by Thomas Bass | Les Feldick
We were talking about believers coming up before the judgment seat of Christ, the Bema seat. Bema is simply the Greek word for judgment seat. It came from the Olympics – the seat of the judges. I stressed in our last lesson it’s a seat of judging not for Heaven or hell, but rather for what rewards we will receive. This will only be for believers and the Body of Christ who one day will come before the Bema Seat for rewards. We will definitely get rewards based on our Christian walk in this life here on earth. Of course, the rewards are going to come to their fruition primarily in the Kingdom economy. When the Kingdom finally comes on the earth and becomes active, Christ will be King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the world wide Ruler, and we will be ruling and reigning with Him.
Now here is where the reward aspect comes in, as we reign and rule with Him, our level of responsibility is going to be based on our faithfulness here. And that is why it behooves us as believers to labor, to work, and serve for the rewards we will use in the Kingdom Age. I think most people would rather be active as opposed to being inactive and sitting on the sideline. I know I would. I couldn’t stand sitting on the sidelines.
I would like to begin our study in Romans Chapter 8. We haven’t finished our study of Revelation by any means, but remember, as soon as the Body of Christ is Raptured out and we receive our new bodies (and we will be looking at that in this lesson) we step out of time and into eternity. I know that is hard for us to understand, how even though seven distinct years are going to unfold here on the earth, yet that seven years multiplies into all the time in the world because we are out of time and into eternity. The reason I’m stressing this, is that in no way could the Lord deal with every Church Age believer individually in seven years. It would be impossible in our frame of time. But since we will be out of time and into eternity there will be no problem. Don’t ask me to explain it, because I can’t. But each of us as believers will have that specific, personal, quality time in front of the Lord for our rewards.
Now it’s this point in time that I want to come into Romans, because in our study we are getting ready for the return of Christ to set up His Kingdom at the end of the Tribulation. The Book of Revelation specifies that it will be a thousand years. And even though Revelation reveals it will be a thousand years, all the prophecies in the Old Testament reveal that this Kingdom on earth will be for how long? FOREVER! So then the only way we can look at it then, is that this thousand-year Kingdom is just an introduction to the eternal state. It will be interrupted of course, with a new Heaven and new earth, and the Great White Throne judgment for the lost. But even eternity is going to be based on the physical attributes and so forth of this thousand years reign of Christ. There will be some differences, as here in the thousand years you still have flesh and blood people having children. Where in the eternal state I don’t think that will carry on. But I believe there will be tremendous activity and production all through eternity. We won’t be sitting on a cloud floating around doing nothing except strumming a harp. But in Chapter 8, we come to where the believers, beginning with the rewards. But it’s all looking forward to the time when Christ will return and set up His Kingdom for this thousand years, and we will be part of it. We will be playing our role in that Kingdom as we rule and reign under the Lord.
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (or the children of God) For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself (Himself) beareth witness with our spirit, that we are (present tense) the children of God:”
“And if children (born from above), then heirs (now that brings us into a family relationship); heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; (Most of you are acquainted with laws on joint-heirship that mean what belongs to the husband belongs to the wife. And what is hers is his. So that’s the way it will be with Christ, what’s His will be ours and what’s ours will be His)if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Now, I like these next few verses and very few people realize what these verses are teaching.
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time (and Paul knew what it was to suffer) are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be (future) revealed in us, For the earnest expectation of the creature (creation) waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.”
When will you and I as God’s children be manifest? When we come into this glorious Kingdom rule with Him. And remember to be manifested in Scripture is to be put under the spotlight. Our day is coming when we will be just literally put in the spotlight, and all of creation is waiting for that day. Even at this moment as you read this, creation is waiting for that day. Now verse 20:
“For the creature (creation) was made subject to vanity (the curse), not willingly (creation didn’t have anything to do with Adam’s sin), but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,”
So as soon as Adam sinned and the curse fell, what did God immediately come back and promise? The time of restoration. So then, all of creation is constantly looking for that day when the curse will finally be lifted. When we first started the Book of Revelation, we began to talk about these seven terrible years that are coming. The whole idea of these seven years is to bring the earth to a delivery. In Matthew Chapter 24, where Jesus said, “These are the days of travail,” travail was connected with delivery. In this instance, it’s the delivery of the planet from the curse. So from the very day it was subjected to the curse, God has begun to promise there is coming a day of redemption for it.
“Because the creature (creation) itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption (that’s where we are today, sin and death) into the glorious liberty of the children of God(that’s us). For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.”
I want to stretch your thinking. What’s involved in the term “whole creation,” just man? No, everything! Everything that was created; even the rocks. You might say the rocks are stretching it some, but when Christ had His triumphant entry and they tried to quiet the crowd, what did Jesus say? “If you make these people be quiet the rocks will cry out.” Even the rocks know the Creator. That’s more than you can say about most human beings. So all of creation is waiting for that great day of deliverance from the curse.
“And not only they, but ourselves also,… groan within ourselves (if we are true believers today, what is our longing? Oh, for the Lord to come. As we see the world just falling apart, and literally going into the lap of the evil one more and more, how can we help but cry out, “Lord come quickly.” Because if He doesn’t come soon, I can see even in our beloved America changes coming that will effect us as believers. So here we are), waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”
Now the redemption of the Soul and Spirit has already been concluded, but we are still waiting for the redemption of our body that Paul says, in I Corinthians Chapter 15, is corruptible. And it is going to suddenly become incorruptible. The moment it’s changed and we go up into the presence of the Lord, receive our rewards and come back to become active participants of the Kingdom here on earth. Let’s look for a moment at the Book of Colossians. I always like to point out that we who are believers today are already members of the Kingdom. The Kingdom today is not on earth, but rather it’s in Heaven. But one day that Kingdom will come on the earth, and you and I are going to be part and parcel of it, because we are already in it. Here, Paul is praying for the Colossi believers. And in that prayer as Paul is winding it up he says:
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet (or prepared us) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light (that same language in Roman 8):”
“Who (The Father) hath (past tense) delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath (past tense, it’s already been accomplished if we are believers today. And He hath) translated us into the (what?) kingdom of his dear Son: “
The Kingdom is the Kingdom is the Kingdom. Whatever Kingdom that was promised to David and Solomon, and later to the twelve disciples, later made reference to in the Book of Acts, is the same Kingdom that is mentioned here in Colossians. And it’s the same Kingdom that is coming upon the earth. Now to get a little hint of how our bodies will be. I personally like to think that we when we get into our new resurrected body we will all be the age that Christ was when He was in His earthly ministry, which was of course 30 to 33. So when someone elderly says, “Will I be gray-headed when I get to glory?” I don’t think so. I think we will all be thirty-something with lots of vim and vigor of that age group. They don’t know how good they have it. Do they? Now let’s look at I John for a moment. Here is one little hint:
I John 3:1
“BEHOLD, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” Now here it comes:
I John 3:2
“Beloved, now are (present tense) we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be (in other words we don’t have a full understanding of how we are going to look and so on): but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” And we also read the next verse:
I John 3:3
“And every man (every believer) that hath this hope (that the Lord will be coming, maybe even today) in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”
I always like to use the analogy that when my wife knows that we have company coming, what does she do to the old house? Well you clean, and straighten up, and get the guest room ready. Why? Because you are expecting a visitor. Now that should be the attitude of every believer every day. We should keep our spiritual house in order, because any day we could have a visitor. So we know we will be like Him. Now let’s turn to Philippians Chapter 3. Paul always writes to the believer. And he says to you and I:
“For our conversation (or citizenship; as we are already in the Kingdom) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:”
“Who shall change our vile body (this one that is prone to sickness and death), that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body (the body after His Resurrection), according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”
Let’s go to Luke 24 and take a quick look at His post-Resurrected body. Our body will be like His. I’ve told my classes over the years, if you want to get a good grasp (as much as Scripture reveals) of how we are going to operate in our new resurrected body, then study the forty days of Christ’s post-Resurrection life. And remember, the disciples had no idea that Christ would die (although He had told them He would), much less that He would rise from the dead. That was totally hidden from them. So now it has happened, and they are still having a hard time accepting it.
“And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them (the disciples), and saith unto them, `Peace be unto you.’ But they were (what?) terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit, And he said unto them, `Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have,’” Today we speak of our make-up of being flesh and blood, but in the eternal state we will be flesh and bone.
“And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet, And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, `Have ye here any meat (food. Now this is amazing)?’ And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did (what?) eat before them.” Most people don’t know that. He ate with that glorified body!
“And he said unto them, `These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.’ Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,”
But here is just one little glimpse of how our new body will be. Remember, He was on the road to Emmaus and all of a sudden He fell in step with the two believers, visited with them and went into the house with them. And after He had finished that little sojourn there, in a split second He was gone back to Jerusalem with the disciples. He didn’t need doors to come and go. He could appear and disappear when He wanted to. And that’s the kind of existence we have ahead of us.