Thought for Thursday

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

Early in January, all of us in our work group were given appointments for our job evaluations. One by one, we met with the supervisor, who went over our work history, discussed our weaknesses and strengths, discussed some of the areas where we might try to improve, and were told how much of a raise in pay we were to receive. I doubt that anybody really enjoys such evaluations, but it is very much a part of what many companies do to improve the productivity of their work force. The idea is that the workers will do a better job in the coming year than they did in the previous year. But that’s not the thought behind the evaluation mentioned in today’s text. The Judgment Seat of Christ is a wrapup evaluation of each Christian’s life, a final tally of reward won or lost.

Job evaluations can often be very incomplete. Good things can be overlooked, and misbehaviour can often be ignored or undetected. But there is nothing incomplete about the Bema of Christ. Every idle word must be accounted for, and every cup of cold water must be accorded its reward. There is that about the Judgment Seat of Christ that should frighten us, as we think about the things we left undone and the things we should not have done. There is that about the Judgment Seat of Christ that should thrill us, as we think about the those things that we were obedient in and the ways in which we delighted to please our Lord. All in all, this is a very solemn occasion, and a reminder that this event is drawing near should have an impact on the life we live while we are still in the body.

One of the unfair things about job evaluations is that some folks are always exempt or they are given pretty much a free ride because of their close friendship with the job evaluator. No such unfair situations arise at the Bema, because we must all appear there. And the Evaluator is none other than the Lord Jesus. Nobody gets an inside edge on the rewards because of who they know, and nobody has any shelter from wrongdoing and sloth. One big question is whether our appearance at the Bema is a private audience or a public one. We would certainly like to have the bad things hidden from everybody. And it would be nice to have the good things addressed with lots of folks looking on. I can’t say exactly how it will be, but either way, we should be prepared to have our deeds assessed in the way that the Judge deems right. And that should have a sobering effect on how we live for our Lord.

The certainty of our coming appearance at the Judgment Seat of Christ has been given to us as an incentive to live a holy God-fearing life. The Lord Jesus wants us to have a good evaluation. – Jim MacIntosh

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