Doctrine of Evaluation Judgment; 2 John 8
2 John 1:8 NASB "Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward." The emphasis there is that we clearly work for things in the spiritual life, not for salvation but in terms of rewards at the judgment seat of Christ. We have to understand the judgment seat of Christ in distinction from the great white throne judgment. "Watch" in the Greek is blepete [blepete], present active imperative, meaning that this should be a standard operating procedure. We need to be constantly vigilant about our spiritual life. Then, "that you" is a first person plural in the majority of MSS. The point that John is making is that he is their pastor. As their pastor it is a team operation. What the pastor is teaching and what the congregation is learning and applying is a joint operation that they are all working together to produce.
The judgment seat of Christ (cont.)
2. The evaluation at the judgment seat of Christ is determined on the basis of how well and how much the believer uses the ten stress-busters which are the spiritual skills necessary to advance to spiritual maturity. There are the basic stress-busters which relate to spiritual childhood. We master these to get out of childhood. The first is confession of sin at which point we are filled with the Holy Spirit so that we can walk by means of God the Holy Spirit. Then first thing we get to master is the faith-rest drill, which means we respond to the challenges of life by trusting in God and relaxing in His promises and provisions. We go from the faith-rest drill to grace orientation where we learn that everything we have in life is due to the grace of God, it is not based on who we are or what we have done but on who God is and what Christ did on the cross. As we learn grace we begin to quit trying to impress God and impress others, and we just try to do our job as unto the Lord. Then we have doctrinal orientation where begin to learn the Word of God and orient out thinking to the Word of God. When we master these we get out of spiritual childhood and we go through spiritual adolescence and we begin to make decisions in light of eternity. We realise that every decision we make today determines what we will be for eternity. Then we get into what has been called the love triplex where we develop our personal love for God the Father, which is the motivation. Then impersonal love for all mankind and impersonal love for all believers and occupation with Christ. These three are distinct and develop together and then as a result of all of these things we have perfect happiness. When we are in fellowship we are walking inside the soul fortress and when any situation in live comes up we exercise our positive volition and we choose to handle the problem, the situation, whatever it is, simply by apply one or more of these principles to handle that problem. That is also described in Scripture as abiding in Christ. We are operating on the problem-solving devices and the more time we spend inside this soul fortress of problem-solving devices that protect us from the onslaughts of adversity there is no stress in the soul and we can have maximum happiness in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in. As we use these skills we grow and we mature. As we mature God is going to distribute to us the blessings He has already set aside for us. This is the difference between legalism and grace. These blessings are contingent. There are contingency blessings for time and contingency blessings for eternity, and rewards are part of our contingency blessings for eternity. If we do not grow, and if we do not develop the capacity to handle those blessings, then they aren't distributed. They will be on display as undistributed rewards throughout the Millennial kingdom and after the great white throne judgment they will then be destroyed in the lake of fire. Revelation 21:8 describes loser believers, i.e. those who are carnal and never live the spiritual life, and it says their part is in the lake of fire. The word "part" there doesn't mean that they are in the lake of fire, it is the Greek word meros [meroj] which means a share or an inheritance. So that the inheritance of these carnal believers is going to be destroyed in the lake of fire at the same time as the great white throne judgment.
3. The present church age is going to terminate with the Rapture of the church. We don't know when the Rapture is going to occur any more than we know when we are going to die, so we need to constantly live in terms of this Rapture event or in terms of our physical death. It could occur tonight or tomorrow, so the priority of each day needs to be: Am I living today in the light of eternity? Am I making decisions today in light of eternity, in light of the fact that I am going to appear at the bema [bhma] seat, and am I going to have anything to show in terms of spiritual value from my time here on earth?
4. Immediately following the Rapture we have the evaluation judgment. This is analogous to the bema seat that occurred after the Isthmian Games. At the end there was an award ceremony just like we have in our modern Olympics. This is what tales place after the Rapture.
5. This evaluation is directly related to the believer's utilisation of spiritual assets—how well we learn about the filling of the Holy Spirit, how well we learn about confession of sin, how well we learn about the promises of God so we can claim them in the faith-rest drill. We have all these blessings that God has given us (Ephesians 1:3) and they are ours. We don't deserve them, we don't get them because we pray or give or go to church, or some other so-called spiritual activity after salvation. They are ours from the instant of salvation, 2 Peter 1:3 NASB "…His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness [e)usebeia, the spiritual life], through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence." It is through "knowledge" that we grow.
6. It is our performance, not salvation, that is the issue at the judgment seat of Christ. The successful believer, the believer who has learned these spiritual skills, who has mastered these spiritual skills, who has constantly taken in doctrine, letting the human viewpoint in His soul be relaced by the divine viewpoint, learning to think about life as God thinks about life; that believer is the one who advances and who will be rewarded at the judgment seat of Christ. So John says in verse 8 NASB "Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished…" The word there for "lose" is apollumi [a)pollumi] which is used three different ways in the New Testament. Its basic meaning is to destroy. It is used in an everyday context fro something that is destroyed or broken or useless. It is used frequently in salvation verses in reference to those who are lost eternally, those who will spend eternity in the lake of fire. It is a word that is used in John 3:16 for those who "perish." It is used as a title for Judas Iscariot, for one who is the son of destruction, one who is lost, not saved. But here, as in 1 Corinthians 8:11 it is used for the destruction of the spiritual life, the life of the weaker brother that is destroyed. So it has simply the idea that these rewards are destroyed. The object of the verb in 2 John 8 is the object of the things we worked for; not people but things. These rewards are permanently lost because we have failed to advance to spiritual maturity.
7. One thing is obvious as a result of this. That is that because of the judgment seat of Christ there is no equality in heaven among believers; there is going to be distinction among believers. There will be inequality because of lost opportunity on the earth under the fact that we all have equal privilege and equal opportunity to advance to spiritual maturity. Every single believer is given the same assets, the same Scripture, the same Holy Spirit; but what he does with that is going to determine what he is in eternity. This is a principle of freedom. Only in an environment of freedom can there be real success, and real freedom is going to result in inequality. Only where there is true freedom do people have the opportunity to succeed. You are only free to succeed to the degree that you are free to fail. There cannot be equality and freedom at the same time. Inequality will exist in heaven because people do different things in life.
8. Inequality in the eternal state is the result of the neglect of freedom in time or the irresponsible use of freedom in time. The solution is not to legislate equality in the political realm or to blame freedom. The solution is always to teach and emphasise responsibility and it is the same in the spiritual life. We are to emphasise individual responsibility for the decisions we make, and the decisions we make in time will have an impact on eternity. Equalities: we will all have a resurrection body, a glorified body. We will all live in heaven, there will be no more sin nature, no more sorrows, the past will be completely wiped away when we get into eternity and we will not remember the events of time. In equalities: different privileges, different positions of responsibility, some will rule and reign with Jesus Christ and others will simply be in the kingdom. There will be a different level of happiness or capacity for happiness, different responsibilities, and different rewards. But everyone will be happy—some will be very happy, some extremely happy. Everyone will have a different capacity for eternal life. There will be different areas of access to heaven as well that will be determined by how well we do on earth.
9. Regardless of the historical circumstances in which we live we have full spiritual freedom—the same assets and opportunity to grow to spiritual maturity and to have maximum rewards at the judgment seat of Christ.
10. Freedom means inequality both in time and in eternity. People are free to succeed or free to fail spiritually; it all depends on how they want to exercise their volition. It depends on your decisions, your decisions, and your decisions. Your decisions determine what you will be in eternity.
11. Believers who are constantly failing to execute the plan of God, who constantly use the problem-solving devices, who are constantly distracted by the cosmic system and who get caught up in all kinds of false systems of thinking that aren't biblical, are those who are going to be the losers at the judgment seat of Christ. They are the ones who are going to be deceived because they have put their focus on temporal pleasures, on temporal gains, and have not lived their life today in light of eternity.