Time to Assess
By Terry James
We’re well past April 15 and tax time, which was delayed this year because of COVID-19. However, time to assess came. It always does. Two things are inevitable in life, the saying goes—death and taxes.
However, these aren’t inevitable in terms of believers in Jesus Christ. In the case of death, not all Christians will experience it. In the case of taxes, there is a generation of believers that could miss paying them. In both cases of death and taxes, it depends upon the Rapture.
Christians will leave the planet in an instant, being changed while alive into immortal bodies. And, if that glorious event occurs before the due tax date, they will avoid having to file tax information. Two good reasons for making sure you go in the Rapture, wouldn’t you agree?
It would be a welcome thing to not be required to deal with how much we owe Uncle Sam. I make the jest in order to lead into another sort of assessment that must be made. It is best to make it now rather than later. It, again, is wrapped up in the Rapture.
The thrilling moment when Christ calls the believer in the air, there will be an assessment. Everything done during life on earth will be looked into by the Lord Jesus Himself. There will be no mistakes in His heavenly audit.
Now this is where Christians become nervous. Will everything I’ve done be flashed upon a Jumbotron screen—the good, the bad, and the ugly?
Take comfort: Nothing bad or ugly will be on that heavenly display, as I believe the Bible teaches. Only the good things done in this life will remain on that screen.
All sin, you see, has already been dealt with by the Savior—the Lamb of God, when He hung upon that old rugged cross at Calvary. He forever did away with our sin when He said: “It is finished” and gave up His life, commending His Spirit into the hands of the Heavenly Father. The bad and the ugly were forever forgotten at that moment—that is, for those who accept Christ’s sacrifice that day some two thousand years ago.
The assessment that will be made when we stand—probably kneel—before our Lord at the bema seat judgment will involve works we have done on earth that are outside consideration of sin, which, as noted, was forever forgotten at the cross for the believer.
Motive is what will be assessed at this eternal moment.
Now, we might experience a minute of regret that we didn’t do more for our Lord. There is debate among theologians about that matter.
The Lord—the perfect Auditor—will assess whether what we did in this life with regard to certain heavenly parameters was to please Him or to satisfy our own desires.
Now, I realize that this brings up many more questions than it answers. It seems simple enough on the surface. Good works will receive rewards—even crowns. All works not done with proper motive will be burned by Heaven’s fire of righteousness in some way, as I understand what the Bible tells us.
But, this whole matter of the judgment seat of Christ—the bema—warrants an in-depth study in order to come anywhere close to comprehending this magnificent moment of assessment by the God of creation.
An upside to this heavenly assessment, as juxtaposed against hanging around planet earth to pay our April 15 confiscatory taxes to Uncle Sam, includes that, rather than have to pay, we will be paid for services rendered to Heaven’s great causes.
The constant thought near the front of our considerations while living our increments of life should be that this assessment could take place following the next click of the second hand, or our next heartbeat. Once the Rapture calls us to be with our Lord or death does so, our time to earn heavenly rewards will be a closed matter. The time for doing what we do here in genuinely wanting to please God will close, and we will look into the omniscient eyes of our Savior.
As I indicated, the matter of the bema judgment is not simple. It warrants study. Fortunately, God’s Word provides much to teach all we need to know about this subject.
Looking through my computer files is what prompted me to think on this matter. However, I believe the Holy Spirit did the true prompting in impressing that it’s time to assess. The file I found gives a good, solid study outline for this assessment.
I might have put this together some years ago myself, I’m not sure. But I believe it is rather from Dr. Harold Wilmington, a great teacher and Bible scholar at Liberty University.
Carefully go through these scriptural truths to more fully understand that coming assessment of your life before the bema.
Things on which Christians will be judged at the judgment seat of Christ:
1. How we treat other believers — Hebrews 6:10; Matthew 10:41–42.
2. How we exercise our authority over others — Hebrews 13:17; James 3: 1.
3. How we employ our God-given abilities — 1 Corinthians 12:4, 12; 2 Timothy 1:6; 1 Peter 4: 10.
Add to these Scriptures Jesus’ teaching of the Parables of the ten pounds (Luke 19:11–6) and the talents (Matthew 25:14–29).
Each believer has at least one talent—1 Corinthians 7: 7, 12:7–11; Ephesians 4:7; 1 Peter 4:10.
There are 18 of these gifts—Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4.
It’s up to each believer to find/discern his or her gifts.
4. How we use our money — 1 Corinthians 60:2; 2 Corinthians 9:6–7; 1 Timothy 6:17–19.
All belongs to God—1 Peter 18–19.
5. How we spend our time — Psalm 90:12; Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5; 1 Peter 1:17.
6. How much we suffer for Jesus — Matthew 5:11–12; Mark 10:29–30; Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Peter 4:12–13.
7. How we run the particular race God has chosen for us — 1 Corinthians 9:24; Philippians 2:16, 3:13–14; Hebrews 12:1.
8. How effectively we control the old nature — 1 Corinthians 9:25–27. Greek word adokimos, “castaway,” means “disapproved.” It means self is disapproved. Paul wanted to keep his old nature in check, as seen in 2 Timothy 2:15; 1 Corinthians 16:3; Philippians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:4.
9. How many souls we witness to, and win to Christ — Proverbs 11:30; Daniel 12:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:19–20.
10. How we react to temptation — James 1:2–3; Revelation 3:10.
11. How much the doctrine of the Rapture means to us — 2 Timothy 4:8.
12. How faithful we are to the Word of God and the flock of God — Acts 20:26–28; 2 Timothy 4:1–2; 1 Peter 5:2–4.
What will be the results of the judgment seat of Christ?
Some will receive rewards—1 Corinthians 3:14
Bible mentions at least five rewards:
– The incorruptible crown, given to those who master the old nature—1 Corinthians 9:25–27
– The crown of rejoicing given to soul winners—Proverbs 11:30; Daniel 12:31; Thessalonians 2:19–20.
– The crown of life, given to those who successfully endure temptation—James 1:2–3; Revelation 2:10.
– The crown of righteousness for those who especially love the doctrine of the Rapture—2 Timothy 4:8.
– The crown of glory, given to faithful preachers and teachers—Acts 20:26–28; 2 Timothy 4:1–2; 1 Peter 5:2–4.
Looking around at the stage-setting for prophetic fulfillment that is moving in convergence and at a pace that is stunning, it is certainly time to assess!