10 For we 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.
The word “for” gives a reason why we should please the Lord (2 Co 5:9).
Note the word “must” here; there is no option for the Christian but to be evaluated by our Lord. The term “must” is an imperative. There is no choice other than the Christian appearing before the Judgment Seat of Christ. It is a “must” as much as we “must be born again” (Jn 3:7). It is binary from God’s viewpoint.
Every Christian will one day make an appearance before the Lord. “Appear” connotes made manifest. At the Judgment Seat of Christ, the believer’s true character will be manifest or evident to the Lord and to the person. The believer’s character and deeds will be inevitable and comprehensive set before the Lord. Everything will be laid bare.
before the judgment seat of Christ,
The “judgment seat” here is the bema seat. The Greek uses this word as a place of judgment for victorious athletes; this is where they received their crowns. Romans 14:10 uses this term as a place of reward. This is when Christians will give their efficiency report to the Lord for everything they have done in their lives.
The judgment systems of mankind do not ultimately matter, nor does the court of public opinion of any concern. It is Christ’s judgment that conclusively matters.
that each one
No Christian will be exempt from an ultimate evaluation of Christ for how he or she lived in time.
may receive the things done in the body,
The word “receive” means to get what is due. Christ will recompense Christians for deeds done in their bodies; they will “receive” their rewards at the Judgment Seat.
according to what he has done [works],
The judgment of the Christian will not be for sin. Jesus paid for all sin on the cross—past, present, and future (Ro 8:1, 34; 2 Co 5:21; Ga 3:13; Eph 1:7; 1 Pe 2:24; He 10:12; 1 Jn 2:1-2).
God will reward us only for what we do in time, not eternity. The issue before the Lord is whether the Christian lived his life in a way that pleased Him.
whether good or bad [worthless].
The word “bad” does not imply sinfulness but worthlessness. There are many useless things that Christians have done. These are not rewardable. Christ will award service done in His will. He will judge morally neutral things by their motive. If it was out of proper motivation, then He will consider it “good.”
It is important to note that the Corinthian church was the most carnal assembly in the New Testament.
Every Christian will make a personal appearance at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
The Judgment Seat of Christ immediately follows the Rapture of the church to glory. The purpose of the Judgment Seat is not to determine whether a person is a Christian but rather to make manifest or clear the actions of a believer, whether our deeds were good or worthless. It is strictly for Christians only and a matter of reward. Every Christian is accountable for what he or she did or did not do in life. Christ will evaluate every act (1 Co 3:10-15). All motives will be laid bare at this judgment. It will be a solemn occasion.
The Lord will evaluate each and every Christian at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Our future has a practical bearing on how we live. Knowing that our Lord will evaluate us should enable us to endure hardship and seek to please our Master. Christ will hold every Christian accountable for every last deed done while on earth.
There are eternal consequences for what we do in time. The full truth of the Christian life will be laid bare at the Judgment Seat of Christ. It will be apparent to the Christian and the Lord (He 4:13).