“For all of us must appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each may receive due recompense for actions done in the body, whether good or evil” 2 Cor. 5:10
The Bible is replete with references to judgement in the temporal and spiritual realms. When I ponder the subject, I contemplate its scope and purpose. Who will be judged and why? Will all persons, including believers, face the judgement? There will be separate rewards, but will there be a separate judgement for believers and non-believers? Is the purpose different for the believer and the non-believer?
In the selected text, Paul told the Church in Corinth that all believers must appear before the judgement seat of Christ. This is not for the judgement of our sins, because our sins were judged, and Jesus took the punishment for our sins on the cross. The word “appears”, or better yet, “manifest”, means to be investigated into, to be searched and examined thoroughly. In this judgement, Christians will give an account of the lives they have lived—whether good or ill.
The Corinthian Church was riddled with divisions and competitiveness of a potentially destructive nature. In the previous chapter, Paul assured the believers that the glory of eternity with Christ outweighed the suffering experienced in this temporal realm. Assured of this, Paul was willing to courageously risk more suffering to advance the cause of the Gospel. He was motivated by the desire to please Christ in the temporal realm.
So, the judgement will be an examination, an appraisal, of what each Christian has done “in the body” since putting faith in Christ. Paul told the Romans that each believer will “give an account of himself to God” Rom. 14:12. That’s the judgement.
We are assured that every good and bad action will be rewarded. The Bible says, “the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free” (Eph. 6:8). Believers whose actions were designed to glorify Christ will receive God’s “well done”. Actions designed for selfish gains, and which failed to glorify God, will be “burned up” or shown to be worthless. This what Paul said: “If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire” 1 Cor. 3:15.
Therefore, believers must live circumspect lives. Followers of Jesus should live righteous and sober lives and not according to the dictates of the world. The guiding principle must not be “when in Rome do as the Romans do”, but what the Holy Spirit impresses upon our hearts. In the face of obvious injustice, discrimination, evil, and wrong-doing, Christians should not remain silent, blind, and deaf. When there are persons seeking refuge or needing a helping hand, and we can help, we should not pass by on the other side. Why? Because we must stand before the judgement seat of Jesus and be examined. Paul was motivated by this awareness, and so should we.
Thought: Our actions should prepare us for the judgement.
Prayer: Lord, thank you that nothing can separate me from your
love; but help me to remember that all my deeds will be judged by you and your standards.
By Everald Galbraith
August 4, 2022