Paul Declares the Judgment Seat of Christ for all Believers
2 Corinthians 5:9-11 Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences. NKJV
Paul now then having detailed this blessed assurance we have “in Christ” knowing that when we are made absent from our bodies we will instantly be with Him, Paul introduces this most logical conclusion to this truth by declaring our aim, objective, and ultimate goal should be by visible action to labor or philotimeomai meaning to be fond of honor and to love honor and to be ambitious and earnestly striving and studying to make ourselves and our lives well pleasing to our Lord, Master, and Savior Jesus Christ. We should have the mind set of visualizing our Lord Jesus calling us by name as He hangs naked on that filthy Cross making payment for our sins every time we sin against Him in word, thought, or deed and this should move us to repentance and turning away from what caused Him so much pain and suffering which He did not deserve but took on because of His great love for each one of us. The Apostle Peter reminded those early saints this very same thing when he wrote these words to them, “But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless” (2 Peter 3:13-14).
Surely our love for our Lord Jesus should motivate this labor or philotimeomai but Paul now declares the number one reason we should be ambitious to please Him is because each one of us (His children) will appear or present ourselves formally before Him as one would do now before a human judge in a court of law. However, our appearance before Christ Judgment Seat will not be to determine whether we are guilty or innocent, saved or lost but instead it will be a full, piercing, thorough, and complete review of all we have done in this tent or body since the day we received Christ as Lord and Savior, the day of our new birth. Most of us dismiss this judgment seat as merely a time of receiving our rewards for our service in witness, giving, encouraging, teaching, etc. but it will be a time of great disappointment for many of us as we are confronted with all of the missed opportunities, all of our obstinacy, all of our besetting sins, all the times of our fear rather than faith, and all the times we limited the Spirit’s work in us and through us. The Apostle Peter put it this way when he wrote to the scattered believers during his time, “Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner?” (1 Peter 4:15-18).
This will be the time for accountability of the ultimate sort because we can be assured that our Lord Jesus knows all and has seen all and there will be nothing left hidden in our lives that will not be uncovered by Him, even the things we deemed insignificant or have forgotten will not be forgotten or overlooked by Him. We have been made acceptable to God the Father through the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ for our sins, but it is our daily lives that our Lord Jesus examines through His Supernatural Lenses studying, investigating, and finding out what truly moves and motivates us from our inner man or woman as He declared through the Prophet Jeremiah with these words, “I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds” (Jeremiah 17:10). These words of our Lord Jesus through Jeremiah and what He declares here in 2 Corinthians 5:10 through the Apostle Paul suggest that our glorified bodies may be limited in accordance with the sins we committed “in the flesh” after our new birth testifying of differing degrees of rewards and of honor and glory to the saints in heaven (1 Corinthians 3:15) as the parable our Lord Jesus spoke likewise suggest differing degrees of suffering for the lost in hell when He said this, “But if that slave says in his heart, ‘My master will be a long time in coming,’ and begins to beat the slaves, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk; the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers. And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more” (Luke 12:45-48).
Paul concludes by declaring it is his knowledge of the fear, dread, or terror of our Lord Jesus Christ that he goes about always seeking or desiring to persuade or peitho men, and this primary verb means to convince them by argument of the truth of this appearing before Christ Judgment Seat, that it will not be a sweet and pleasant role call for even all believers and it will be a day of terror and dread for the unsaved. The fear of the Lord does not stop nor is it diminished once one is born again, on the contrary it should be magnified even more so knowing the closeness to hell one was teetering on before the kindness of God’s grace came to us as declared by Paul with these words to Titus, “For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:3-6). The remembrance of this should actuate and activate our fear of the Lord or reverence of Him to move us to holy obedience to His Word and should make us fearful of His Judgment Seat when we are in sinful rebellion and crush us in our spirit and soul.
“The gate of death may look gloomy on this side, but on the other it is of burnished gold, and opens directly into the presence-chamber of Jesus. We long to see Him and to be with Him; and such desires are the work of the Holy Spirit and the first fruits of heaven. But remember that just inside the door there is Christ’s judgment seat, where He will adjudge our life and apportion our reward. Prepare, my soul, to give an account of thy talents!” F. B. Meyer
“But Paul is not only professing his own faith, he is speaking in the name of all his brethren. ‘We,’ ought to include every man and woman who calls himself or herself a Christian. It is this setting of the will of Jesus Christ high up above all other commandments, and proposing to one’s self as the aim that swallows up all other aims, that I may please Him-it is this, and not creeds, forms, opinions, professions, or even a faith that simply trusts in Him for salvation, that makes a true Christian. You are a Christian in the precise measure in which Christ’s will is uppermost and exclusive in your life, and for all your professions and your orthodoxy and your worship and your faith, not one hair’s-breadth further. Here is the signature and the common characteristic of all real Christians, ‘We labour that whether present or absent we may be well-pleasing to Him.’” Alexander MacLaren
“If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and it is, then the reality of our appearance before Christ Judgment Seat should strike holy terror within us at all times and especially when we are living in sin and rebellion against our Lord Jesus Christ and His Word. The man or women that do not know the Lord Jesus can in no way know of this fear unless or until they are brought under conviction that they are a sinner before God and accountable to Him as Paul declares of all unbelievers when he wrote, “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:18).” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…