Monday, March 4, 2013

Can A Sheep of Christ Ever Perish (Part 7)

The Judgment Seat of Christ
Another thing to consider on this topic is the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10). Sometimes the judgment seat of Christ is misunderstood, causing fear or confusion to a believer as to his eternal safety and reward. Although this verse is part of a letter addressed to the church at Corinth, it has a much wider application. When the Apostle Paul said, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ," he meant all who belong to the Lord. The judgment seat of Christ is the ultimate tribunal before which believers must stand. There each one will receive his reward for good done during his life on earth.

Paul recognized the seriousness of this and never lost sight of his responsibility to his Master. He thought it a small thing to be judged by men. "He who judges me is the Lord," he said and when He comes He will "bring to light the hidden things of the hearts; and then each one's praise will come from God" (1 Cor. 4:4-5). We should be greatly concerned about this because the things done here on earth will be revealed at the judgment seat of Christ,whether good or bad, and valued at their true worth.

We will see our life as God sees it now. "then I shall know just as I also am known (1 Cor. 13:12). We will remember God's patience with us in our unconverted days and his tender dealings with us during our lives on earth. We will remember how he guarded, guided, restored, forgave and led us step by step to an ever-growing knowledge of Himself. This should cause us to adore Him now and so much more when we are there where all is fully known! The riches of God's pardoning grace will be better known then, as will the richness of Christ's atoning blood that covered our sins.

The thought of the judgment seat of Christ should not cause fear unless we have drifted away from God. But  it should make us serious; it is intended to do so. It reminds us that our lives should be lived and spent in a way that we may receive the "well done" of our Master in that day when He will come with His reward. It certainly will be no trivial thing to stand  before the judgment seat and have the Lord point out our works that were not worthy of reward: works done for selfish reasons or from other wrong or impure motives.

What a contrast it will be for those who reject the gospel! They will experience the judgment of God on the basis of their works (Rev. 20:11-12), since they have rejected God's love, grace and the way of salvation provided through His beloved Son. Paul knowing this was compelled to persuade men. He begged them to be reconciled to God. The terror of the Lord was very real to him. He knew nothing about the recent theories that God's love would merely overlook all wickedness and rebellion of man. Paul declares that there will be "but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil (Rom. 2:11-12). The great white throne, the opened books, the impartial trails, the terrible sentence and everlasting punishment of the wicked were great realities tot he Apostle Paul. They should be to us also if we love the souls of our fellow men and women.

Only believers will stand before the judgment seat of Christ, where their works will be evaluated. All unbelievers will stand before Christ at the great whit throne, where their works will condemn them (Rev. 20:11-15). A millennium (1000 years) stands between these two events. It will not be decided at the judgment seat of Christ whether or not the one who believes in Jesus will be welcomed into heaven. This matter is settle on earth the moment we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. At that instant our sins are forever forgiven and eternal life begins in our hearts, since we have responded tot he love of God and have become a child of God, a sheep of Christ.

Can you say with the Apostle Paul, "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:38-39).

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