feed on Jesus Continually

If you’ve ever been to a church service before, you have probably heard the old analogy preached “how often do you eat? More than once, right? So you should feed your spirit more than once as well.” This is an often-used statement which highlights the importance of continual spiritual feeding – it’s also a good analogy, quite Biblical in-fact… however the Bible does not stop there. The scriptures are very clear about what – or I should say who we are to continually feed on.

What we will be studying today, is what exactly the scriptures say about feeding on Jesus, how this feeding occurs and how feeding continually on Jesus benefits us. God does not leave any of these details out, because He wants us to know and receive all that He has given to us. So if your spirit has been hungry, or even if you don’t realize that it has been, come, taste and see that the LORD is good, and let’s feed on Jesus today.