W. Austin Gardner
Judgment Seat of Christ, Not about our sins, by Adrian Rogers,
Now, just by way of introduction, I want to make something, I hope, abundantly clear—that when you become a Christian, your sins are put under the blood of Jesus Christ. They are gone. They are buried in the grave of God’s forgetfulness, and they will never—no, never; no, never, never, never—be brought up against you any more. And, the Bible teaches that there’s no one that can “lay any … charge [to] God’s elect.” (Romans 8:33) And, “blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” (Romans 4:8)
So I, as a Christian, can never be judged for my sin in the sense of being cast into hell. The Bible says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to [those who] are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1) Amen. Our sins are gone. They’re buried beneath His blood. And, the deepest sea … And, as Bertha Smith said, “When He buried them there, He posted a ‘No Fishing’ sign.” And, I say, amen, that’s true. But, the Bible says, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body … whether [they be] good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)
Now, there’s a difference, therefore, in the Great White Throne Judgment—that is, that great tribunal where God judges the sins of the lost and casts them into hell as He adjudicates them guilty and this judgment that the Bible calls the “Judgment Seat of Christ.”
The Great White Throne Judgment in Revelation chapter 20:11 through 15, is for the unsaved. (Revelation 20:11–15) The Judgment Seat of Christ is for the saved, and a different word is used here. There, in the book of Revelation, the word for the tribunal is the word thronos, the word we get our word throne from.
But, here the word is bema. And, the bema was a raised platform in the middle of the athletic field, that, when they would have the Olympic Games and the runners would run, and the javelin throwers would throw the javelins, and the discus throwers would throw the discus—and you heard about the one-eyed discus thrower: he didn’t set any records, but he kept everybody awake—now, when the discus thrower would throw the discus, and the people would jump and do all of those things that they would do, then they would come to the bema.
And there, they would receive their laurel, they would receive their crown, they would receive their commendation, they would receive their cup or whatever they received—they would receive their reward. Now, if a fellow ran in a race and he lost the race, they didn’t cut off his head; they didn’t put him in prison. No, no, no, no, it was not a place for that kind of judgment, but it was a place of reward. And, that’s the term that God uses here: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:10)—the place of reward. And, God is going to test us. God is going to try us. God is going to measure us. And then, God is going to reward us according to the way that we have run life’s race.
Adrian Rogers, “Taking Inventory,” in Adrian Rogers Sermon Archive (Signal Hill, CA: Rogers Family Trust, 2017), 2 Co 5:8–10.