The Judgment Seat of Christ for Believers

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tyndale

Puritan Board Freshman
Something that has confused me a bit is the actual time that a believer will appear before the Lord, and what that judgment will be about? Will it be right at the moment of death or at the resurrection (of the body) ?

If at the resurrection, then I do not understand how a believer goes right in the presence of the Lord (ie: thief at the cross, and what Paul says that to be absent with the body means being present with the Lord) and then has to appear yet again to answer for his/her life? I guess the strange question is why would be appear before Him, if we are already in heaven enjoying him (without our new physical and resurrected bodies)?

I honestly believe the judgment for believers is a rewards based one from my understanding because sin was dealt with at the Cross/Resurrection, but would like some other thoughts...thanks!
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
In the intermediate state between death and resurrection, it is not exactly the believer who enters the presence of the Lord, but the believer's immortal soul. The mortal body of the believer returns to the dust. Since all sin must be either acquitted or punished, final judgment must wait for the resurrection because the sinfulness of man extends to both body and soul.

In addition, for the sins of the believer to be publicly acquitted (Matt 25), judgment must wait until all sheep and goats are present together in their resurrected bodies.
 

Goodcheer68

Puritan Board Sophomore
What is up with those that say all our deeds will be exposed on judgment day even for Christians? I have a hard time following that since there is now no condemnation in Christ and I know if my evil deeds are exposed I am going to be crushed under the weight of my condemnation. I believe that if anything, when God goes to judge He will look to Christ and His work for those who are saved and will say well done good and faithful servant.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
What is up with those that say all our deeds will be exposed on judgment day even for Christians? I have a hard time following that since there is now no condemnation in Christ and I know if my evil deeds are exposed I am going to be crushed under the weight of my condemnation. I believe that if anything, when God goes to judge He will look to Christ and His work for those who are saved and will say well done good and faithful servant.

Judgment and condemnation are not the same thing.

LBC Chapter 32

Paragraph 1. God has appointed a day wherein he will judge the world in righteousness, by Jesus Christ;1 to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father; in which day, not only the apostate angels shall be judged,2 but likewise all persons that have lived upon the earth shall appear before the tribunal of Christ, to give an account of their thoughts, words, and deeds, and to receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil.3
1 Acts 17:31; John 5:22,27
2 1 Cor. 6:3; Jude 6
3 2 Cor. 5:10; Eccles. 12:14; Matt. 12:36; Rom. 14:10,12; Matt. 25:32-46

Paragraph 2. The end of God's appointing this day, is for the manifestation of the glory of his mercy, in the eternal salvation of the elect; and of his justice, in the eternal damnation of the reprobate, who are wicked and disobedient;4 for then shall the righteous go into everlasting life, and receive that fulness of joy and glory with everlasting rewards, in the presence of the Lord; but the wicked, who do not know God, and do not obey the gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast aside into everlasting torments,5 and punished with everlasting destruction, from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.6
4 Rom. 9:22,23
5 Matt. 25:21,34; 2 Tim. 4:8
6 Matt. 25:46; Mark 9:48; 2 Thess. 1:7-10

All are judged, but only the reprobate are 'damned' or 'cast aside into everlasting torments' or 'condemned'. The word 'judge' basically means 'divide' like in Matt 25.

Think of it this way, how can God's mercy be manifested if it is not first established that the elect are sinners and deserving of condemnation? In order for God's mercy to be manifest, the sinfulness of the elect must first be manifest. One cannot be 'acquitted' unless he enters into the courtroom. But do not fear, your Advocate in that heavenly courtroom is the Judge Himself!
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
I''ve often thought too about the crushing weight of our sin, especially when God's purity will be unveiled. I can only believe that Christ's strength will then be most manifest to us. This anticipated judgment furthers my desire to walk faithfully before my God.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
John Newton, somewhere, wonders whether we, as sinless and glorified saints, would mind having our sins revealed in some way if it meant that God's redemptive providence in history, and Christ's love for us, was glorified thereby.
 

Zach

Puritan Board Senior
John Newton, somewhere, wonders whether we, as sinless and glorified saints, would mind having our sins revealed in some way if it meant that God's redemptive providence in history, and Christ's love for us, was glorified thereby.

I hope that is the case, brother. Usually when I fear having my sin revealed at judgment it flows from that sinful, selfish desire of not having others known how bad I was. It makes sense that when we are perfected this fear will die because the depths of our depravity will only show how rich God is to us in Christ!
 

tyndale

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks for the responses ...

I understand about re-joining the body to the soul at the final Day. But to me and I'm trying to be reverent, is why would we be pulled out of the Lord's presence (ie: absent with the body is to be present with the Lord) and right into the Great White Throne to re-face the Lord in a totally different and possibly unpleasant way?

Also..is it a judgment of rewards for the believer (or the loss of them)? I know A.W. Tozer (not Reformed of course), used to say that his fear on that great Day was not the things that he did, but the revelation of the things that could have been done (for the kingdom) and were not. Not sure if I agree with him there, but something to chew on, as I've thought about that.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
I understand about re-joining the body to the soul at the final Day. But to me and I'm trying to be reverent, is why would we be pulled out of the Lord's presence (ie: absent with the body is to be present with the Lord) and right into the Great White Throne to re-face the Lord in a totally different and possibly unpleasant way?

As I said earlier, your Advocate is at your side at Judgment. There is no 'being pulled out' of the Lord's presence. Why would having your sins publicly acquitted be unpleasant?

BTW, you need to fix your signature according to board rules. Click on 'Signature Requirements' under my own signature.
 

Bethel

Puritan Board Freshman
I understand about re-joining the body to the soul at the final Day. But to me and I'm trying to be reverent, is why would we be pulled out of the Lord's presence (ie: absent with the body is to be present with the Lord) and right into the Great White Throne to re-face the Lord in a totally different and possibly unpleasant way?

I highly recommend that you listen to these two sermons by Rev. Ruddell (also a PB member) on The Judgment of Christ:

The Judgment of Christ, Part 1 - SermonAudio.com

The Judgment of Christ, Part 2 - SermonAudio.com
 

Goodcheer68

Puritan Board Sophomore
your Advocate is at your side at Judgment.
I affirm this and that is why I don't think our-meaning all who are in Christ- sins will be exposed for all to see. I think when God goes to judge, Christ will stand in our place and God will look upon Christ's righteousness and acquit us.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
I affirm this and that is why I don't think our-meaning all who are in Christ- sins will be exposed for all to see. I think when God goes to judge, Christ will stand in our place and God will look upon Christ's righteousness and acquit us.

Belgic Confession, Article 37

Finally we believe, according to God's Word, that when the time appointed by the Lord is come (which is unknown to all creatures) and the number of the elect is complete, our Lord Jesus Christ will come from heaven, bodily and visibly, as he ascended, with great glory and majesty, to declare himself the judge of the living and the dead. He will burn this old world, in fire and flame, in order to cleanse it.

Then all human creatures will appear in person before the great judge-- men, women, and children, who have lived from the beginning until the end of the world.

Then "the books" (that is, the consciences) will be opened, and the dead will be judged according to the things they did in the world, whether good or evil. Indeed, all people will give account of all the idle words they have spoken, which the world regards as only playing games. And then the secrets and hypocrisies of men will be publicly uncovered in the sight of all.

You are in conflict with your own confession on this point. It seems that you and others are reluctant to accept the public acquittal of the elect because you view judgment as a negative and not a positive.

The Reformed see this public acquittal as a blessing, not a curse.

WSC Q 38. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at the resurrection? A. At the resurrection, believers being raised up in glory, shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment, and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoying of God, to all eternity.

Flavel is helpful on this point:

Q. 1. What is it to be acquitted by Christ?
A. It is to be discharged and cleared from all the guilt of sin, and punishment due to it by the law, upon the account of Christ’s righteousness imputed by God, and received by faith; (Romans 5:1; 8:1)

Q. 2. How many ways are believers acquitted?
A. They are acquitted now in the court of heaven; (Romans 8:38) in the court of their own consciences; (1 John 3:21) And in the day of judgment: both particular, (Hebrews 9:27) And general; (Acts 3:19) Their sins are then blotted out.

Q. 3. How doth Christ’s acquittance now, differ from that at judgment?
A. They differ in respect of publicness; this is secret in the believer’s bosom, and that open before men and angels; (Revelation 3:5)


Q. 4. What is the second difference?
A. They differ in respect of subjective certainty and assurance. A believer may doubt of this, but not of that; (1 Corinthians 4:4-5)

Q. 5. What is the third difference betwixt them?
A. They differ in point of consolation: this way always bears proportion to the certainty of it. Hence that day is called the tune of refreshing; when Christ blots out their sins by sentencial justification; (Acts 3:19)

Q. 6. Do believers then lie under condemnation till that day?
A. No; they are truly and fully justified now; (John 5:24) But this sentence is not yet published by Christ’s own mouth, as it shall be then.

Q. 7. On what account shall they be acquitted in that day?
A. On the very same account and score they are now, viz. For the imputed righteousness of Christ in the way of free grace; (Ephesians 1:7)

Q. 8. Must the saints be summoned to Christ’s bar in that day?
A. Yes; they must appear as well as others
; (2 Corinthians 5:10; John 5:29)
 
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