What Are Some of the Additional Rewards at the Judgment Seat?

Manfred E. Kober, Th.D.

A right understanding of the judgment seat (Greek, bema) puts an aura of anticipation over one’s present and future life. The Bema is a time when the believer will be rewarded for faithful service. His sins have been covered by the blood of Christ who “offered one sacrifice for sins forever,” (Heb. 10:4) and because of this, there is remission and no more remembrance (Heb. 10:17-18). The event is thus one of glory rather than gloom, rejoicing rather than remorse, rewards rather than recrimination.

At the Bema the believer will give an account for his works, which will be recognized as either worthy or worthless. In anticipation of this glorious event, the believer should be motivated for holy living and Christian service. The believer at last will receive recognition and rewards.

1. Recognition at the Bema:

While in this life believers are often hated by the world and misunderstood by other believers, the Bema involves recognition of character and conduct. Merrill F. Unger writes of this aspect in his splendid volume, Great Neglected Bible Prophecies, “Moreover, at the judgment seat vindication will extend to the difficulties and inequalities between saints as well. All injustices and misunderstandings will be settled. The humble, loving believer who endured meekly under provocation from a fellow –believer . . .but who bore all meekly and unresistingly for Jesus’ sake, shall then be manifested in His true light, and vindicated of any false charge” (p. 111).

2. Rewards at the Bema:

a. Special rewards:

In the Summer 2006 issue of the SEED we discussed one type of rewards bestowed upon the believer, and those are the crowns, or, better, wreaths or victor’s garlands. He Scriptures enumerate five garlands: the wreath of life (Jas. 1:12), the wreath of glory (1 Pet. 5:4), the wreath of rejoicing (1 Thess. 2:19) the incorruptible wreath (1 Cor. 9:25) and the wreath of righteousness (1 Cor. 9:25). These rewards are bestowed for special service.

b. Individual rewards:

A second category of rewards involves the recognition of every action. The most routine of the believer’s life will either receive a reward or forfeit a reward. Even “eating and drinking,” if done for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31) will be rewarded, a truth marvelous to contemplate! Paul encourages both bond slaves and free servant (Eph. 6:8c) with the prospect that every good activity will be rewarded. While recognition and remuneration in this life may be minimal, the Lord will grant every good action “the reward of an inheritance.” Any action is worthwhile in God’s eyes and suitable for reward if it is done from the heart (kardia, Col. 3:22), with the whole being (ek pseuches, Col. 3:23) and with the proper attitude (eunois, Eph. 6:7).

The most routine matters of life take on a new meaning for the believer who realizes that every action may be, and if done properly, will be rewarded by God. A bitter spirit and complaining attitude will forfeit a reward. How glorious to know that if we “give it all we have,” even housework and homework, not just “holy” work will someday receive “the reward of the inheritance.”

c. Universal rewards:

Some rewards are promised to every believer by virtue of the gracious provision of Christ in the atonement. Even carnal believers are blood-bought and may anticipate certain rewards. These rewards area not bestowed because of faithfulness in life but in response to God’s gracious salvation. They belong to every Church age believer.

1) Divine appointment:

Paul reminds the believers in Corinth, “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world ? . . .Know ye not that we shall judge the angels?” (1 Cor. 6:2-3). The carnal Corinthians, simply because they belonged to Christ, were promised participation in the kingdom (rather than exclusion from the kingdom!).

2) Divine affection:

Paul encourages all believers with the fact that at the rapture when the dead are raised and the living translated, we “we will meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” 1 Thess. 4:17). The experience of the eternal presence of Christ and His everlasting love would be sufficient for us. Every believer will be forever with the bridegroom. What a comfort!

3) Divine approval:

Paul concludes the most lengthy discussion of the Bema with the observation that Christ at that time will thoroughly examine each one of us, not for the purpose of condemnation—“there is therefore no condemnation” (Rom. 8:1) but for the purpose of commendation: “And then shall every man have praise of God” (1. Cor. 4:5).

How will the believer feel moments after the Bema? To hear the Savior’s words of commendation ringing in our ears will make it worth it all!

© Manfred E Kober

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