10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
The reason why we should not judge or despise our brother has to do with a major event coming—the judgment seat of Christ. The verdict that will ultimately matter is Christ’s, not ours.
we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ [God].
One day every Christian will “stand” before the judgment seat of Christ. The word “stand” means to place before. God will cause us to stand before Himself to evaluate our lives. God commits all judgment ultimately to Himself.
The Greek word for “judgment seat” occurs only in Paul’s epistles and is not the usual word for judgment; it is the Greek word bema. This term come from a Greek word the carries the idea of a step or a raised place mounted by steps, a platform for a judge.
One day Christians will stand before “the judgment seat of Christ.” The manuscript evidence favors “God” rather than “Christ” in this text. The judgment of believer on believer will give way to God’s judgment. Whether it is that Christ will judge us or that God will judge us through Christ does not matter. Second Corinthians indicates Christ will judge us as well.
2 Co 5:10, For we must all appear before the judgment seat [bema] of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
The “judgment” here is a particular kind of judgment. The Greek use of this term was for an open public podium raised sometimes for making public speeches. The Greek term is bema. Sometimes the bema was used for judges making their verdict on a case, or—in the Isthmian games—where a judge would determine who came in first, second, or third after competing for the prize. The victor was led before the judge to receive his reward. A laurel wreath was placed on his head as a symbol of victory.
If God will judge each believer, why is it necessary for fellow believers to do the same? That would be a double hit on the Christian being judged. Only one judge is necessary.
The judgment seat of God is an awards ceremony. God will hand out awards to Christians for faithfulness to Him and His cause.
Each believer will stand before God to give account for how he delivered on the stewardship of his life.
To judge another brother is to assume to ourselves the prerogative that belongs only to God. Whenever we put ourselves in the position of judging another believer, we usurp the place of God in judging. The Lord alone will judge at the final day. Anticipation of our standing at the judgment seat of Christ should cool our taking God’s prerogative of judging Christians.
God will preempt us from reward at the judgment seat if we participate in judgment during our lives, such as gossiping about and slandering another believer. These are determining factors as to whether we will receive reward or not. We cannot allow self-deception about this. God knows our hearts and will judge us accordingly.
1 Co 4:1-5, 1 Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.