The “Bema” – Part 1 (4 Feb 2018)

Last two Koinonia Sundays, we dwelt on the topic of our Lord Jesus Christ’s return and the Christian’s rapture. Today and next Koinonia, God willing, we will touch on the subject of The “Bema” – The Judgement Seat of Christ.

2 Cor 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil”.

Rom 14:10-12 “Why do you pass judgement on your brothers? Or you, why do you despise your brothers? For we will all stand before the judgement seat of God; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then, each one of is will give an account of himself to God”.

The Greek word Bema (translated judgement seat in the KJV) was a familiar term in the time of the apostle Paul. In those days, at their sporting arena, there was an elevated seat on which the judge of the contest sits. When the contests were over, the winners would assemble before the Bema to receive their rewards or crowns. The bema was not a judicial bench where someone was condemned; it was a reward seat. The Christian life is a race, and the divine umpire is watching every contestant. After the church has run her course, He will gather every member before the Bema for the purpose of examining each one and giving the proper reward to each.

Last week, I briefly mentioned to a brother in Christ, that on that judgement day, we will be judged not for our sins but be judged for the good that we have done and for the bad that we should not have done.

In the New Testament world, a steward was the manager of a large household. He was appointed by the owner and was entrusted to keep the estate running smoothly. He had the power to hire and fire and to spend and save, being answerable to the owner alone. His only concern was that periodic meeting with his master, at which time he was required to account for the condition of the estate up to that point.

With this background in mind, it may be said that someday at the Bema Judgement all stewards will stand before the Lord and Master and be required to give an account of the way they had used their privileges and responsibilities from the moment of their conversion (acknowledging Jesus as Saviour and confession of sins).
NB: It is our usual practice during water baptism, that we ask our candidates whether they have received Jesus as their Saviour AND Lord.

In essence, it can be seen and said that:

  1. In the past, God dealt with us as sinners (Eph 2:1-3; Rom 5:6-8).
  2. In the present, God deals with us as sons (Rom 8:14; Heb 12:5-11).
  3. In the future, God will deal with us (at the BEMA) as stewards.

God willing, next Koinonia, we will list some Scripture verses to point us to what materials will be tested at the Bema Judgement.

May our understanding of the BEMA judgement be yet another source of encouragement for us to live a life that requires us to Step Up & Step Out.


Elder Andrew Lim

Ref: The King is Coming (Wilmington)