- "Just wait till your father gets home and sees what you've done!"
- "He's making a list and checking it twice, he's gonna find out who's naughty and nice. Santa Claus is coming to town!"
- "Now children, take your report card home and bring it back on Monday with a signature from your parents."
Depending on how well you thought you were doing at the time, those words instilled either fear or pride in you, didn't they? So, just where, oh, where, do you suppose we learned what we did about The Judgment Seat of Christ? Is it possible that we have read our fears and/or pride into what is recorded in the Bible? Okay, maybe you learned it from a real Bible teacher, who knows the Greek and Hebrew, but isn't it as likely that HIS Santa Claus mentality affected his view of the Bible just as easily as yours and mine have been affected?
One way or another, we have come to view the event with uncertainty, to say the least. "Some days you're hoping that He comes real soon, some days you're not too sure" (from Eternal Life, me, 1985).
In the next few Shoveletters I will be dealing with the following verses:
According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 1 Corinthians 3:10-17
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. 2 Corinthians 5:10
For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God ... so then each one of us shall give account of himself to God. Romans 14:10&12
Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. John 5:28-29
Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. 1 John 2:28
The context of each and every one of these is crucial. It's no different than with us today. Consider how often someone has overheard a few comments you have made only to draw a false conclusion based on the EXACT words they heard. They might say, But that's what you SAID! And you say, Yeah, but you didn't hear the REST of what I said! So, I ask you: though you have heard a few simple statements that SEEM to be obvious, did you consider it in the context of the REST of the statements? I'm not writing this as a challenge, but as a preparation of what is to come. Once seen, I hope it will become so obvious that you will wonder how you hadn't noticed it before. That's how it still hits me.
There is something else that has gotten totally lost in the mix. It probably has to do with our being so time-conscious and sin-conscious and systematic-minded, but have we overlooked the judgment seat OF CHRIST? Do we have our chronology so firmly established that when we hear "the judgment seat of Christ" we separate it from the judgment of Christ? You know, the one where HE was judged on our behalf? The one where He put away our sins from us never to be dealt with again? The one where the old was destroyed and the new begun?
Do you think that I am taking it too far? Consider the statement of Paul,
For I determined to know NOTHING among you except Christ, and Him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:2
Do you know where this statement is found? It's just a few paragraphs before the first passage in the above line-up. Tell me something. Do you think maybe Paul still had Christ, and Him crucified in the forefront of his thoughts after he wrote just a few paragraphs? Hmmm? I wonder ... :)
The question is not HOW can we make it fit in?, but How are we to understand that 'the judgment seat of Christ' (actually, spoken of in 1 Corinthians as "the day") has EVERYTHING to do with Christ, and Him crucified?
By this, I'm not suggesting that there is not a day yet to be where we will stand before Him. Not at all. But if you are supposing that we are going to stand before Christ in some kind of a time out where He is going to throw our sins back in our faces then you are assuming upon a deception! Or did you think that "And I will remember their sins no more" meant that He'll forget them AFTER He judged us for them? If that's the case then Jesus did not do away with them, did He?
Know this, right now: God will not forget what His Son has done for you, so stop thinking that He will.
Next time, then ...