Posted by: missionventureministries | August 7, 2016


Bema vs White Throne Judgment

“And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.”  (Hebrews 9:27) 

There are two accounts of a final judgment in the Bible pertaining to every human being that ever lived. One for the believer, those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and made Him Lord of their lives, and one for the unbeliever who rejected the Son of God. 

The judgment seat of Christ, also referred to as the Bema Seat is described in 1 Corinthians 3:12-15, “Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

Gold, silver, and costly stones refer to works done for the glory of God, with the right motive, and in dependence upon the power of the Holy Spirit.  

The Bema Seat judgment does not determine salvation. Rather, it is when believers must give an account of their lives to Christ and whose salvation has already been secured by faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Romans 10:9-10). We should not focus on the Bema Seat as Christ judging our sins, but rather as God rewarding us according to how we lived or lives. Romans 14:10-12 explains: “But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.”   

In 2 Corinthians 5:10, Paul gives the Corinthian church an illustration of the Bema Seat, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” Paul is teaching us that all Christians will stand before the Bema Seat of Christ. There, believers will be rewarded according to how faithfully they served, obeyed, and followed Christ.   

Some of the things we will likely be judged on are: 

  • Whether we fulfilled our role in the Great Commission. Matthew 28:18-20 says, “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
  • How victorious we were over sin. Romans 6:1-4 reminds us, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
  • If we were successful in controlling our tongue. Read – James 3:1-9
  • Whether the fruit of the Spirit was manifest in our lives. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness  and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”  

The Bible mentions Christians receiving crowns for various aspects of the Christian life, one of them being described in 2 Timothy 4:8, “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.”  

Another is found in James 1:12: “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”  There are three more described in the Bible. In response, believers will cast their crowns before the Lord’s throne saying, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being” (Revelation 4:11).  

It is very important not to confuse the Bema Seat with the Great White Throne Judgment. The Great White Throne Judgment is a trial, set in the future after the Millennium, for all people who have rejected God’s call to salvation. Every person who has lived upon earth and has refused to accept God’s way to redemption from sin, will stand before their Creator at this time, and acknowledge that He is God – that Jesus Christ is Lord.  

Revelation 20:11-15 describe this judgment: “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”  

At the Great White Throne is where those who died as unbelievers are judged and condemned. Each will then be cast into the Lake of Fire, which will be their place of torment throughout eternity. (Read Mark 9:43-48) 

The Bible clearly presents two options for ETERNITY. Therefore, we need to remember that we are only a heartbeat away from our choice becoming a reality. 

In Revelation 22:12, Jesus Christ declares: “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.”




  1. […] There are many people in the church today who are claiming to be a follower of Jesus, but who are covering up their secret sins. They look good on the outside and have the appearance of a Christian, but when they are alone they are engaging in things that are sinful and wrong. Many think that they can get away with things as long as nobody finds out about them. However, while sin may go unnoticed by man, we can be assured that it does not go unnoticed by our Sovereign God and one day we will be judged accordingly, either at the Judgment Seat of Christ or at the Great White Throne Judgment.  […]

  2. […] The main point is that God will judge each person impartially according to his works/deeds and every person will stand before God in judgment; either the Judgment Seat of Christ or the Great White Throne Judgment.  […]

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