The Judgment Seat of Christ is commonly referred to as the believer’s judgment, and it is for Christians only.
2 Corinthians 5:10 (NKJV)
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.
This verse is written to believers (Christians), not unbelievers. Here’s some good news: This verse is not referring to God judging what we do or don’t do as sin. As far as God is concerned, the sin issue has already be settled fully and forever through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Those who have placed their faith in Christ and confessed Jesus as Lord have already been forgiven of all their past, present, and future sins. There is no longer a judgment for their sins because they have placed their faith in the perfection of Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins. At the Judgment Seat of Christ, God is not going to retract His sacrifice and judge believers all over again – that just doesn’t make sense. At the Judgment Seat of Christ, you are not going to be judged on whether the things you did were sinful or not. That was already settled by God when you placed your faith in the perfection of Jesus for the forgiveness of all your sins.
The judgment seat of Christ refers to the believer’s judgment, not the great white throne judgment. The latter (described in Revelation 20:11-15) is where unbelievers will be judged based on their good or bad deeds to secure their justification. Every person who has not placed their faith in Christ will have the opportunity to justify themselves based on whether their works of righteousness were good enough to meet God’s standard. Unfortunately, no human being can measure up to God’s standard of righteousness, and every human being knows they have broken God’s law both in attitude and in action. Having the humility to admit that acknowledges the need for a Savior, which God has already provided in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ.
God will preside at the Great White Throne Judgment; Jesus will preside at the judgment seat of Christ. God judges unbelievers; Jesus judges believers. The reason Jesus judges believers is because every believer is connected to Him as part of His body. That is why Jesus said (in Matthew 25:40), “Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” The word “brethren” refers to our fellow believers. Every believer is connected both to Jesus and to every other believer.
Jesus is the Head, we are the body. The Head and the body are connected. We make up the body of Jesus; therefore, each one of us is part of the body of Christ. Notice the phrase, “in the body” (in 2 Corinthians 5:10). This refers to the body of Christ. Certainly, the believer’s judgment includes what we have done with our bodies because we live on the earth in a physical body. But more specifically, the phrase, “in the body” refers to what we have done with our lives as part of the body of Christ – how we related to our brothers and sisters in Christ when we lived on the earth.