“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” —2 Corinthians 5:10 (NKJV)
What comes to mind when you think of Washington, D.C.? Do you think of the great monuments like the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, or the Washington Monument? For many of us, images of these places have been embedded in our memories since elementary school.
The first thing Paul saw as he entered the city of Corinth were monuments of Roman government. In the city center, the Roman governor would sit and decide cases and dispense judgment. (Think about the scene in John 19:13 where Pontius Pilate pronounced judgment at the “The Stone Pavement.”) This judgment seat was referred to in Greek as the bema.
In ancient Corinth, judgment was at the very center of public life. Everyone could see what was going on, and Paul makes it clear: Every human will appear before Christ to give an account for himself or herself. The Corinthians clearly understood the gravity of the bema of Christ.
That is sobering to think about. At least it should be. It is easy to become overly casual in our attitude toward God. While it is true that we are justified by faith alone, there are still expectations of how believers in Christ should live. We are expected to grow in our faith, become mature followers of Jesus, and have an impact for Him in the world. And, as believers, we will one day stand before Jesus and give an account for how we’ve met—or not met—these expectations.
While this truth should give you pause, it should also energize you. This is good news! You’ll be rewarded for the things you did for Jesus. And everyone will see it. This should give you hope and motivate you to tackle more projects and impact more lives for the sake of the gospel.
If you are in a place in your journey where you need to get back on track with your walk with Jesus, do it now. Acknowledge it to Him in prayer, as well as to someone else in your Christian community. Be restored to Him, and start doing the kinds of things you’ll be rewarded for.
One day everyone will see how wise and just our God is. On that day you’ll be validated for those things you’ve done through faith in Jesus, whether they were big sacrifices or small deeds of kindness. That’s a promise.