“Let the heavens declare His righteousness, For God Himself is Judge.”Psalm 50:6 NKJV
Did you know that there is not only a Supreme Court in the United States, but also one in God’s kingdom? Although few of us will appear in the highest court in Washington D.C., all of us will appear at one of heaven’s supreme courts: either the Great White Throne Judgment or the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Interestingly, God gives each of us free will to choose which court we will attend. After death, our fate is irreversible. It’s crucial to understand what the Word of God says regarding salvation in order to choose wisely. Not choosing at all? That’s still rejecting God’s gift of salvation.
‘Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.‘Matthew 12:30 NKJV
Here’s the bottom line. Sinners who reject Jesus will stand before God at The Great White Throne Judgment, while believers will stand before Jesus at The Judgment Seat of Christ.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.John 3:16 NKJV
The good news is that God sent His Son to save mankind from our just punishment of death, For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Through the shed blood of Jesus, we have the free gift of forgiveness, and through His resurrection, we have eternal life as heirs with Christ.
‘Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.‘Acts 4:12 NKJV
But what happens after death to a person who didn’t accept Christ as Savior?
What the Bible says about The Great White Throne Judgment:
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.Revelation 20:11-15 NKJV
Those who reject Christ will be cast into the lake of fire, which burns for eternity. We can only imagine the agony of regret and despair the lost will suffer on that terrible day. God will judge them based on their deeds, and this court holds no hope of forgiveness.
Hell and the lake of fire were originally created by God for Satan and his angels, not for man. What a tragedy to reject Christ and be sentenced to such a place! It’s too late for the dead, but for us, the living, it’s not too late to choose eternal life in heaven by accepting Jesus as Savior.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.1 John 1:9 NKJV
What happens after death to a believer?
What the Bible says about The Judgment Seat of Christ:
For we [believers] must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.2 Corinthians 5:10 NKJV
Are we saved by works? Absolutely not.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV
But works do count for believers at this judgment.
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 which 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 3:12-15 NKJV
Although the deeds of the lost will result in condemnation, the deeds of the righteous will reap reward. All our individual works will be presented to Jesus, who will set them on fire. If they aren’t burned up, we will receive a reward. No matter if some or all of a believer’s works are burned up, that person will still be saved.
When will these judgments happen?
The Bible doesn’t specify exactly when believers will be judged. Sometime after the Church is raptured, believers will appear at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Afterward, the church will become the Bride of Christ and celebrate at the marriage supper of the Lamb. According to the pre-tribulation belief, this takes place in heaven at the same time that the Great Tribulation ravages the earth for seven years.
‘Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.’ And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, ‘Write: “Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!”‘ And he said to me, ‘These are the true sayings of God.‘Revelation 19:7-9 NKJV
For the lost…
The Great White Throne Judgment occurs after the end of the 1,000 year millennium. Before then, all the souls of the dead remain in hell to await their sentences of eternal death.
Some of the saddest verses in the Bible refer to those who never knew Him.
‘Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!“Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV
Don’t put off the decision to come to the cross of Christ. We are not promised tomorrow. Today is the day to make a decision to accept Christ as Lord and Savior.
We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says: ‘In an acceptable time I have heard you,2 Corinthians 6:1-2 NKJV
And in the day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
Dear Father, thank you for sending Your Son to die in our place. We praise You for making a way for us to be saved and escape eternal damnation. I pray that you would pierce hearts unto repentance and salvation. May we choose to stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ and spend eternity in God’s kingdom. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.
Heaven’s Supreme Court by Karen Jurgens copyright 2022, all rights reserved.