Saturday, 17 August 2019

The judgement seat of Christ

Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 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. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. – 2 Corinthians 5.9-11

We must all appear before the judgement seat of Chirst that we may receive rewards for what we have done in the flesh, be it good or bad.

Here we have a passage that I still don’t totally understand. I don’t that our sins are not judged here – that was done and dusted when Jesus said ‘it is finished’ and when we put of faith in Him. We are saved, set apart, sanctified, and secure from that moment we accept Christ – He has taken on the judgement for my sin.

So what does it mean when we read ‘we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ?’ What does it mean by rewards both good and bad?

To be honest I am not sure about the details. What I do know though it that somehow we are going to be asked to give an account for how we have lived in Christ. What have we done for Jesus after all He has done for us?

No matter the details, the fact that our actions will be judged ought to motivate us to do all we can to honour Christ in this life.

Thank God that our eternity is secure. But let us strive to live lives now that honour Him and just Him with the details of the rewarding.

Friday, 16 August 2019

Absent from the body

For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. – 2 Corinthians 5.1-8

I first heard this passage in a Bible study in someone’s house when I was still living at home. It must have been about 1974. The basic idea still sticks in my mind after all these years.

Paul spends and extended time here talking about the reality that what we have here is not the end of the story. The ‘tabernacle’ we dwell in here is a temporary dwelling place. It is not a home of permanence. It is like living in a tent.

While we are in this present Tabernacle we may very well groan for better. In fact, as the years roll by I find myself groaning just about everytime I have to get up of a chair or out of the car. Our tents are wearing out.

While we are here we can’t see Christ – we walk by faith and not by sight. He is here, but we don’t sense his presence.

But one day – one glorious day, we will put off this tabernacle and be with Him face to face. To be absent from the body is to be presetn with the Lord. Then it will be worth it all when we see Jesus.

So let’s just hold on till that glorious day.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Eternal

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4.16-18

The last part of this verse is something that I think about all the time. It tells us to not look at the things we can see, but to look at the things we cannot see.

That’s one of those strange parts of serving Christ. Look at what you can’t see sounds like an impossibility doesn’t it. How can I look at what I can’t see?

The truth is that as Christians we live in two worlds. We live in this world, the problem with that is that this world is so stinking visible. We can’t avoid it. It is there right in front of our eyes from the time we get up in the morning to the time we go to bed at night. It demands our attention literally all the time.

We also live in the invisible kingdom of God. We can’t see it with natural eyes. We have to look to it. We have to focus on it. We have to choose to set our affection on it. We have to choose to look to Jesus, the Author and the Finisher of our faith.

The difference between the two is vital for us to grasp. One, the visible world, it temporary and fleeting. The other, the invisible, is eternal. At the best I can only hope for another 25-30 years on this earth. That ought to make me more aware than ever of the invisible world. I ought to be treasuring it more. The world, and everything in it, is passing away. My investment now needs to be on the eternal. Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Sure, I still need to live in today. I have to feed and clothe and house myself, but my focus must be on the ever approaching eternity down the road.

Where is my focus today?

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Looking at the invisible

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4.16-18

Don’t lose heart – that’s Paul advice to the Corinthians.

‘Yeah right,’ might be there response, and ours, if we are not careful. ‘How do I not lose heart in the real world?’ ‘Things are tough. Sometimes stuff we go through may seem unbearable – how do I not lose heart?’ Our heartward man is perishing.

What we must keep in mind is that this affliction that we are going through is just for a moment when it comes to eternity. What we are going through can indeed be tough. It is so easy to see that because it is so obvious. It is front of us every day.

The eternal things are hard to see because we have to choose to look at them. We have to choose to spend time in God’s word. We have to choose to set our affections on things above, not on things here on earth.

I guess the best picture of this is Peter walking on the water. As long as he kept his eyes on Jesus he was fine. He got in trouble when he focused on the storms. We are told in Hebrews that we we run the race that we are given we need to be looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.

It will indeed be worth it all when we see Christ.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Renewed



Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4.16-18

This is a very timely passage. Just last week I saw a video by Joni Erickson Tada celebrating the 52 anniversary of a diving accident that made her a quadriplegic. Her story is amazing and well worth following up by reading her biography of just googlin the story of her life. Her story has always interested me because she broke her neck almost exactly how I broke mine with damage to the same area of her neck.

Joni chooses this time to celebrate what God has allowed her to do since. She, more than most of us, understands the phrase ‘our outward man is perishing.’ Her injury and subsequent paralysis has taken a tremendous toll on her body. On top of that she has had a couple of bouts with cancer. Her video describes her perishing out self.

What she chooses to focus on though is that her inner self is being renewed day by day by day. As we age and our bodies start to break and wear out there is no excuse for our spiritual lives to fail. This is the time for us to press on to greater and greater things in our spiritual lives. God will keep renewing our inner selves as we depend more and more on Him and less and less on our flesh.

May I dedicate myself to the renewal of my inner man day by day.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Grace and thanksgiving

And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. – 2 Corinthians 4.13-15

It is hard to understand troubles and trials. Most of the time they make no sense to us. One of the things that can keep us going through them though is this special knowledge that God who raised Jesus from the dead on day will raise us and present us to God.

Trials in this broken world are just part of a broken world. They are something that just comes from living here. We don’t escape them just because we are God’s children. Life is just tough sometimes.

We can be confident though that we will have God’s grace to get through the fight. God’s grace saved us, God’s grace will take us to heaven, and God’s grace will carry us through our current afflictions.

So God is due our thanksgiving. This broken world is always going be broken. We are not going to fix it no matter how much we try through earthly means. But we have God’s grace to see us through. Thank God that we have that grace as we look forward to better days ahead.

At the root of all this is the spirit of faith, trusting God to do as He says.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Knocked down, but...

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. – 2 Corinthians 4.8-10

From my earlier years I remember a professional (read fake) wrestler named Hulk Hogan. He was exciting and fans either loved him or hated him.  The thing I remember the most was when he was almost beaten. He’d be on the mat, somehow he’d throw his opponent off, make his way to his feet. He’d rip his shirt off and glare at his opponent. The other guy would try everything but Hulk would just glare. Finally Hulk would go on a rampage and quickly pin the other guy and win the bout.

Knocked down, but not knocked out.

That’s where Paul and his team found themselves. Hard pressed, crushed, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down – but not defeated because they were happy to bear the body of Christ.

If anyone has really tried to fully serve the Lord you know what it feels like to be where Paul is. It seems like you just can’t go on. You’re on the mat and the count is about done.

But we need not quit. We have the power to allow God to lift us up and put us back in the fight.

Why? Well, Hulk had one purpose. The script was written to glorify him. In that we differ, he pick up and go on so that Christ might be seen in us.

Beaten up. Ready to quit. Tired.

Sure, but that’s the time to walk in God’s strength. Seeing we have a ministry. Seeing we have God’s mercy. We do not lose heart.