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 Cor. 5: 10).
This is a troubling verse, one I would prefer to forget about. It conflicts with some of my favorite themes. I might be able to reason it away or narrow its scope through a contextual approach. I could make a relative comparison with other scriptures that don’t address this topic, so as to minimize its truth. If I were an ancient Greek scholar I might use the Greek language to distinguish the meaning somehow. Quite a bit of this stuff goes on, but may we never let our reasoning, guilt, preference, or uncomfortableness lead us to deny the clear truth of scripture.
Yeshua Messiah will sit on the judgment seat designated by the Father. “Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son…”. (John 5: 22). Yeshua taught saying, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matt. 12: 35-37).
Natural reasoning might conclude that we must be good and do good things so that we will have a basis to justify ourselves and be acquitted at the judgment. The Holy Spirit leading points to the path of faith. “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” (Heb. 10: 38). To please God it requires faith. “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’ ” (Rom. 1: 17). Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2: 20).
The Holy Spirit is at work in the child of God through faith being justified and sanctified. Sanctify means being set apart for God’s use and this is accomplished by the Holy Spirit as we submit to His leading and rule. Here is what Paul asked for the Thessalonians, “With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.” (2 Thess. 1: 11). As we follow the prompting of the Spirit, faith works in us according to God’s will. It is God’s work accomplished by faith. (1 Tim. 1: 4). Hebrews chapter 11 is a hall of faith listing those who by faith in God accomplished great works, stood firm against great forces, or prevailed even giving their lives by faith in God’s will. It says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Heb. 11: 6).
Lord, Yeshua let us hold fast to the prompting of Holy Spirit and live by faith in you. With you all things are possible, even saving each believer to the uttermost.