“Therefore, we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body, we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 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: 6-10
I reflected on this text in my time alone with God one day this week. I find this verse to give me great direction and purpose in life. When I look at these verses, I find them encouraging. Some struggle with aspects of this verse.
1. We should make it our aim to please God.
I love this! My goal is not to please men. My goal is not satisfying me. My goal is to please God. I desire to please him as any child desires to please their loving parent. Now I do believe if I please God, I will have a significant positive impact on others (love your neighbor). When I please God, I will find the deepest longing of my soul to be satisfied.
2. The question: How do we please God?
The text tells us, “we live by faith.” Many might read the text and think they have to earn God’s love. That is not the point of the text. We have God’s love. Faith is placing our full weight on God. We now must learn what it means to follow Jesus. Many synonyms in English help us understand faith, trust, belief, confidence; these are all helpful. The Bible does better; it gives us examples. Just look at a list of those examples in Hebrews 12. Or just read the Gospels and Acts. Watch the disciples move from confused at the crucifixion to confident at the resurrection.
3. The judgement seat of Christ will honor those who walked by faith.
However, it also says we all will receive whatever is due based on our good or bad works on earth. If you look at the whole of Scripture it becomes clear, God rewards those who walk by faith. If you look at Jesus’ parables, it is clearly good stewards who will receive a commendation at the return of the King. What about bad stewards. From Romans 8:1, we understand they will not be condemned (see Romans 8:1). What will they experience? Let me suggest two things. First, a rebuke from their Lord. We struggle with his idea. Many have said it will only be a time of reward but it seems we are ready theology into the text to come to that conclusion. We will understand the foolishness of not living to honor Him. However, any remorse will be overwhelmed in a moment with worship. They will have a deeper appreciation of God’s grace. The moment they see his glory and realize their inadequacy, they will appreciate the statement, “In Christ, there is no condemnation.” Let this be a reminder we seek to please him because he has loved us, and we experience his grace.
My purpose today is to respond to the grace I have received in Jesus Christ and live in a way that pleases God.