1 Cor. 7:14
1 Cor. 15:22
1 Cor. 15:52
1 John 1:9
1 John 2:2
- 1 John 1:9
- "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
- It is argued that the righteous dead are raised immortal since they have already received the forgiveness of sins in this life. The judgment to which the righteous are subject is said to be the dispensing of rewards and not a trial for eternal life.
- It is apparent that this passage says nothing about the righteous dead coming forth immortal from the grave. This conclusion is only inferred. The conclusion inferred is invalid because its premises are false. It is assumed that the righteous are ipso facto accepted because of forgiven sins. This assumption is false. Consider the evidence:
Forgiveness of sins at baptism and throughout one's probationary period is one of the most precious assurances given to believers. But to maintain that forgiveness of sins merits immortal emergence from the grave is to indicate a mistaken view of the nature of judgment. There is everything to judge except the sins which are forgiven.
- Peter, writing to believers, stated: "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge . . . for if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off . . . for if ye do these things, ye shall never fail: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." (2 Pet. 1:5-11). Entrance into the kingdom is conditional not only on having sins forgiven but on producing fruit. Stewards of the Lord must show the result of their stewardship, the results of trading with the Lord's pounds and talents.
- Paul said, "It is a very small thing that I should be judged by you [Corinthians] or by any human court. I do not even judge myself. I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then every man will receive his commendation from God." (1 Cor. 4:3-5, R.S.V.). A believer may have sins of ignorance, therefore he is not acquitted until the Lord pronounces judgment. The judgment of the Lord is to make manifest even the secret purposes of the heart.
- Jesus said that the righteous go "into eternal life". (Matt. 25:46). But the invitation to enter into eternal life is preceded by the Judgment which determines who are sheep and who are goats. The "sheep" (i.e., the righteous) come forth mortal, therefore, and not immortal. By implication, the purpose of the Judgment cannot be merely to dispense rewards since at its conclusion, the righteous are invited to enter into life eternal.
- The purpose of the Judgment Seat of Christ is not merely to pass sentence without trial as is sometimes assumed. The meaning of the Greek word, "bėma",1 translated "judgment" is illustrated in Acts 25. A "hearing" took place in which Festus on his judgment seat (Acts 25:17) heard the charges of the Jews and the defence of Paul. Similarly, in statements about the Judgment Seat of Christ, believers will all appear to receive good or evil, according to what they have done in the body. (2 Cor. 5:10). The fact that some will receive "evil" indicates that the judgment is not merely the distribution of rewards but a trial for eternal life.
- The Greek word "bėma" translated "Judgment seat" (A.V.) is translated "tribunal" (R.S.V.). "Bema," is used of the Judgment Seat of Christ in 2 Cor. 5:10 and Rom. 14:10. Return