The New Testament tells us about at least four great judgments and it is important for us to understand the difference:
The first of these judgments is past, but the other three are still in the future [as this is being written]. The second judgment will take place immediately after the Lord has taken the Church to heaven; the third just before the Millennium; and the fourth at the end of the Millennium. No true believer will be judged at the Great White Throne because the Lord Jesus Christ already received the judgment for his sins when He died on the cross, John 5:24; Romans 8:1.
In Lesson 10, we saw that our works and our Christian service will be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ. At that time, the Lord Jesus Himself will examine the life of every Christian and his reasons for what he did with his time, his gifts, strength and money while here on earth. Read 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 very carefully.
Every Christian is using his life [either] for God's glory or for himself. The Lord will test everything which we have done. Fire will destroy wood and grass, but gold, silver and precious stones cannot burn. So, the Lord will destroy all that has not been for His glory. Some believers have served the Lord for many years; their work will last forever. Others have wasted their lives; they will see everything burned up and lost. But they themselves will be saved.
It is clear that Christ will reward everything the Christian has done to please his Lord. On the other hand, there will be believers who lived for themselves and not for Christ. They will feel very sorry when they find out how foolish they were. They will not lose their salvation, but they will lose their reward. Our salvation does not depend on our own works, but on the work of Christ on the cross for us, but our reward depends on how we served the Lord and what our true motives were.
Someone has told a story to make this truth very clear:
A man sent his son to another town to do some work for him. He gave him enough money for the journey there and back and told him exactly what he should do. He also told him to work hard and not waste any time because he would be able to stay only a short time in that town.
The young man reached the town and started right away to do the work his father told him to do. However, after a while, he met some old friends, joined them in their talk and forgot all about his father's work. Suddenly, he remembered what he should have been doing, but the time had come for him to leave the town.
Was he ready for the journey home? Yes and no! He had the money to get back home because his father had given it to him, but he had not finished his work. When he got home, the father could not praise him for what he had done. However, he was still his father's son and could live with his brothers in the father's house.
The Lord Jesus Christ on the cross paid the price for every true believer to get to heaven. He has justified them all and will share His glory with them, Romans 8:30, but they will not all get the same reward. God will reward each one according to the work he has done, 1 Corinthians 3:8. Still, all [true believer's] are His sons and will live in heaven forever.
Let us consider four things as we think of the Judgment Seat of Christ:
The Lord also promised a reward if:
Where will we get our reward? Matthew 5:12 ____________________
Where will show-offs or hypocrites get their reward? Matthew 6:2,5,16 ____________________
So, we have a wonderful Saviour! When we were still sinners, He saved us by faith alone. He helps us to understand the Scriptures so we can be sure we are saved. He gives us a new nature, so we can please God. He supplies power, so we can gain victory in our lives. He gave us the Lord's supper, so we will remember Him. He helps us to live separately from the world, and He answers our prayers. He shows us how we should meet together to worship Him. He gives us the privilege of serving Him, and He promises us great rewards when He comes back.