2000-05-04 - On the Foundation
The Judgments Series, Part 1
2 Cor 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (NIV)
We are told that it is appointed that all men will taste death. If it is through disease, or age, or at the sound of the trumpet when Jesus calls His children home to Heaven. Exactly how, matters little. In that moment, we will be in His presence (2 Cor 5:8). I will not argue eternal security of salvation for the believer here. My point is to say that once all believers are finally home, there will be a day when we all stand before the Lord. In this instance, the judge is Jesus Christ. The Father would only see the image of Jesus perfected in us if we were to stand before Him. It is Jesus' life given to us that made us fit for Heaven.
We do not stand before the Lord in Heaven for our salvation. That was decided the moment we surrendered our hearts and lives top the Jesus. The basis of our judgment is our life after salvation. The old things, our lives before Jesus salvation, are past away. They are gone by the will of God choosing not to remember. There are many references to crowns that will be awarded to believers: the crown of life, the crown of rejoicing, the crown of righteousness. There are rewards that Jesus wants to give us as His children. We who are parents know what it is like to want to shower your kids with the desires of their hearts. But we know to do so without the right motive would spoil them and cheapen the value of rewards given for excellence in living for Him and loving the things He gives us.
1 Cor 3:11-15 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 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. (NIV)
Upon the foundation of Jesus' gift of salvation to us, we may build with gold, silver or gems - good works, pure hearts and other materials that build a strong structure that will withstand the fire of judgment. Sharing the Lord through our lives and our words, loving the unlovely, reaching out to people in pain are the gold, silver and gems that are being spoken of here. If we build with wood, hay and straw, hiding the light of Christ under a bushel, careless handling of the truths of scripture and the like will be destroyed in an instant like a sheet of paper thrown into a roaring fire. Hiding the light of His life under a bushel by never living out the love that He has given to us will go up in a cloud of smoke. Surely, we will all have some mix of the two, gems and straw. Some may indeed be left with nothing, but their eternity is set and is not in jeopardy.
Jesus made the startling claim to be the way, the truth and the life. He went on to say that there is no other way to come to the Father without coming via Christ Jesus. For those who claim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, there can be no other thought than this. The idea that all roads lead to God does not match up with scripture and is fraught with peril at best. The foundation of this salvation, once established, is never in question. It is given to us by Jesus prepared to survive the fire. Nothing we can do will change that foundation. None of us is perfect, and I can imagine that even the best will suffer some loss. But no believer who walks into the courtroom that day will leave with nothing. We may have nothing of our works left. We may have suffered embarrassment and shame before our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ and before our Lord. But the foundation prepared by the Master will survive and carry us through.
Lord Jesus - we know that we will all be judged by You. You have made that clear. But You have also made it clear that we are not at risk of losing eternity here. Thank you for that assurance. Teach us and help us to live so that others will see the difference made in our lives by Your grace and mercy. Anything we have left after Your review will be only there because of the work You have done in our lives. And those things will be there for us to leave at Your feet in gratitude. Amen.
Grace & Peace,