THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST

by D. M. Panton



Chapter Nineteen

NOTE ON THE JUDGMENT OF BELIEVERS

The words of Govett are exceedingly acute and arresting :— “All the results of this great doctrine it is impossible to foresee. But some important ones may be traced. If its opponents maintain their hold on the doctrine of the Millennium, it will drive them to strange extremities."

The present attitude of most assailants is this :—

  1. ‘We admit, that there will be rewards.’
  2. ‘We confess, that the believer sins, and as a consequence receives chastisement. But it is only in this life!’
  3. Some go further, and allow that offending believers will suffer loss at Christ's coming. But it will not amount to exclusion from the Kingdom.

But the outcry against the doctrine is so sharp, that those who admit so much will find themselves in a very awkward position.

Impartial Christians aroused at the stir, and learning the state of the case, will say to such: ‘What! are you crying out that this man is subverting the truth, and unfit for communion, while you are holding the very principle he affirms, and differ only in the extent to which it shall be pushed? Christ, you admit, will call believers before His judgment-seat. You think that negation of reward alone will ensue. He, that in extreme cases, positive punishment will be awarded. Is that all the difference about which this loud hue and cry is raised? You agree in the principle, you differ about its extent. If he, then, be a burglar, you are guilty of petty larceny.’

Such assailants, too, will be looked on with suspicion by the stouter-hearted opponents of the doctrine, as almost traitors to the truth.

Most then will take up the ground— ‘Chastisement, but only in this life.’

Your proofs, friend?

‘The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin: 1 John 1:7. Ours is no half-Saviour.’

But you admit, that, in spite of Jesus’ atonement the chastisements of God descend on the offending believer in this life. It is no bar then to their falling on him in the next age. What Scriptures are there which assert, that chastisements shall not befall an offending disciple when our Lord appears?

No such passages are forthcoming.

Proofs to the contrary are many and plain. Take those from a single Gospel: Matt. 5:22-30; 7:21-27; 10:32,33,39; 16:25; 18:7-9, 21-35; 24:45-51; 25:1-30.

This will be felt then to be not very tenable ground. The reasons why chastisement must end with this life, will be very hard to find, very hard to establish. Many believers have died out of the communion of Churches from which they have been justly excluded for sin. Will they be accounted worthy of a place in the Kingdom, who were put out as unworthy of a place in the Church?

Lastly, you admit, friend, that there will be reward for the saints’ good deeds, at Jesus’ appearing. There must then be punishment for their evil deeds, if the coming day be ‘the day of justice’ (‘judgment’). Shall we give account only of our right expenditure as stewards? or of thriftless and extravagant expenditure also? We may wish it otherwise: but is it not written—that each will "receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be GOOD or BAD" (2 Cor. 5:10). ‘He that doeth WRONG shall RECEIVE FOR THE WRONG WHICH HE HATH DONE, AND THERE IS NO RESPECT OF PERSONS’ (Col. 3:25).

Those then who will be quit of this doctrine at all hazards will scarcely feel any position a safe one, but that which asserts: (1) That there is no precept given to the elect of God; (2) And, by consequence, that they never sin, nor ever receive chastisement.

This awful position of unbelief I shall not here assail. My only object is to show the main bearings of the controversy, and to urge believers to look into the matter prayerfully, submitting themselves to the Word of God. To Father, Son, and Spirit, be all glory! Amen.”

Seekers of Christ Seekers of Christ Seekers of Christ Seekers of Christ Seekers of Christ

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart" (Jer. 29:13, NASB)