Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | October 23, 2017

The Coming Family Celebration

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, a Celebration for the Family

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 Christians 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 believer’s works, whether they were done for God’s glory or self glory. Paul speaks of fire which will “test the quality of each person’s work” I see this as a refiner’s fire which will burn off the dross and leave only the purest gold; the gold of Spirit led works for the Lord.

Whereas our position in the Lord was perfected by Christ’s sacrifice, our experience on earth as mortal humans has been flawed by sin; I see this event as the purification of our experience which will result in the removal of all works that were done in the power of the sin nature. I think of a loving parent who must clean up a beloved child who has returned home covered in mud; this is a mud removal process so we, as children of God, can enjoy the party and rejoice in this final purification from dead works.

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 and additionally have all their penalties and errors expunged from the record. I am convinced this will be a time of celebration for God’s family and we’ll all share in the joy.

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 or boredom. 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 only apply after the new heaven and the new earth are created.

A Sin Free Celebration

Although we may all have our fair share of penalties and errors which need expunging 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?

I’m confident we can all remember occasions when a family member was given special recognition; the feelings of happiness as we watched a beloved member of our family receive a special reward; I’m convinced this will be that sort of event, a celebration for a job well done.

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! This will be a celebration for the family where we will all rejoice as members of the family are recognized; the winners are after all members of our family!

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.

First published in November, 2011 expanded and revised


  1. What a wonderful reminder of what God has in store for us! Thank you, David!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a joy to know how much we are loved by our heavenly Father!


  3. I enjoy reading all of your posts, but I especially needed this one.  Thank you.

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome Paula, I find the thought of a family celebration with God a pure delight.


  4. David, this is a very comforting view of heaven and that the judgment seat for believers is not a place of punishment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Marie,

      The view presented here is consistent with the character of God and the testimony of scripture; God’s love for his children knows no limits as demonstrated by the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are assured in Romans there is now no condemnation for those in Christ and I believe that to be true. Thank you for subscribing and taking the time to comment.



  5. […] fire which will purifiy all of God’s children from sinful works as described in “The Coming Family Celebration” will also purify all of creation as a new heaven and a new earth, totally free of the […]


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