Eternal Judgment is an elementary principle of Christ (Hebrews 6:1-3). Hebrews 5:12-14 describes the doctrine of eternal judgment as spiritual milk. It is foundational and extremely important. However, spiritual milk is for babes in Christ. Even though this teaching is for babes, much of the body of Christ does not have a understanding of the judgment seat of Christ and eternal judgment. Like the author of Hebrews states, "For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food" (Hebrews 5:12 NKJV). This teaching will lay a proper foundation of an elementary principle of Christ. Once our foundations are in place, we can move on to solid food and maturity.
The Judgment Seat of Christ
Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 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. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences. (II Corinthians 5:9-11 NKJV)
Paul tells us that we will all appear before the throne of God. The Lord will judge us for the things we have done in this life. For the good things that we have done, we will receive rewards. For the bad things, we will be disciplined. Paul goes on to say that because we will be judged, we must know the "terror" of the Lord. The Greek word for terror means to be put to fear, alarm or fright, to be afraid, and to fear. It does not mean reverence or awe. I would go on to say that anyone who does not fear the Lord or the "terror" of the Lord, does not really know Him.
There are some Christians in the church who do not believe that God is judging us anymore. The above scripture disagrees with those people. The Lord will most certainly judge us for everything that we are currently doing in this life. Believers will not be judged for sins they have committed and repented of. Every sin that has been washed away by the blood of Jesus is gone forever. The Lord has much mercy, and His forgiveness is powerful. However if a believer continues in unrepentant sin; that believer will suffer judgment before the throne of God. Also, if a believer has sins in his life that he did not know about, he will still face judgment for those sins. This is why it is extremely important to walk closely with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will reveal sin and keep a believer on the proper path.
Perfect Love Casts Out Fear
Every time I have ever heard the following scripture preached, it has been taken out of context. I have heard many speakers say "perfect love casts out all fear," in reference to God's love casting out fear in a person that is coming from the devil. This is not what the scripture is saying. Let us look at the scripture in context to determine what the Holy Spirit is really saying.
No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.
Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. (I John 4:12, 17-18 NKJV)
The scripture states that by loving one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us. Only when His love is perfected in us do we have boldness and confidence in the day of Judgment (the day when we will stand before the judgment seat of Christ). If Christ's love has not been perfected in us, we will have fear in us when we stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Only when we are operating in the grace of God and loving others, will His love be perfected in us. And only when His love is perfected in us, will that perfect love cast out all fear. Until perfect love casts out all fear of the Judgment seat of Christ, we should have fear in us. And fear does involve torment. There will be various levels of torment for Christians who have not been perfected in love. This scripture is referring to the fear of being before the judgment seat on that day of judgment. The Greek word for torment also means penal infliction or punishment.
The Lord allowed Rick Joyner to speak with Christians in Heaven who were never perfected in love. These Christians experienced a time of suffering and punishment before the throne of Christ. A short account of this is recorded in my teaching on "The Bride of Christ". The full account can be found in Rick's books "The Final Quest" and "The Call." I highly suggest reading these books.
Torment Before the Throne
And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has. But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more. (Luke 12:42-48 NKJV)
This scripture is referring to servants (believers) of the Master (Christ). No one can be a servant of Christ unless they are born again. These servants did not steward what Christ gave them very well. For example, this parable could be speaking of a pastor who begin to treat his sheep poorly (beat his servants). A pastor who started to misuse money from the ministry for a luxurious lifestyle (eat and drink and be drunk). This pastor stopped carrying about his assignment of caring for God's people, and focused on his own desires of wealth and fame. This pastor spent most of his time catering to his own self-life and feeding his flesh on worldliness.
Jesus said that the servant who does this will be assigned a portion with the unbelievers. I do not think that unbelievers is the best translation for his word. The Greek word for unbelievers also means "untrustworthy". I believe that this unfaithful servant will be assigned a place in Heaven that is for the untrustworthy. We must remember that this is a servant of the Lord, meaning the person is still saved. The servant just wasted what the Lord gave him to steward. Stewarding a ministry poorly does not disqualify someone from Heaven. You can only lose your salvation by choosing to walk away from Christ by your own free will.
The above scripture also indicates that these untrustworthy stewards will receive stripes or lashes. This judgment will happen before the judgment seat of Christ, when the Lord returns for that servant. This is the "fear that involves torment" that is described in 1 John 4:17-18, on the day of judgment. Also note that Luke 12 describes a limited amount of beatings. This is a another indicator that this judgment will take place in Heaven before the throne. If it were to take place in Hell, the beatings would not stop. They would last forever.
The Good Steward
In Matthew 25:14-30, we get an understanding of some good stewards. These stewards took the gifts, talents, skills, callings, and ministries that the Lord gave them and stewarded them wisely. In other words, they did their best with what the Lord gave them in this life. Because they did well in this life, the Lord made them "a ruler over many things". The Bible says that the overcomers will rule with Christ on the earth for 1,000 years. These are the good and faithful servants who will "rule over many things" on the earth with Christ. The unprofitable servant in Matthew 25 will not rule and reign with Christ on the earth. He will go to Heaven because he is saved, but he will not be given ruler-ship on the earth with the overcomers. The unprofitable servant will spend some time in outer darkness before the judgment seat of Christ, and there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Note that the scripture does not say that outer darkness is Hell. The unprofitable servant did not lose his salvation. He just didn't steward what the Lord gave him. Outer darkness is a time of penal infliction and punishment before the throne. Please refer to my teaching on "The Bride of Christ," or Rick Joyner's book "The Final Quest."
Building on the Foundation
For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (I Corinthians 3:11-15 NKJV)
Believers will be judged on every work that they have done in the body. Everything we build with a proper heart motive of love will be considered gold, silver, and precious stones. If we build upon Christ with impure motives it will be considered word, hay, and straw. What we have built will be burned with fire on the day of judgment, although the person will be saved.
Inheriting the Earth
There will be a remnant of believers who overcome the devil and the world. These believers will be allowed to be on the earth during the 1,000 reign of Christ. These believers will be given authority over cities, regions, and nations. They will rule with Christ for a thousand years and govern the world. This should motivate us all to walk intimately with Christ in this life. It should encourage us to allow Christ to love through us. And it should inspire us to steward what He has given us well.
And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations— ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’ — as I also have received from My Father; (Revelation 2:26-27 NKJV)
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4-6 NKJV)
And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:10 NKJV)
Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5 NKJV)
The Judgment of Unbelievers
Those who die without Christ will partake of what the Bible calls "the second death." The first death is when a person dies in this life. The second death is when an unbeliever is cast into Hell.
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15 NKJV)
Those people who refused to follow Christ, will spend eternity in pain, suffering, and torment. Eternal damnation is not simply being away from the Lord's presence. It is torture in the burning flames. The scripture does not lie.
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched— where ‘Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.’ (Mark 9:43-44 NKJV)
Also see Luke 16:23-24
We should all walk in a Holy fear of the Lord in this life. Everything we do in this life matters. The consequences of this life are eternal. We must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. I must confess that I am not yet ready to stand before Him. I have not yet been perfected in love. Only by His grace and mercy will we be able to attain to maturity. Only by the Holy Spirit living through us, can we be perfected in love. Let us come boldly before His throne, and get a hold of the grace we need to have confidence in the day of judgment. Perfect love casts out all fear of His judgment.