2 Corinthians 5:9-10
We Must All Appear
It is a wonderful thing to be saved, to know the Lord, or better, to be known by Him. It is the regenerating experience that comes through faith in Jesus Christ and what he has accomplished for us in his life, death, and resurrection that births us anew of the Spirit and transfers us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of his dear son, making us children of the Father. No longer children of wrath, we are among those who inherit the blessing that was promised to Abraham four thousand years ago (Genesis 12:3). And because we have been so blessed, “we make it our aim to please him”; after all, who would not want to please One so gracious and so kind to save sinners such as ourselves. And love pleases not in order to receive some reward, but simply to love, to pour oneself out for the beloved.
And there is another reason to please Him: “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.” Which is to say that being born again of God’s amazing grace in no way excuses us to take that grace cheaply. WE ALL MUST APPEAR BEFORE THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST. That should be a very sobering thought. Now on the one hand, we are glad for this since the one who died for us is the one sitting on the throne; that is, the one sitting on the throne is the one who loved us enough to give himself for us in the first place. But on the other hand, any time we are speaking of a judgment seat whereon the one who sits is God, and beyond whom there is no court of appeal … well, that should make us stop and take notice. Notice of what? Of our lives. Are we seeking to please him? Are we even asking ourselves that question? Are we rooting indwelling sin out of our lives? Are we going about doing good? If Christians were suddenly persecuted in this country, would there be enough evidence to convict us?
But all of that said, it’s not about works. It’s not about doing enough, for you never will. It’s about love, for it is love that seeks to please. Where there is love, pleasing comes quite naturally. Where there is love, obedience is not seen as a chore or duty but as gift and delight. Where there is love, there is no fear (1 John 4:18). And so where there is love, the judgment seat of Christ, though the most august of all tribunals, and though met with the greatest respect, is also a place of longing, a place of joy, a place of recompense for sorrows borne and triumphs won. So love the Lord with all your heart; the rest will take care of itself.