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The Bema (Judgment Seat of Christ) – Part One

Bonnie Nelson


The Scriptures

2 Corinthians 5:9-11

Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds (works) in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

11 Therefore, knowing the fear (terror) of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences.


Romans 14:10-12

10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt?

For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.

11 For it is written,

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall give (or confess) praise to God.”

12 So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.


I Cor 3:10-15

10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it.

But each man must be careful how he builds on it.

11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious (costly) stones, wood, hay, straw,

13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality (of what sort each man’s work is) of each man’s work.

14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward.

15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.


Hebrews 11:6

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.


The Word translated, “judgment” in Romans 14:10 and 2 Cor 5:10, is the Greek word, “Bema.” the Bema Seat of Christ means the Judgment Seat of Christ.

In the Greek Language the word Bema can be used two different ways in regard to judgment, one refers to condemnation, while the other is used to describe rewards.

The Greek word for bad found in 2 Cor 5:10 is kakos, and it is translated evil 43 times in the New Testament. This is the only place where it is translated bad. The word is the antonym (opposite) of agathos, which means good.

The correct reading of the Scripture should be, we are going to be recompensed (paid back) for the good things we have done and recompensed for the evil things, too.

But, what if I use the word, “worthless” or “useless to God’s kingdom” to define the word bad/evil?

The Scripture would read, “We are all going to be recompensed (paid back) for the good things we have done and recompensed for being “useless to God’s kingdom.

Does that bring more understanding to what we will be judged on?

A second Scripture warning us about doing right and wrong is where Paul wrote to the Christians at Colosse, which lets us know this warning is for us, the believers.

Paul gives us the head’s up about what is going to happen in the future when we stand at the Judgment Seat. We are going to be held accountable for what we are doing, especially that which is wrong in the sight of God.

For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality – Colossians 3:25

Did you catch the last word in this Scripture, “partiality?” This means that God is, NO Respecter of persons, so everyone, no matter the size of their ministry or how spiritual they may seem, how many miracles they have experienced, how popular they are, how tall, how short, how handsome or not, overweight or under, “everyone” shall be judged for the good and any wrongs they have done.

The Bema (Judgment) Seat of Christ is a place specifically designed and reserved ONLY for the judgment of Christians – those who are Born Again believers in Christ Jesus, which basically means, all of us who are in Christ, you and me, are going to be judged by Jesus at this judgment seat.

I already hear the protests as people in the Church cry out, “Judgment of Christians, Born Again believers – NO, that is not Scriptural. Judgment is for unbelievers at The Great White Throne Judgment!

It is true, those who Do Not believe in Jesus Christ, the unbelievers and the unsaved, if they die in their sin without the saving Blood of Jesus, THEY will be judged at the Great White Throne judgment and thrown into the burning lake of fire.

It is also true, Jesus will be seated on The Great White Throne judging people. However, we dare not confuse the Bema (Judgment) Seat of Christ with the Great White Throne Judgment Seat. They happen at different times and places. One judgment seat is for those who are saved, the other  for the unsaved and the judgments are completely different.

The rewards given out at the Bema Seat of Christ will be, to those Jesus chooses, because they have served Him well in their works, running the race and were found faithful. These rewards will be crowns, positions of authority and an opportunity to rule and reign with Him. The judgments given out at The Great White Throne in Revelation 20 will be heartbreaking and deadly.


As I looked at the Scriptures below referring to the Great White Throne Judgment, I noticed something I missed before. The unsaved will also be judged for their works (13)

11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:11-15

  1. I understand this! “These people,” the unsaved will be judged, but why “ME” I’m a Christian?  Why am going to be judged, if I am a believerof Jesus Christ? I don’t get it. I am saved. I have repented of my sins and accepted the Lord Jesus as my Savior and received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. And I have the scripture to back it up.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  I John 1:9

So again, on what and why am I going to be judged, if my sins are under the Blood of Jesus?  I found this.

“Only unconfessed sin will be recompensed at the Judgment Seat of Christ”

So, if the rapture happened today and the Lord raised me up to stand in front of Him at the Judgment Seat, any sins I have NOT repented of, I would be held accountable for and judged.

Well now. This puts a little more pressure on me to mind my peas and cues and I better be running to Jesus and asking Him to forgive me right away cause, who knows how much time is left before He comes?

And guess what? I seem to be more aware of the little sins or foxes in my life after this study, in regard to what I am doing everyday. Now when I get agitated, irritated and frustrated over nothing and make it a big deal,  I am suddenly aware of it and how it affects my Christian Witness and my future. I get one of those checks in my spirit like, uh uh uh, better not go there.

Stuff like: traffic issues, standing in line behind a very slow unorganized person, not taking time to help someone, not praying  immediately, saying something I should not, wrong thoughts…these seemingly little things might have slipped by me before, but not anymore.

Now I am quick to repent and ask for forgiveness for my short comings, no mater how big or small, just to make sure I don’t carry any baggage with me to this Bema Seat. I pray you hear what I am saying.

I am very aware now, I am going to be held accountable to Jesus for what I do with and in my life. He is not demanding my service because He allows me to have free will…I can live life for myself or I can live for Him.  But, He paid for me with a price and invested Himself in me, believing I was worth of the cost of His Life and it appears, He has expectations of good works from me because in Ephesians 2:10 it says:

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

And in God’s Word Translation

God has made us what we are. He has created us in Christ Jesus to live lives filled with good works that he has prepared for us to do.

So, let me try and put this together, so I don’t miss anything.

First I got Born Again (from above), my spirit came alive and linked back up with God, which is called spirit “salvation” and it is and was a “gift” from God through His Grace and Mercy. Thank You Lord!

But here in Ephesians, this is talking about what is suppose to happen now, because my spirit got saved. This is talking about me living my life (psuche) filled with good works God prepared for me to do.

So, these Scriptures and others relating to works are talking about the works I am suppose to do in my life (i.e.) meaning, my soul, and this has nothing to do with my spirit (salvation of) being Born Again.

So, The Bema seat judgment will NOT determine the salvation of those of us who are in Christ. The Bema seat is for the purpose of receiving OR losing rewards (I Cor 3:12-15) Look at verses 10-11

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds (works) in the body (soul), according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

This is all about my Psuche

Psuche = Soul = Life

Psuche is the Greek word for soul and it is alternately translated as soul or lifethroughout the New Testament.  The word psuche refers to the natural life of a person since the soul is the seat of our emotions, feelings and desires pertaining to our man-conscious existence. 


So every time we see the word life, we know Scripture is talking about our soul and likewise, when we see the word soul, it is in regard to our life.

Our life is our soul and our souls are what God expects us to use to do good works.  A lot of people believe Jesus and Satan fight over our souls, especially since we are created by God and born into Christ Jesus to do good works for Him. So, could it be any wonder why Satan would seek to torture us in our soul realm and shut us down?



Satan seeks to Destroy us, especially in the area of our souls because that is the core of who we are. Our soul is our mind, emotions, intellect, personality, will, heart (metaphorically) and character. The soul is who we are as a person.

Think about it. Distract, Cripple, Maim, Shutdown and Destroy the souls of Born Again Christian men and women and the work of The Kingdom to save souls suffers!

What about our spirit and our body?  Our spirit which was Born Again (regenerated) and saved, determines our God-conscious existence and our body determines our world-consciousness existence.  So our spirit puts us in contact with God, our soul puts us in contact with ourselves, and our body puts us in contact with the physical realm. Our soul is the middle man connecting spirit and body.

Simply stated, God dwells in the spirit, self dwells in the soul, while senses dwell in the body.

Sometimes I don’t think I know who I am, but I since I got saved, I know I am more than I was.  Know what I mean? I am in a process of evolving and there is a lot more going on inside me to try and understand now that I am in Christ.  Lord Teach Me Of Your Ways of who I am in you.

Some people don’t realize when we are Born Again, it is not the end, we are not done. It is the beginning of a process where our spirit has come to life and we are supposed to grow and mature in our lives through studying the Bible and doing “good works,” as the Holy Spirit reveal truths to us about Jesus and His Kingdom Ways.

As we study the Bible we are being washed/baptized by the Word of the Lord. The Jubilee Bible says this:

And be not conformed to this age, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your soul (mind) that ye may experience what is that good and well pleasing and perfect will of God.
Romans 12:2


25 Husbands, love your wives even as the Christ also loved the congregation {Gr. ekklesia – called out ones} and gave himself for her,

26  that he might sanctify and cleanse her

in the washing of water by the word,

27 that he might present her glorious for himself, a congregation {Gr. ekklesia – called out ones}, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish

Ephesians 25-27

Growing and maturing in obedience is being washed in the Word and frequently referred to as “salvation” in the Bible and some people can get confused and not realize the Bible mentions there are three (3) salvation’s for Christians: The Past, The Present and The Future. Having a foundational knowledge of these three salvations can help us avoid confusion and enable us to understand Scriptures and thus have a more mature walk with Christ.


The Past: The Salvation of our Spirit. We have already experienced the first salvation through our spiritual rebirth in being Born Again into Christ. This is a done deal!

This Salvation Cannot Be Lost

God knew me before I was in my mother’s womb and when He created me, He formed my body from the dirt, breathed into it and a spirit was formed within me and thus created my soul. I know my spirit is not the same as my soul, nor is it the same as the Holy Spirit. I am a three part (tripartite) being.

I am a spirit, I have a soul and I live in a body. My Spirit is saved upon the belief in Jesus Christ.

The burden of the word of the LORD concerning Israel. Thus declares the LORD who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him,  Zechariah 12:1

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.   I Thessalonians 5:23

He saved me through His Salvation Grace And Mercy



There is nothing I can DO except Believe and Trust in Jesus Christ to be saved. 

This is a covenant with Jesus and I through His Grace and my Faith in Him and this is a salvation is separate from any of the works or deeds I’ve done, OR WILL EVER DO.  My spirit rebirth is a gift from God to me.  I own this gift, it is mine and everyday it is here for me and it will continue to be with me, because it is eternally secure through and in the Blood of Jesus Christ and His Sacrifice. 

There is nothing I or any man, woman or demonic entity can do to annul this marriage of grace and faith between me and Jesus.  And that means nothing, nothing, can steal this gift of spiritual salvation. 

There are no regulations, formats, routines or works I had or have to do to keep it. There are no yearly update fees or expiring memberships to the Born Again Club And do you want to know how I know that?

Because it is written.

31 They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus,

and you will be saved, you and your household.”
Acts 16:314

In the Old Testament, ALL the people had to do was look upon the brazen serpent and LIVE. That was the requirement –look and live. It is not written they had to pray, repent, obey, do a ritual, jump through hoops or sign here to be healed….Just look and live.  How cool is that!

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.”

And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.

Numbers 21:8-9

Do you think this brazen serpent on the pole was a future picture of Jesus on the cross? Maybe back then, they just had to just look at the cross at Jesus and believe too. Who knows how many were saved just looking at Him.

39 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!”

40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?

41 And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”

42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!”

43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:39-43

There are many Scriptures talking about repentance, obedience, faithfulness, abiding, studying, praying, walking, loving, doing, abstaining and the list goes on and on, but the real truth is:  Spirit Salvation is by God’s Grace, however, rewards will be given according to the works of our souls…..


The Present:  This salvation is for our souls (i.e.,life) and will be determined at the Judgment Seat of Christ. There are many Scriptures that tell us (believers) not to neglect this salvation and to SEEK it with ALL of our strength.

Jesus told us to save our souls (i.e., psuche, life) and then, told us how to do it in Matthew 16:24-27.

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.

25 For whoever wishes to save his life (soul) will lose it; but whoever loses his life (soul) for My sake will find it.

26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul (life)? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul (life)?

27 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay (recompense) every man according to his deeds (doing).

The above Scripture is clear that the present salvation of the soul is a salvation that believers SEEK, and the last sentence confirms that the salvation of the soul (i.e.,psuche) is directly related to the Covenant of Works and future rewards.

Paul encouraged the “saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi” to save their souls in Phil 2:12:

12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed,

not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence,

work out your salvation with fear and trembling;

Remember Paul is not talking about “spiritual (rebirth) salvation in this scripture. He is talking to believers about the salvation of the soul (*i.e.,life).  This salvation is directly related to rewards and to our works.

Jesus tells us to”lose our soul,” not to “save it”!

How Do We Lose Our Soul

A Christian loses his soul (i.e.,life) when he surrenders the control of his life to the Holy Spirit because a life that is under the control of the Holy Spirit will be saved and result in rewards and a position of honor and trust in the millennial kingdom. “A Christian Who Walks In The Spirit”

Walking in the Spirit is a conscious, deliberate focus on the Lord and His principles, not yielding to the flesh but rather yielding the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

19 This you know (Know this), my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;

20 for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.

21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all (abundance of malice) that remains of wickedness, in (gentleness) humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls

(James 1:19-22).

Imputed Spiritual Salvation (Our Spirit)

Confusion comes when we fail to understand the difference in our spiritual salvation and the soul salvation. Spiritual rebirth is eternally secure since it is based upon grace and the “work” performed by Jesus on Calvary. The righteousness of God is “imputed,” a legal term to All believers and nothing can alter the believer’s standing in Christ.

I had never heard of the word, “imputed” before, but it should be one we never forget, for it is the sealing power of our spiritual salvation given to us through Jesus.  God will not be mocked.

When He saved your spirit through the Blood of Jesus, no one can change that, however our soul salvation is “a work in progress,” but soon enough it will be judged by Jesus.We shall either be recompensed (paid back) for the good works or evil works we do when we stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

At this point, we should all be very much Christ conscious and aware of everything we are doing.


The apostle Paul writes,

21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,

22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those (all have sinned) who believe; for there is no distinction;   Romans 3:21-22

Through our faith in Christ, the righteousness of God is given to us.

This is called “imputed” righteousness. To impute something is to ascribe or attribute something to someone. When we place our faith in Christ, God ascribes the perfect righteousness of Christ to our account so that we become perfect in His sight.


“For our sake he made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”  2 Corinthians 5:21

Not only is Christ’s righteousness imputed to us through faith, but our sin is imputed to Christ. That is how Christ paid our sin debt to God. He had no sin in Himself, but our sin is imputed to Him so, as He suffered on the cross once for all, He suffered the just penalty that our sins deserved.

18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;  I Peter 3:18


That is why Paul can say, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

By having the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, we can be seen as sinless, as Jesus is sinless. It is not, therefore, our perfection, but His. When God looks at the Christian, He sees the holiness, perfection, and righteousness of Christ. Therefore, we can say with confidence, “I am sinless, as Jesus is sinless.”

Jesus our High Priest continues in heaven doing intercession for us today 24/7

34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.  Romans 8:34

*There are some Christians who confuse soul salvation with spiritual rebirth because tradition has used the terms soul and spirit interchangeably. Careful study in the interpretation of Scripture will reveal  the soul and the spirit are not the same in Scripture and numerous Scriptural passages have been grossly misunderstood because of this traditional error.

The Future: Most Christians today have no difficulty understanding that our bodies have not yet been redeemed, which will happen at the Rapture when we will get a glorified body. This is a coming future salvation concerning our bodies.

20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

 I am ever more grateful now to the Lord Jesus for the incredible gifts He gave me through His Death Father, forgive me for not understanding the depth of what has been done and given to me through You, Your Son and Your Spirit Glory to You.  Your Love for us is Never Ending.

37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,

39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:37-39


Author Becca Card

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