Judgment Seat of Christ
Arlen L. Chitwood
Eternally Saved, But . . .
Eternal life is the free “gift of God,” obtained completely apart from works. Nothing that man does — not one single act, either before or after he becomes a recipient of this life — can have anything at all to do with his salvation, for he has been saved solely by grace through faith; and his salvation is based entirely on the work of Another.
Christ’s finished work at Calvary provides a means of salvation that fallen man can avail himself of by and through one revealed means alone: by and through receiving that which has already been accomplished on his behalf.
Works are involved in man’s presently possessed eternal salvation, but not man’s works. Rather, they are the works of the One who procured this salvation. Ruined man himself is totally incapable of works. He can’t operate in the spiritual realm, for he is “dead [spiritually] in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).
Thus, since redeemed man had nothing to do with bringing to pass his presently possessed eternal salvation; he can never be brought into any type of judgment where the issue surrounds that which he acquired through Christ's finished work at Calvary. A judgment of this nature would not only be judging that which man had nothing to do with, but it would also be judging once again that which God has already judged. God judged sin at Calvary in the person of His Son, and God is satisfied.
Accordingly, the judgment seat of Christ cannot function in the realm of one’s eternal salvation. Decisions and determinations made at this judgment MUST be based solely upon the actions of the justified — actions following their coming into possession of eternal salvation.
By Grace through Faith
For by grace you are saved [you have been saved] through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8, 9)
Not by works of righteousness that we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us . . . . (Titus 3:5a)
To properly understand issues surrounding the judgment seat of Christ one must begin with a due appreciation for the salvation that Christians presently possess — a salvation that is non-merited and non-forfeitable.
Salvation for fallen man is both free and apart from works, but the procurement of this salvation by God’s Son was by no means free and apart from works. God’s Son provided this salvation through a vicarious sacrifice — the sacrifice of Himself; and fallen man can do no more than simply receive that which has been provided.
1) It Has Been Finished
Note the words “not of yourselves” and “that we have done” in Ephesians 2:8 and Titus 3:5. Both refer to the necessity of the total absence of works on man’s part in relation to eternal salvation. The work has already been accomplished; the price has already been paid. When Christ cried out on the cross, “It is finished" (John l9:30), He announced the completion of a redemptive work that He alone could bring to pass.
The words, “It is finished,” in John l9:30 are the translation of one word in the Greek text (Tetelestai). This word is in the perfect tense and could be better translated, “It has been finished.” That is, at this point, everything relating to the work of redemption had been accomplished. Nothing more remained to be done; and, consequently, there was no need for Christ to delay His death. Accordingly, immediately after Christ cried out, “Tetelestai,” “He bowed His head and gave up His spirit [Greek: pneuma, ‘spirit,’ i.e., ‘breath’; He breathed out, expired].”
The perfect tense in the Greek text calls attention to a work completed in past time, with the results of this work extending into the present and existing in a finished state. This is the same verb tense used in Ephesians 2:8 relative to the present state of redeemed man (“you are saved”; literally “you have been saved”). Redeemed man is in possession of a salvation (present) wherein everything has already been accomplished (past) on his behalf.
The Holy Spirit has performed a work (breathing life into the one having no life [cf. Genesis 2:7; Ezekiel 37:1-10]) based on Christ’s completed work (at Calvary). Both are past works, and one can no more be nullified than the other.
Redeemed man is as totally helpless to undo anything that has been accomplished in bringing about his redemption as he was to do something to accomplish his redemption in the first place. Work completed in past time through divine intervention is not something that man can change, add to, take from, etc.
Consequently, contrary to what is often taught in certain quarters, redeemed man cannot nullify the past work of the Holy Spirit in effecting his present redeemed state, wrought on the basis of Christ’s finished work. Redeemed man can no more nullify the Spirit’s work in salvation than he can nullify Christ’s finished work at Calvary.
Both constitute past, completed works wrought through divine intervention, and man is completely powerless to act in these realms.
2) God’s Established, Unchangeable Pattern
Almost 6,000 years ago, God created man. Then, resulting from satanic intervention, man fell. Man became a ruined creation. And this was followed by God setting about to restore His ruined creation.
God’s work surrounding man’s restoration was preceded by His work surrounding a restoration of the material creation upon which man was to reside. Satanic activity had brought about the ruin of the material creation, and then subsequently man’s ruin (Genesis 3:1ff; Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:14-19), and divine activity alone could bring about restoration of both (Genesis 1:2b ff).
Ruined man finds himself in exactly the same condition as the ruined earth, seen in Genesis 1:2a. Satanic activity brought about man’s ruin, and divine activity alone can bring about his restoration. Man is no more capable of bringing himself out of his ruined state than was the ruined earth. And, apart from divine intervention — as occurred in the restoration of the ruined earth — man would have remained in his ruined condition forever (as the ruined earth, apart from divine intervention, would have had to remain in its ruined condition forever, as well).
The former restoration sets the pattern for the latter restoration. The former is God’s unchangeable pattern concerning how He restores a ruined creation, forever established in the openings verses of Genesis. Man, a subsequent ruined creation of God, MUST be restored in complete accordance with the established pattern.
In the Genesis account, the Spirit of God moved, God spoke, and light came into existence. And matters are exactly the same relative to ruined man today, i.e. relative to a subsequent ruined creation.
Exactly as in the Genesis account, the first thing that must occur is the movement of the Spirit of God. And insofar as ruined man is concerned, this initial act of the Spirit is that of breathing life into the one who is “dead in trespasses and sins.”
And the Spirit is able to do this work on the basis of death and shed blood, for apart from death and shed blood, there can be no salvation (cf. Genesis 3:21; 4:10 [Hebrews 12:24]; 22:7-13; Ex. 12:3-13; Hebrews 10:22). In this respect, the Spirit today breathes life into the one having no life on the basis of the finished work of God’s Son at Calvary.
The living Word has performed the work, and God has spoken concerning the matter (Exodus 12:6, 7, 12, 13). The Spirit moves, God speaks, and light comes into existence (man is born from above). And God then divides between the light and the darkness (God divides between spirit and soul, between that which is associated with the man of spirit and that which is associated with the man of flesh).
Thus, the pattern concerning how God restores a ruined creation was set forth at the very beginning of His Word (Genesis 1:2b ff). And this God-established pattern can never change.
(Note also that a time element was involved in God’s complete restoration of the material creation — six days, followed by a Sabbath, a seventh day of rest. This points to the six days [6,000 years] comprising Man’s Day, to be followed by a Sabbath, a seventh day of rest [a seventh 1,000-year period], the Messianic Era [cf. Hebrews 4:4, 9].
It will only be at the end of the six days [6,000 years] comprising Man’s Day that man will be completely restored — body, soul, and spirit—as the material creation was completely restored at the end of six days in the Genesis account. Only then will the Sabbath within this complete sequence ensue; only then will there be a day [a 1000-year period] of rest.
As in the established pattern in Genesis, so will it be in that which events in this pattern foreshadow [Exodus 31:13-17; 2 Peter 1:16-18; 3:3-8].)
Blood and Leaven
For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.
Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.
Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. (Exodus l2:l2-l5)
There is a dual truth taught in Exodus chapters twelve and thirteen concerning the application of blood and the expelling of leaven. These chapters introduce the first two “feasts of the LORD” in the prophetic calendar of Israel — the “Passover” and the “Feast of Unleavened Bread” (cf. Leviticus 23:1ff). “Blood” from the paschal lambs was to be applied first. Then, those who had applied the blood were to put “leaven out of their houses.” This is the unchangeable order established by God in the book of Exodus.
In these two chapters, the sentence of death had fallen upon the firstborn throughout all the land of Egypt (Exodus 12:4, 5). The firstborn in every household, Israelite and Egyptian alike, must die. However, provision was made for all the firstborn in Israel to experience death vicariously. Every household was to take a lamb from the flock, the lamb was to be slain, and blood from the lamb was to be applied “on the two side posts and on the upper door post” of every house throughout the camp of Israel.
When the Lord passed through the land of Egypt to execute the sentence of death, He looked for one thing at each house. He looked for the blood upon the entrance way. The presence of blood showed that the firstborn in that household had already died. Death had occurred vicariously through a slain lamb from the flock. The Lord then passed over that house. The absence of blood, on the other hand, showed that the firstborn had not yet died. Death then occurred at the hands of the Lord, for the firstborn in every household MUST die.
It cannot be overemphasized that the only thing that the Lord looked for on this particular night was the blood. “. . . when I see the blood, I will pass over you” (Exodus 12:12, 13). Nothing else was in view; and once the death of the firstborn had been executed, that was the end of the matter. Those who died vicariously held the same position relative to death in the eyes of the Lord as those who died apart from a substitute. The death of the firstborn had occurred in both instances, and God was satisfied. Nothing could, at a later time, be reversed.
In the antitype of this aspect of Exodus chapters eleven and twelve, “Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us [‘was sacrificed on our behalf'’]” (1 Corinthians 5:7). His blood was shed; and those who have appropriated His blood, through faith, have died vicariously. Death has occurred through the slain Lamb, as in Exodus chapter twelve. “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (Exodus 12:1-13, 29, 30; John 1:29; 19:16-30; 1 Corinthians 15:3). And an individual availing himself of this provision has already kept the appointment with death referred to in Hebrews 9:27. The death of the firstborn is past, God is satisfied, and that is the end of the matter. As in Exodus chapter twelve, nothing can, at a later time, be reversed.
Following the Passover in Egypt, God dealt with the Israelites on an entirely different plane. The Israelites, from this time forward, were dealt with on the basis of that which had occurred in Egypt, NEVER relative to this matter. And it is the same with Christians today. Christians are dealt with strictly on the basis of that which Christ has done on their behalf, NEVER relative to this matter.
Immediately following the Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread commenced. Beginning with this festival, God dealt with the Israelites relative to “leaven” in their houses, NOT relative to that which had previously occurred (the death of the firstborn) and was now a past, finished matter. They were to put leaven out of their houses, and they were to eat unleavened bread for seven days. “Seven” is God’s number, as “six” is man’s number. “Six” shows incompleteness, and “seven” shows completeness, with “eight” indicating a new beginning. The Israelites were to put leaven out of their houses and eat unleavened bread for seven days — one complete period of time.
"Leaven points to that which is vile or corrupt; it points to sin in the lives of individuals. And the spiritual significance of this festival surrounded the fact that the Israelites, as God’s redeemed people, were to put that which was vile, corrupt, associated with sin, out of the camp for one complete period of time. This period of time had to do with the existence of the nation from that point forward.
An individual Israelite refusing to expel the leaven was cut off from Israel” (cf. Exodus 12:15; Psalm 37:9, 22, 28, 29, 34). He died on the right side of the blood. He was cut off from Israel, not from God. The same held true for the entire accountable generation subsequently cut off following events at Kadesh-Barnea. They too died on the right side of the blood. Their failure to enter into the land, resulting in their overthrow in the wilderness, had no bearing upon their standing before God on the basis of that which had previously occurred the night of the Passover in Egypt.
The entire matter is the same in Christendom today. Christians are commanded to “keep the feast,” which is to be done in a new way, “with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:8). Christians are to put that which is vile, corrupt, associated with sin out of their lives for one complete period of time — the entire duration of the Christian life.
Christians refusing to expel the leaven will, as the Israelites who refused to expel the leaven, be “cut off.”
The Israelites under Moses were called out of Egypt to go into another land and realize an inheritance awaiting the nation. Those cut off in Israel forfeited the realization of their calling. They fell on the right side of the blood but outside the land to which they had been called.
And so it is with Christians. Those refusing to expel the leaven will forfeit the realization of their calling. They will fall on the right side of the blood but outside the land to which they have been called. Such a failure, as in the type, will have no bearing upon that which previously occurred in their lives through the work of the Son and the Holy Spirit in effecting their standing before God.
Many Christians, because of the sins of the flesh, have their lives cut short during the present time. However, this is not the primary meaning of being “cut off.” Those “cut off” in Israel were separated from a realization of their calling. They were called out of Egypt for a purpose; and most were overthrown, failing to realize the goal of their calling.
Such an overthrow for Christians in the antitype awaits the issues of the judgment seat of Christ, for it is there that decisions and determinations that directly affect Christians relative to their calling will be made. God will not countenance sin in the lives of His people; and before the judgment seat, the harbored sins of Christians will be brought out into the open and dealt with. Those refusing to judge their sins prior to that time, availing themselves of the high priestly ministry of Christ, will then be judged. Their sins in that day though will be dealt with in an entirely different manner; for, at that time, Christ will be their Judge rather than their High Priest (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:31; 1 John 1:9-2:2).
Basis for Judgment
For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,
each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.
If anyone’s work that he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.
If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)
Something little understood today is the fact that the “basis” for God’s judgments is always works.
God judged sin at Calvary, based on Christ’s completed work; and when God views redeemed man today, He views this past completed work of His Son and past judgment upon sin. Redeemed man, by and through the Spirit having breathed into him, possesses spiritual life; and Christ’s righteous, justifying act — His finished work at Calvary — has been reckoned as merit to him (Romans 5:l6-l8; Philemon l8).
However, redeemed man in this standing before God is directly responsible to his Creator; and he, in his justified state, will himself be judged on the basis of works — his own works, performed following salvation (Matthew l6:27; 1 Corinthians 3:12-15).
And works are the basis for all God’s subsequent judgments upon man — Israel, the living Gentiles coming out of the Great Tribulation, and those appearing before the Great White Throne. Man’s appearance or nonappearance at a particular judgment, or place in this judgment (e.g., man’s appearance at the judgment seat of Christ, or at the great white throne judgment 1,000 years later), is dependent on his acceptance or rejection of the past work of Another; but judgment of the individual will be on the basis of his own works, which will be performed either as a redeemed or as an unredeemed individual (Ezekiel 20:34-38; 2 Corinthians 5:9-11; Revelation 20:11-15).
Before the judgment seat of Christ, “Every man’s work will become clear (KJV: ‘shall be made manifest’) . . . it shall be revealed by [in] fire.” There will be works comparable to “gold, silver, precious stones”; and there will be works comparable to “wood, hay, straw.” One set of material reveals works of intrinsic value, which will endure the fire; but the other set of material reveals valueless works, which will be burned in the fire.
Works performed by Christians during the present time can vary a great deal in worth. Such works can be performed under the leadership of the Holy Spirit and redound to the praise, honor, and glory of the Lord; or such works can be performed under the leadership of man and redound to the praise, honor, and glory of man. At the judgment seat, all will be revealed; for “the fire shall test each one’s work, of what sort it is.”
1) Works . . . Revealed by Fire
Works emanate out of faithfulness to one’s calling and bring faith to its proper goal, which will result in the salvation of one’s soul (cf. James 2:l4-26; 1 Peter 1:5-11). At the judgment seat, the worth of every man’s work in this realm will be revealed; and decisions and determinations emanating out of this judgment will determine every man’s position in the coming kingdom (cf. Matthew l6:24-27; 24:45-51; 25:l4-30; Luke 19:12-27).
“Judgment” on the basis of works is alien to the thinking of many Christians, for they have been exposed time and again to a proclamation of salvation by grace through faith apart from works, unbalanced by the proclamation of the coming judgment of Christians on the basis of works. The emphasis has been placed almost entirely upon the finished work of Christ at Calvary, with little regard given to Christian living, the coming judgment seat, and the coming kingdom.
Teachings of this nature have centered almost solely on the salvation that we presently possess; and things having to do with the inheritance awaiting Christians, the salvation of the soul, etc., have been removed from their respective contexts and applied to our present salvation. Ministries centering on this type of teaching in the churches have produced both confusion and complacency in Christendom.
Then, there is another type widespread teaching in the churches that recognizes works but has every Christian performing good works. The reasoning of those who teach along these lines centers on the thought that if a person is really saved he will produce good works; if, on the other hand he doesn’t produce good works, this simply shows that he was never really saved in the first place. Aside from being completely contrary to any Scriptural teaching on the subject, such a teaching produces both an erroneous view of salvation by grace through faith and an erroneous view of issues surrounding the judgment seat of Christ.
If every Christian produces good works to show that he has been saved, then works enter into an area where works cannot exist.
And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work. (Romans 11:6)
The presence or absence of works on the part of Christians can have no connection whatsoever with their prior reception of the finished work of Christ. Christ’s finished work allows an individual to be placed in the position where he can produce good works. There is nothing in Scripture that teaches that he, of necessity, will produce good works. Such would be completely contrary to the teaching of salvation by grace through faith apart from works. Man’s works simply cannot enter into salvation by grace at any time, either preceding or following salvation.
Relative to eternal salvation, man simply cannot do anything to:
1) Be saved.
2) Stay saved.
3) Show that he has been saved.
If man could do any one of the three, salvation would cease to be by grace through faith, for man’s works would have entered into an area where works of this nature cannot exist.
If it be maintained that every Christian must produce good works to show that he has been saved, then it must follow that every Christian would appear at the judgment seat of Christ with works that would “abide” the fire. Possessing works of this nature, every Christian would “receive a reward.”
But such a thought is at once seen to be erroneous by reference to the text in 1 Corinthians chapter three. There will be Christians appearing at the judgment seat who will “suffer loss” and “be saved; yet so as by [through] fire” (v. 15). ALL of their works will be burned, but they themselves will “be saved,” i.e., they themselves will be delivered. And this deliverance will occur “through fire.”
This deliverance at the judgment seat can have nothing to do with eternal salvation, for all issues surrounding one’s eternal salvation, whether during the present time or at the future judgment seat, are past issues (e.g., Christ’s finished work at Calvary, the Spirit’s finished work of breathing life into the one having no life, allowing him to pass “from death to life”). God judged sin in the person of His Son at Calvary, God is satisfied; and the Spirit can breath life into the one having no life, on the basis of the finished work of God’s Son.
And this work of the triune Godhead is a past, finished deliverance that could never be referred to in the future sense seen in 1 Corinthians 3:15.
The deliverance seen in 1 Corinthians 3:15 is, contextually, a deliverance out of the fire at the judgment seat. Though all of the person’s works will be burned and he will appear naked in Christ’s presence (Revelation 3:17, 18), he himself will not be burned. Rather, he will be delivered — delivered from being burned with his works.
But, though he himself will be delivered in this respect, “so as through fire,” he will be unable to escape the dire consequences that will result from his works being consumed by the fire and his consequent naked appearance. And there can be no deliverance from these consequences, for there will have to be a “just reward [KJV: ‘just recompense’] — exact payment for services rendered in the house during the time of the Lord’s absence. If not, God would not be perfectly just and righteous in His dealings with His household servants.
One-sided views of the judgment seat that maintain that every Christian will appear with good works are little different than the teaching that ignores works. Confusion and complacency, once again, can only be the ultimate result.
Much of the preceding, erroneous teaching is fostered by a misunderstanding of 1 Corinthians 4:5. This verse in the King James Version reads,
Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God. (1 Corinthians 4:5, KJV)
The problem emanates from both a mistranslation in the text and a non-contextual understanding of the words, “then shall every man have praise of God.” The words “every man” could be better translated “each man”; and the reference is back to the faithful stewards in verse two. Faithful stewards will, individually, receive praise from God; but there is nothing in Scripture that teaches that “every man,” which, apart from the context would also include unfaithful stewards, will receive such praise. To the contrary, Scripture quite clearly reveals that both faithful and unfaithful stewards will appear at the judgment seat, that the judgment seat will be operable in two realms, and that faithful stewards alone will receive praise of God.
2) If Anyone’s Work . . . Endures
“Rewards” are being reserved for the faithful alone. This is one side of the judgment seat. Christians have been “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:l0). Works of this nature, performed by a Christian exhibiting faithfulness to his calling, will “endure” at the judgment seat. They will be manifested as works comparable to “gold, silver, precious stones” and will endure the fire. Such works will result in the Christian receiving a reward and a position with Christ in the kingdom.
Works that endure the fire will be the type works necessary to bring faith to its proper goal, resulting in the salvation of the Christian’s soul. Following the testing of such works, the Christian will receive praise from his Lord. He will hear his Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things . . . . (Matthew 25:21a, 23a).
And he will subsequently be positioned, in a regal capacity, among those destined to rule as joint-heirs with Christ (Matthew 24:45-47; 25:l9-23: Luke 19:l5-19).
3) If Anyone’s Work is Burned
“Suffering loss” is in store for the unfaithful. This is the other side of the judgment seat. It is possible for a Christian to appear before the judgment seat of Christ without one single good work to his credit. He may have works, but not works done under the direction of the Holy Spirit, for the praise, honor, and glory of the Lord. Such works, comparable to “wood, hay, straw” will be burned. They will not endure the fire. But the Christian himself “will be saved [delivered]; yet so as by [through] fire.”
The presence of works, the absence of works, or the type works can have no bearing on his eternal salvation, wrought completely apart from his own works. He will come out of this judgment, as Lot from Sodom, with nothing to show but escape from the condemnation befalling the unregenerate.
Works consumed by fire will be the type of works unable to bring faith to its proper goal, resulting in the loss of the Christian's soul. Following the testing of such works, the Christian will be rebuked by his Lord. He will hear his Lord say: “Thou wicked and slothful servant . . . .” (Matthew 25:26a)
Then, that which had been entrusted to him during the time of his Lord’s absence will be taken from him. He will be denied a position with Christ in the kingdom, a position that could have been his had he previously exercised faithfulness in his calling; and he will be appointed “his portion with the hypocrites.” (Matthew 24:48-51; 25:l9, 24-30; Luke 19:l5, 20-26).
He will then find himself cast “without,” into the place that Scripture calls, “the outer darkness” (ASV). In this place there will be “the weeping and the gnashing of teeth [an Eastern expression showing deep grief]” (ASV) on the part of Christians who realize too late that they could have occupied one of the proffered positions with Christ in His kingdom. Their rights as firstborn sons — the rights of primogeniture — will have been forfeited; and they, as Esau, will lift up their voices and weep.
(For a detailed discussion of “the outer darkness,” refer to the Appendix in this book)
Receiving rewards or suffering loss at the judgment seat of Christ are grave issues about which most Christians seem to know very little, or, for that matter, appear to even be concerned. But such will have no bearing upon the fact that there is a day coming in the not too-distant future when every Christian MUST render an account to his Lord for the “things done in his body” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
Events of that day will come to pass at the end of the present dispensation, immediately preceding the Messianic Era; issues of that day will surround a review of the works performed by Christians in view of their receiving rewards or suffering loss; the purpose of that day, aside from providing a “just reward [KJV: ‘just recompense’], will be to make decisions and determinations concerning Christians occupying positions with Christ in His 1,000-year rule from the heavens over the earth.
Everything is moving toward that l,000-year Messianic Era when God’s Son will reign supreme. Man’s Day, in conjunction with his rule over the earth, is about to end; and the Lord’s Day, in conjunction with His rule over the earth, is about to commence. A kingdom, such as the coming kingdom of Christ, requires a King with numerous vice-regents. Christians are today being tested, tried, and refined with a view to that coming day.
Events of the entire present dispensation revolve around the thought that God is today calling out the vice-regents who will reign with His Son during the coming dispensation; and the presence of the Church upon the earth will extend, in one sense of the word, to that point in time when God will have acquired the necessary rulers to occupy the proffered positions in the kingdom under Christ. It will extend to that point in time when the Spirit successfully completes His search for a bride for God’s Son.
The removal of the Church and the appearance of Christians before the judgment seat will involve the issues of two dispensations: The basis for this judgment will have to do with works, emanating out of faithfulness or unfaithfulness of the Lord’s servants during a past dispensation (the activity of Christians during the present dispensation, which will be past in that coming day).
The purpose for this judgment will have to do with Christians participating in the reign of God’s Son during the coming dispensation (co-heirs ascending the throne with God’s Son in the kingdom of Christ).
(For information relative to “dispensations” and “ages,” refer to the author’s book, The Study of Scripture, chapter 5.)
Preparation occurs today; placement, based upon preparation, will emanate out of issues and determinations made at the judgment seat, immediately preceding the time when the Father delivers the kingdom to His Son (cf. Daniel 4:17, 25, 32; 7:13, 14; Matthew 20:20-23); and positions in the kingdom will be realized in the reign of Christ that follows (cf. Matthew 25:19ff; Luke 19:15ff; Revelation 2:26, 27).