The Judgment seat of Christ is for the bestowal of crowns with or without stars. Inclusion in the rapture of the Church is the only way to participate in this prize-giving ceremony.
The Judgment Seat of Christ is not a trial to determine salvation or punishment for wrongdoing. Rather, the ‘Judgment Seat’ is typical of the custom in Olympic Games of decorating winning athletes with garlands on a podium before judges who issue prizes according to the performance of each athlete.
The time for this judgment is soon after the evacuation of the church to heaven, in the near future. It will take place in the first heaven in final fulfillment of the prophecy
“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.” (Rev 22:12)
The judgment of believers’ works, classified into six categories, shall be by fire. It will produce gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, and stubble. Fire purifies gold, silver and precious stones but consumes wood, hay and stubble.
Only works not consumed by fire shall abide and earn a commensurate reward. Anyone whose works are burnt up shall receive no reward but not loss of salvation. Reward will be based on things done or not done in the name of the Lord and for His glory. The most notable laurels believers shall be awarded at this ceremony are crowns.
Crown of Rejoicing
This is the soul winner’s crown. “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For you are our glory and joy” (1 Thess 2:19-20).
Crown Of Glory
This is the crown for good overseers of house churches. “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away” (1 Pet 5:2-4).
Crown of Righteousness
This crown is especially reserved for those who love the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is for members of the eschatological community who are daily watching for the rapture of the Church to take place. “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8).
Since the Book of Revelation deals with end time doctrine, this crown may be part of the blessing promised in Rev 1:3 “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.”
Crown of Life Jam 1:12; Rev 2:10
This is a special crown for martyrs, those who love the Lord with all their heart. All Christians who are walking along the narrow road must suffer persecution. In some geographical regions aggravated persecution leads to tribulation, which in extreme cases leads to loss of life. Martyrdom before the uplift of the Ekklesia carries a prize, the crown of life. The original twelve Apostles including Paul and most of the early believers who suffered martyrdom will receive this crown during the Bema.
Involvement in immoral activity is one of the most persistent temptations facing present-day Christians. We are surrounded by every conceivable opportunity to think impure thoughts. Nearly every movie and TV program is, in one way or another, trying to convince us that immorality should not be considered an evil thing. This crown is awarded to believers who were not only pure in heart, but those who consistently overcame the alluring of the flesh being unspotted in the world. This is a crown every saint should have yet some will miss it and will be ‘a castaway.’ (1 Cor 9:25-27)
It is not easy to be a Christian. Just as Jesus did not consider it fun to be nailed to a Roman cross, even so every heaven-bound believer should be motivated by the prospect of winning one or more of these crowns to be focused on the heavenly call by abiding in Christ till the end.
Heb 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. (NKJV)