“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
2 Corinthians 5:10
The Bible is clear that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 4:4-5). We can do nothing to earn our salvation and to even try is an affront to the Holy God of Heaven, Who paid an enormous price to secure our redemption. Nevertheless, God intends for His redeemed ambassadors to live fruitful, productive, God-honouring lives. “For we are his workmanship,” wrote the great apostle, “created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). God promises that our labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58). There will be a review of our faithfulness, as today’s verse passage tells us. It is important to understand that the Judgment Seat of Christ is for saved, regenerate believers in Jesus. It is a review of faithfulness to determine what kinds of rewards will be given. It has nothing to do with whether or not a person is saved. This is spelled out most clearly in Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians. He wrote, “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” (1 Corinthians 3:13-15). The rewards come in the form of “crowns” (2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Peter 5:4; James 1:12). Some may wonder about the propriety of laboring to receive a reward. After all, isn’t it more commendable to labor selflessly, without any thought of future reward? In most cases this is certainly true, but we must remember that the crowns we receive as rewards for faithfulness will be the very things we offer Jesus when we cluster around His throne in Heaven (Revelation 4:10). Our labor in this life is motivated by a desire to acquire as many crowns as possible, that we may cast them at the feet of the One Who washed us in His own blood (Revelation 1:5). As we contemplate and prepare to appear before Christ’s Judgment Seat, let us remember that even though missed or neglected opportunities for service will come to light, the Lord will take note of that which we have done well. “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love,” (Hebrews 6:10a). And so, even at this solemn event, each Christian will receive his praise from God (1 Corinthians 4:5). We praise and thank you today, O Lord, for Your unspeakable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15).