Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | November 23, 2011

How Will You Feel When Heavenly Rewards Are Given?

A Heavenly Future

There is probably no way we can realistically understand or relate to heaven; I suspect that heaven is so far beyond our understanding as to be essentially unknowable.

With that caveat in place I believe we are at liberty to speculate based on the revelation of God we have in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. We know from Scripture that if we have seen Jesus, we have seen the Father; the life of our Lord provides insight into both heaven and the nature of God.

The Judgment Seat of Christ

It is generally acknowledged that the Judgment Seat of Christ will take place in heaven during or slightly before the seven year period leading up to the Second Advent. The church will have been taken up at the Rapture and believers will have received their resurrection bodies which will be eternal bodies, free of sin.  

We are told in I Corinthians 3:11-15 and II Corinthians 5:10 that our works as mortal humans will be judged for the purpose of determining rewards; this is called the Bema, the judgment seat of Christ. The believer’s salvation is not in question, just the believers works, whether they were done for God’s glory or self glory.

I have heard the comparison made between the Bema and a judge’s stand at a sporting event; this is a better comparison than a court of law, the believer is not on trial, his works are being judged for the purpose of rewards. Just as athletes may appear before a judge’s stand to receive their awards so Christians will appear before Christ to receive rewards for what they have done in the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Bible does not reveal the exact nature of those rewards nor does the Bible reveal the exact nature of what we will be doing in eternity or where we will be doing it. We know from Scripture that the Lord Jesus Christ will create a new heaven and a new earth in which we shall live forever.

Eternity Will be a Busy Place

I believe we’ll all have work that is assigned to us in eternity. It seems to me the principle was established in Genesis when God placed man in the garden and told him to care for it and to also be responsible for all of the creatures He created; Adam’s life was never intended to be a life of indolent ease.

Keep in mind the church is a special creation of God and is given unique privileges and responsibilities; this too is a matter of God’s marvelous grace!

The members of the church are given some clues as to what our responsibilities will be; in I Peter 2:9 we are told we’ll be a royal priesthood which suggests both administrative and spiritual leadership responsibilities. Then in I Corinthians 6:3 we are told we will judge angels which would suggest judicial responsibilities.

I’m getting the impression there will be plenty of work to go around with absolutely no danger of unemployment. That does not explain the differences in rewards which, I think, will have to wait until we get to heaven and find out. It may be that some rewards will have to wait until the new heaven and the new earth are created.

A Sin Free Celebration

I suspect that most of us see ourselves more as observers rather than participants in this process of receiving rewards. While we may hope we receive some small reward we recognize that our lives in no way compare to the lives of those saints about whom we have heard so much. How then will we feel as we watch those well known saints receive their well deserved rewards?

One thing we can count on at that time is our resurrected bodies will be completely free of sin and the old sin nature. Another thing is the reality of our all being part of God’s family and seeing each other as children of God in that family.

When one imagines a contemporary sporting event, the conclusion of the event produces winners and losers; the winners joyous in victory and the losers agonizing over their defeat. I am convinced that this will not be the scene at the Bema of Christ!

A Grand Day of Thanksgiving in Heaven

I believe the Bema of Christ will be a day of happiness, rejoicing, and thanksgiving for all believers. One reason is the promise that in heaven there will be no more sorrow, crying, or pain. Another reason is this is a family affair and none of us will be burdened with a sin nature so we will be able to unreservedly love our family and celebrate their good fortune.

As mortal believers we are given the opportunity to walk by faith and enjoy the fruit of the Holy Spirit; I believe our normal perspective in heaven will always reflect the fruit of the Spirit as specified in Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

It is these feelings that will dominate our reaction as the rewards in heaven are being given. It is these feelings that will cause us to rejoice with gratitude as our beloved brothers and sisters in Christ are given their rewards.

The Judgment Seat of Christ will be a time of great rejoicing, a time of thanksgiving for all of God’s children as members of the family are recognized; what a blessed way to start our eternity with God.


  1. Our worldly role models are not good at setting examples of how to behave and act in the face of judgement. We must turn to our Christian friends and leaders for better examples. We argue with our worldly judges, defending our actions. How will this work when our Judge is infallible, all knowing, and perfect?


    • John:

      How good to hear from you; I agree that worldly role models leave a great deal to be desired but I would suspect that the awards ceremony at the Olympics would be the closest parallel to the Bema. Since this is an awards ceremony and not a criminal trial I doubt we’ll even want to argue with the judge to defend our actions; most especially since He is the love of our lives and we’ll be in perfect harmony with His decisions.

      Fortunately we’ll have an entirely new frame of reference at the Bema of Christ; by that I mean our resurrected sin free bodies and our eternal perfect unity with the Judge whom we love with all our being. These are enormous thoughts, the impact of which far exceeds my ability to even imagine.



  2. I appreciated this blog very much. No matter how hard we don’t want to be jealous of others’ rewards, we often are. I think often it is with regret as much as jealously that we didn’t put forth our best effort or were not generous with how we prioritize what is important. This is all about earthly rewards which has no comparious to the rewards given at the throne of God. To know we won’t feel the sin of jealously and regret but willing to be joyful just makes me smile and have the peace of God that I can’t explain.


    • For me the revelation came when I realized that we would experience the Judgment Seat of Christ in our resurrected bodies, free of sin and in perfect harmony with the Lord Jesus Christ. How could we not fully rejoice in and completely agree with all the Lord does at that time; after all we’ll be enjoying an eternal union with God that is totally beyond our ability to even imagine.


  3. On another though, but along topic of heaven:
    After the rapture, will people alive at time of rapture have lost their chance to become believers. I always thought that there would be people saved up until final return of Jesus and earth was destroyed. Who will witness to these people? Will the Holy Spirit move in people as it does now?


    • After the Rapture the only major thing that will have changed is the opportunity to join that special group of believers who will have become the bride and body of Christ; the extent of that blessing can only be imagined but I believe it to be more wondrous than any of us realize right now. That door was opened on Pentecost, May 25, 33 AD and will close at the time of the Rapture of the Church.

      After the Rapture, the door to salvation will still be opened but not to membership in the church. We are told in Matthew 24:14 that all the world will hear the gospel and this is a reference to the time after the Rapture of the Church. After the Rapture there will be a time of unparalled witnessing and the declaration of the gospel to every nation and language. In Revelation 14:6 we are told there will be an angelic witness of world-wide scope “to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” In addition to that there will be the witness of the 144,000 Jews who I see as similar to the Apostle Paul in zeal and enthusiasm. In addition to that there will be a remnant who believes as a results of the Rapture and the testimmony of the two witnesses of Revelation 11.

      Many will be saved although many of those will be killed for their faith; many others, however, will survive the tribulation and will enter the Millennial age as mortal believers who will repopulate the earth. The Tribulation will be a time of great suffering but also a time of great evangelism.


  4. Hello David, my name is Mark. I am Maryjanes brother and am currently staying with her and Paul, I am a researcher reguarding bibiical understanding of life and with a special interest in prophesy. There’s a variety positions out there. My sister tells me to talk to you about these things. All these various views all say they speak the truth from the bible but they all cannot be as they disagree with each other as to what is what. Would you be interested in kicking this thing called truth back and forth to see what falls out?


    • Mark:

      I would be happy to discuss Biblical truth with you but suggest it might best be done via email. I’m sure Maryjane has at least one or perhaps both of our emails so please get the address from her and send me an email you will want to use for our discussion.



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