Lesson 7.6 of Bible Interpretation. This lesson is borrowed from the booklet “Seven rules for Bible Interpretation”, written by REV. M. L. LOWE, D.D. with supplemental material by David W. Holden.
Distinguish Between The Judgments…
There are a multitude of judgements of various kinds in the Bible., pronounced on a wide variety of people for one basic reason--SIN! Out of these many different occasions when God has called man into account, seven distinct judgments stand out. No two of them are alike, except that the cause is always sin, the basis is always disobedience, and the remedy is always by the mercy of God! (Even in the case of the final judgment, where without remedy, the unbelieving are consigned to eternal Hell, that action is also bt the mercy of God!) Perhaps the two which we are most prone to try to amalgate need our consideration right here. A verse from each should clearly deduce the differences once for all:
THE JUDGEMENT SEAT OF CHRIST IS FOR BELIEVERS ONLY!
Romans 14:10 "...for we shall all stand before the judgement seat of Christ. "
The question here is NOT judgment for sin (in the judicial sense) ; rather, it will determine the basis of rewards earned for faithful service after the believer has experienced New Birth. A previous judgment--Christ on the cross-- has already settled the sin question! Having been saved, the Lord will now reward His children for faithful service at this, THE JUDGEMENT SEAT OF CHRIST!
THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGEMENT is solely for the unrepentant, the unbelievers who refuse the salvation provided by the death, burial and ressurrection of Christ.:
Revelation 20:11 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 [the unsaved], small and great, stand before God...and the dead were judged...according to their works.
At this judgment, all who have not repented of their sins, and have refused to receive the forgiveness provided by the Lord Jesus in His redemptive death and resurrection, having lived and died in their own self will, shall stand! They shall have a fair trial, for God is just...they will receive full justice, for judgment will be on this basis: "according to their works".... there will be equal justice for all: " small and great"...BUT this judgment will take place before a special court: "THE GREAT WHITE THRONE!" Briefly note the significance of the absence of color: it will be white because red is the color of redemption, and there will be no redemption offered there; it will be white because green is the color of grace and mercy, and the day of grace, offered with mercy, will be past forever! While we have no basis to assume that the thought of white is "transparency", it is indeed true that nothing will be covered up--no clever lawyer will be able to confuse the issue, or make a lie sound like the truth, or the truth a lie! But we can be assured of this: there will not be one person who will be able to say that God was not just and fair in his judgment! No believer will ever be brought before this terrible throne of righteousness, because his sons were settled at the judgment ons in at Calvary!
Keep the time...the place...the persons being judged...the Judge...and the reasons for being judged--and you will never talk about a great and general judgement! The Bible expresses these truths clearly and distinctly!
Take note that THE JUDGEMENT OF THE NATIONS described in Matthew 25 is not related even remotely to either of these judgments! The time is at The Great Tribulation! the Judge is Christ! the basis is solely concern in the treatment of "My Brethren", the Jewish people during that terrible "time of Jacob's trouble". and the judgment rendered by the Lord determines which nations shall enter the Kingdom Age to inhabit the earth for 1000 years! It has nothing to do with salvation, nor does it determines the rewards of the saints!