The Judgment Seat Of Christ -- By: Kenneth Dowlen

Journal: Journal of Dispensational Theology
Volume: JODT 024:68 (Spring 2020)
Article: The Judgment Seat Of Christ
Author: Kenneth Dowlen


The Judgment Seat Of Christ

Kenneth Dowlen

* Kenneth Dowlen, Th.M., M.Div., D.Min., associate professor of Bible & theology, Tyndale Theological Seminary and Biblical Institute

Second Corinthians 5:10 declares, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” The subject of Christ’s judgment seat is the most solemn and important matter for every Christian; it involves the future day when Christ evaluates the works or service of each individual in the church. The judgment seat of Christ is the time when the believer stands in the presence of the Lord Jesus in order to have his or her life evaluated by Him; it is a distinct and unique judgment of church age believers, those of this dispensation of grace that is from the day of Pentecost to the rapture of his church.

The judgment seat of Christ should be of utmost importance to all the blood-bought believers in the dispensation of grace so that all live lives of faith that please the Lord Jesus Christ. In verse nine of 2 Corinthians 5, Paul said, “Therefore also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.” However, in spite of its importance, there is little written on the subject. Samuel Hoyt, in the preface to his book entitled The Judgment Seat of Christ, wrote, “For a day in which a steady stream of prophetic literature is coming from the publishing houses, there is a striking paucity of reliable material concerning the judgment seat of Christ. Indeed, it would be difficult to find another eschatological subject which is so central to practical Christian living and yet which has been subject to so much neglect and error.”1 Accordingly, this article will address the following issues: the meaning of the Greek word bēma; the judgment seat of Christ; the time of the judgment; the participant; and, the purpose and the result of the judgment seat of Christ.

The Biblical Meaning Of Bema

The primary meaning of the Greek word bēma is a step or raised place, but was later used of a platform reached by steps.2 Zodhiates defined bēma as follows:

a step, i.e., a pace or footstep . . . by implication any elevated place to which the ascent is by steps . . . a stage or pulpit for a speaker or reader . . . an elevated seat like a throne in the theater at Caesarea on which Herod sat . . . more commonly it means a trib...

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