2 Corinthians 5:10: 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.
“For we.” “We” is every christian. (The unsaved will have to appear before the “great white throne” judgment of Revelation 20:12. Sad.)
“For we must.” We must appear. You and I will be there.
“The judgment seat of Christ.” We will be judged by The Judge. Judgment will be accurate and just. “There is no partiality with God.”
“We may receive.” Receive rewards earned by obedience.
“The things done in the body.” This includes our actions and intentions and motives. Obviously, someone is keeping records.
“According to.” Possibly this will be your first exact “according to”. Down here nothing works perfectly; everything is “according to” plus or minus. But up there everything works well. (At the “great white throne” judgment they will also get their exact “according to”. “The dead were judged according to their works.” Sad.)
“Whether good or bad.” We have all done good, and we have all done bad. We have been both smart and dumb, generous and stingy, humble and proud, faithful and unfaithful, diligent and lazy.
1 Corinthians 3:8: Each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
There is that “according to” again.
Matthew 9:29: According to your faith let it be to you.
Your faith down here is determining the value of your eternal future. “Those placing themselves under the lordship of Christ and His Holy Spirit” do so by faith, childlike trust in their Creator and Redeemer.
“According to your faith.” Because one has more faith than another, one will receive greater rewards than another. It really is quite simple.
2 Corinthians 5:9: Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.
Those “well pleasing to Him” have nothing to dread. Perhaps they will hear those words we should all ache to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things.”
Christians “well pleasing to him” are those “placing themselves under the lordship of Christ and His Holy Spirit”. Who else could they be?
2 Corinthians 5:10 (NLT): We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done.
Do you remember Jesus admonishing us, “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven”? Those treasures will be revealed at this time. You will know, exactly, the value of your “treasures”, which will be more than some and less than others.
And do you remember Lord Jesus admonishing us, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth”? Temporary treasures on earth cost eternal treasures in heaven.
1 Corinthians 3:11-13 (NLT): For no one can lay any other foundation than the one we already have – Jesus Christ. Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials – gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value.
Perhaps, just perhaps, judgment day will look something like this….
Perhaps all your activities on earth will somehow be transformed into six materials – “gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw”. It’s all there in a large pile in front of you. And here comes The Judge.
The Judge isn’t stern, but He isn’t smiling either. Like all judges, He is grave.
In His hand is a torch. He approaches you and the pile of six building materials set before you. You are nervous. You are very nervous. You can’t see the gold and silver and jewels, if any, because they are covered with wood and hay and straw.
He touches your (christian) life’s collection with the torch, and the fire begins. Lots of stinky smoke from all that wood and all that hay and all that straw spews upward from the fire. Your eyes strain through smoke and fire, desperate to see if anything survives the test. Will there be noncombustible gold and silver and jewels? And if so, how much?
Yes, how much?
1 Corinthians 3:14 (NLT): If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward.
There are no ashes when the fuel is exhausted, and your good works in the form of gold and silver and jewels are now bare for all to see. The value of your eternity is revealed.
Here’s where “according to” comes into effect. The more that survives the test, the bigger the reward. Keep in mind these rewards are eternal, perhaps indicative of rank.
1 Corinthians 3:15 (NLT): But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss.
Probably every christian suffers loss. Only “the Man Christ Jesus” built perfectly. Some builders will suffer extreme loss, while others will be highly rewarded. It’s all about “according to”.
There will be great rejoicing and great sorrow at the judgment seat of Christ. What percentage will be rejoicing, and what percentage will be sorrowing? The answer is all around us: What percentage, here and now, are laying up “treasures in heaven”, and what percentage are laying up “treasures on earth”?
“Only those placing themselves under the lordship of Christ and His Holy Spirit will be rejoicing at the judgment seat of Christ.”