Will I be a Winner or a Loser at the Bema? - Part 2
John Griffiths, Port Talbot, Wales [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
7. THE SETTLEMENT – Why?
Remorse and Regret
’Suffer loss’. The b?ma is not just a prize giving; wrongs will be righted. Scriptures that teach this are (emphasis mine):
- ‘Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward’, 2 John 8;
- ‘Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown’, Rev. 3. 11;
- ‘Unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away’, Luke 19. 26;
- ‘and not be ashamed before him at his coming’, 1 John 2. 28;
- ‘blameless’, equals, ‘without reproof’, 1 Cor. 1. 8;
- ‘suffer loss’, as the fire consumes the materials, 1 Cor. 3. 15;
- ‘Knowing, therefore, the terror [awesomeness] of the Lord’, 2 Cor. 5. 11;
- 'lest . . . when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway’, i.e., disapproved for reward, 1 Cor. 9. 27;
- ‘And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully’, i.e., within the rules governing the event, 2 Tim. 2. 5;
- ‘Take heed that ye do not your alms [good deeds] before men to be seen of them; otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven’, Matt. 6. 1;
- ‘But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong . . . done; and there is no respect of persons’, Col. 3. 23-25;
- ‘Obey them that have the rule over you and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls as they which must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you’, Heb. 13. 17.
Recompense and Reward
’My reward is with me’. Six ways of expressing reward are to be seen:
1 ‘Behold, I come quickly and my reward is with me’, Rev 22. 12. This reward is payment for work done whether good or bad;
2 ‘I press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus’, Phil. 3. 14. The reward is seen by Paul as a prize to be won.
3 ‘the Lord come . . . and then shall every man [one] have praise of God’, 1 Cor. 4. 5. The reward is described not only as payment and a prize, but in terms of praise received of God, for example, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant . . . enter thou into the joy of thy Lord’, Matt. 25. 21-23;
4 ‘And cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord’, Rev. 4. 10, 11. The New Testament speaks of reward in terms of crowns awarded. Ultimately, the crown is cast before the throne, for only Christ is worthy to receive honour. Five crowns are recorded. They are not diademata, or royal crowns, but those given to overcomers – to the victorious, the stephanos.
An incorruptible crown for self-control of the old man, 1 Cor. 9. 25;
a) A crown of righteousness for lovers of the second coming of Christ, 2 Tim. 4. 8;
b) A crown of life for suffering trials and martyrdom, Jas. 1. 12; Rev. 2. 10;
c) A crown of unfading glory for shepherding the flock, 1 Pet. 5. 4;
d) A crown of rejoicing for the soul winner, 1 Thess. 2. 19.
5 Reward is further treated as a capacity to display God’s glory by the degree of light that emanates from our glorified bodies. A cameo of this is seen on the Mount of Transfiguration when Christ radiated light from His person. ‘And they that be wise [teachers] shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness [evangelists] as the stars for ever and ever’, Dan. 12. 3. ‘Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father’, Matt. 13. 43. ‘For one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead’, 1 Cor. 15. 40-42;
6 Reward is demonstrated by cooperation with Christ in His millennial rule. ‘And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing, that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ’, Col. 3. 23, 24; ‘Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord’, Matt. 25. 21, 23; ‘Occupy till I come. Then came the first . . .
have thou authority over ten cities . . . and the second came . . . Be thou also over five cities’, Luke 19. 16-19. Under the rule of Christ we will have responsibility over cities. The number of those cities depends on our faithfulness to Christ during our Christian life here and now, whether it be ten or five or whatever.
The challenge to every believer remains; will I be a winner or a loser at the b?ma? Will I be saved by the skin of my teeth or will I gain an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom?