2 Corinthians 5:10-11

In 2 Corinthians 5:10-11 Paul reminds us of the fact that we’re all going to stand before the judgement seat some day. When we pass from these bodies to heaven, we must each give account – no exceptions – no passes. We’ll all stand before Christ. This is not the Great White Throne judgment described in Revelation. This describes a judgment of the works of believers. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” How we live on this earth will matter, not for our salvation as that is based on our relationship with Christ alone, but to determine our rewards in heaven.

So what will be judged at the judgment seat of Christ? First, what we have done will be judged (the things done). Secondly, our motives for what we have done will be judged (according to what he has done, whether good or bad). We must live understanding that what we have done will be judged. It is possible to have a saved soul and a wasted life missing the blessing God would bestow on us if we had only served His will. This should be an encouragement for our service to the Lord. One can also do the right things but with a wrong heart. God will often still use that person and even bring great blessing through them. Yet in the end, it is as if they did nothing for the Lord because their motives for service did not stand up to Christ’s judgment.

Guzik describes the outcome of this verse this way: “Paul presents essentially the same idea in 1 Corinthians 3:12-15, where he speaks of a coming assessment of each one’s work before the Lord. In that passage, he makes it clear that what we do and our motive for doing it will be tested by fire, and the purifying fire of God will burn up everything that was not of Him. We won’t be punished for what was not done rightly unto the Lord; those things will simply be burned up, and it will be as if we never did them. We will simply be rewarded for what remains. Sadly, some will get to heaven thinking they have done great things for God and will find out at the judgment seat of Christ that they really did nothing.”

Paul reminds us that there is a reason to fear the Lord. He will bring terror to those who don’t know Him. But as Christ Followers, we will be spared and we have a great promise to make to those who don’t know Him – they too can avoid His terror if they come to Him in faith. “Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience.” Leading people to faith in Jesus should be the heart of everyone who presents the gospel, whether it is in a pulpit or anywhere else. We should intend to persuade men. God needs no persuasion, not do the Corinthian Christians who had come to faith in Christ through Paul’s preaching.

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