the five judgments

The Word for today:
1 Corinthians 11:2-34

mark this: (John 19:17-18)
And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him.

and this: (2 Corinthians 5:10)
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

and this: (Revelation 20:11)
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.

1 Corinthians is absolutely loaded with spiritual answers. At the same time, it raises just as many spiritual questions!

Stand in the Rain has been waiting for 1 Corinthians, because it’s the perfect place from which to launch a series of articles that will (we hope) sort out some of the Bible’s paradoxes.

Ten years ago, I stumbled across a reprint of the original (1909) Scofield Reference Bible. Printed in the back was a lengthy article called “Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth.”

As I read it, so many of scripture’s internal “contradictions” melted away. And so, leaning heavily on Scofield’s original, we present this abridgement to you. We hope, pray, and expect that some concepts which once seemed logically irreconcilable will start to make seamless sense!

***

The widespread notion of a “general judgment,” a day when everyone is to be judged, is not found in the Bible:

“It is a serious error to speak of the Judgment as being one great event, taking place at the end of the world, when all human beings, saints, sinners, Jews and Gentiles, the living and the dead, shall stand up before the “Great White Throne’ and there be judged. Nothing can be further from the teaching of the Scriptures (1).”

 The Scriptures speak of five judgments. These five judgments differ in four general respects:

(1) the subjects of judgment
(2) the place of judgment
(3) the time of judgment
(4) the result of judgment

~~~ The Five Judgments ~~~

1. The sins of believers have been judged.
Time–A.D. 30
Place–the Cross of Jesus Christ
Result–death for Christ, justification for the believer

And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him. (John 19:17-18)

He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree. (1 Peter 2:24)

For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring you to God. (1 Peter 3:18)

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us–for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.” (Galatians 3:13)

He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Hebrews 9:26)

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. (John 5:24)

2. “Self” in the believer must be judged.
Time–anytime
Place–anywhere
Result– correction, discipline

But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. (1 Corinthians 11:31-32)

Endure it as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there whom a father does not discipline? (Hebrews 12:7)

(See also 1 Corinthians 5:5; 2 Samuel 7:14-15; 2 Samuel 12:13-14; 1 Timothy 1:20.)

3. The works of believers are to be judged.
Time–when Christ comes
Place–“in the air”
Result–“reward” or “loss” — “but he himself shall be saved.”

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)

So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 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. (2 Corinthians 5:9-10; see also Romans 14:10)

Important! Note that the sins of believers (see Judgment #1, above) have already been judged at the cross of Jesus Christ! The question of the believer’s salvation was forever settled there. Judgment #3 (the Judgment Seat of Christ) refers only to the works of the believer. (The believer’s works are to be evaluated and, if deserving, rewarded.) The judgment of unbelievers–at the Great White Throne–is described in #5, below. No one who has trusted Christ for salvation will appear at the Great White Throne Judgment.

4. The nations are to be judged.
Time–the glorious appearing of Christ (see Matthew 25:31-32; 13:40-41)
Place–the valley of Jehoshaphat (see Joel 3:1, 2, 12-14)
Result–see Matthew 25:46. A believing remnant who have turned to Christ during the Great Tribulation will be saved “to eternal life;” unbelievers will be consigned “to eternal punishment.”

5. The unbelieving dead are to be judged.
Time–after the Millennium (see Acts 17:31; Revelation 20:5)
Place–before the Great White Throne (see Revelation 20:11)
Result– No one is saved at this judgment.

Only unbelievers will appear at the Great White Throne, where they are judged according to their works. No one is saved at this judgment, for no one is saved by works: We know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. (Galatians 2:16)

No believer will appear at the Great White Throne Judgment! Their salvation was already secured at the cross (see Judgment #1) where their sins were judged. Their rewards were determined at the Judgment Seat of Christ (see Judgment #3) where their works were judged.

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(1) Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost

About Stand in the Rain Blogger

Trying to be who God made me, I am wary of my influences. I avoid the culture that surrounds me, for the most part. I soaked up that crap for 40 years. I am trying to replace the word of the world with the unvarnished Word of God.** I like people, but I like solitude just as much. Go figure.** I adore Jesus Christ. I am flipped-out, flamingly and fervently in love with Him. I count it a privilege to draw breath in His universe. All my springs are in Him.** I am crazy about my wife, Shelley. She outshines the sun. I can't help it if I'm lucky.** My heroes are my kids--Caitlin, Gwenlyn, Frankie, & Eddy. I aspire to be like them when I grow up.
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