Yes, all believers will individually be judged by God. There are two judgments. There is God’s judgment seat for those who believe in Jesus, and the Great White Throne Judgment for all who have rejected Jesus.
The Great White Throne Judgment, as described in Revelation 20, will be for all who chose to reject Jesus as their Savior. This judgment will occur after the millennium and after Satan is thrown into the lake of fire.
“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life… And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:11-12,15).
God’s judgment seat is for all believers to stand before God and explain how they lived their lives and whether or not their work is acceptable before God. This will happen shortly after the rapture of the Church.
“We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
In Greek, the word used for “judgment seat” is bema. A bema was a raised platform on which judges sat to view athletic games. Their job was to ensure contestants followed the rules and present awards to the victors. The bema was never a place to reprimand the athletes or to punish them in any way. It was a place of testing and reward, not condemnation. As with the bema seat for the athletes, God’s judgment seat is something to look forward to experiencing. There will be no condemnation because all the believer’s sins have been forgiven. This judgment is a time to give an accounting of what we did through Jesus, not our flesh, for His glory.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For in Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful man, as an offering for sin. He thus condemned sin in the flesh, so that the righteous standard of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh; but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. The mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind of the flesh is hostile to God: It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:1-8).
Only the Lord Jesus can judge our works from the “Bema” seat. He will reward us or withhold rewards from us. Doing things that we think are good and glorifying to God without the leading of the Holy Spirit will not be acceptable to God, our judge, and therefore, we will not receive rewards for such works. Those things will be burned up by fire.
“If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames” (1 Corinthians 2:12-15).
Our rewards, or crowns, will be given solely dependent on Christ. He knows our hearts and will judge accordingly. He also gives us many examples in the Scriptures of the things worthy of reward. Included are:
“Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs but rather tries to please his commanding officer. Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules” (2 Timothy 2:3-5).
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him” James 1:12
“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown” (Revelation 2:10)
In his vision in Revelation 4, John writes about the twenty-four elders who received their crowns in Heaven. They all “fell down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”
The rewards in Heaven that we will receive for the work that Christ did through us will glorify God and allow us to experience what our sinful natures were incapable of experiencing. Jesus’ gift of His Holy Spirit will forever enable us to experience love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, goodness and self-control!
“Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:9-11).