Christians Receiving Honor?

26 Nov

I remember first asking an early mentor of mine, “As Christians we don’t face God’s judgement do we?” and to my surprise he said, “Yes we do!”  I thought “Really, where inthe bible does it say that?”

 

He then quoted 2 Corinthians 5:10 to me which really got me thinking.  There Paul says.

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
2 Corinthians 5:10

According to this text, even Christians – who are shielded from condemnation and punishment by Christ’s death – are not exempt from appearing before the judgement seat of God and Christ.  We won’t be spectators at the judgement; we will be called upon to explain why we lived the way that we did.  That is what Paul means that we will ‘give an account’ (Rom 14:12).  Though we are saved by God’s grace purely through the works of Jesus on our behalf, Paul insists that will receive ‘dues’ for the good and bad we’ve done (2 Cor 5:10).

What does this mean for the Christian?
Today I’ll focus on the positive side of the ledger – Christians receiving honor!
Look again at what Paul says in 1 Corinthians …

 

12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.  
1 Corinthians 3:12-15

Here Paul teaches that God intends to reward believers for good work.  In this Paul is just following Jesus.  In the parable of the Ten Minas (Luke 19:11-27) servants are given large sums of money: a mina is about 570g (of silver).  The servants are asked to put the money to work for the master.  When the accounts are eventually drawn up – a metaphor for Judgment Day – each servant is rewarded according to his faithfulness.  As the parable says:

16 The first one came and said, ‘Sir, you mina has earned 10 more.’ 17 “‘Well done, my good servant! …

As always with parables we need to make sure we are careful in stretching the parallels too far.  Jesus clearly didn’t want us to know what our rewards in heaven for faithfulness will be – otherwise, he would have told us.  He wants to assure the faithful that he sees their efforts to bring him honor and he will one day betow on them honour in return.

This same idea is there when Paul talks about races won (1 Cor 9:24), fights carried out (2 Tim 4:7) and ‘crowns’ bestowed by God on his people on the last day (e.g. 1 Thess 2:19; 2 Tim 2:5; 4:8).

It’s so important to get this right.  We are saved into Jesus’ Kingdom because of his good works and not ours.  Yet that doesn’t mean that Jesus won’t publically give honor and praise to those who have served Him.

Jesus will on the last day public honor all those who have loved and served others in his name.  All ministry, spectacular and unspectacular, large and small, whether we have received thanks and praise for it in this life or not – will be on display on that day.  All of the creation will see what was done and will agree with Jesus when he look at you and says

“Well done good and faithful servant!”

Luther Symons

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