“Therefore, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to be pleasing to him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (CSB- Read the chapter)
At the end of the last post I started talking about what we do in light of the fact that we have this assurance of life after death as followers of Jesus. Paul goes there next too.
When talking more specifically about the end of his life with the Philippian believers, Paul said that for him, to live is Christ and to die is gain. As long as he was going to be on this earth, he would receive the gift of life Jesus was giving him. But, in dying he was going to go be with Jesus even more directly than he was alive which was a net gain. I’d like to think he had this idea in mind while he was writing that.
If we have Jesus in our hearts now and we will be with Jesus, first in a spiritual state and then fully once we receive our resurrection bodies after our physical death here on earth, we’d better live like it. We’d better live in such a manner that pleases Him no matter which state we happen to be in at the moment.
As for why, Paul is as clear as he could be: judgment is coming. There will be a time when we are held to account for everything we have done in this life. All of it. The good, yes, but also the evil. Every single thought, word, and deed will be recalled and we will be made to answer for it. If you’re at all like me, that thought should make you at least a little nervous.
But don’t Christians have the assurance of life in the face of this judgment? Isn’t that the whole point of our relationship with Jesus? Doesn’t it give us the confidence that we will make it through this judgment to receive the life waiting for us on the other side? Of course it does, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t still going to be judged. We will be judged and the only hope we have is Jesus.
God will hold up our list of good and bad and the bad is going to far outweigh the good. It won’t even be close. We are not good enough on our own to receive the prize of life. But then, just as it become clear what our fate should be, Jesus will step in between us and the Father and say, “No, this one is mine. I’ve already paid her price. She gets to share in My life.”
Here’s the thing, though, we dare not assume on this. You see that, right? If we assume on this and we’re wrong, we lose and lose badly. This is why we strive so hard to live lives that are pleasing to Him all the time. We live like we are going to be judged apart from Christ, hoping in the covering He promised us. If nothing else, we strive for righteousness as an act of gratitude for the hope He’s given us.
In short, since we have this assurance of life after death and grace in the face of judgment, we live like we don’t and it does depend on us. We follow Christ’s example as closely as possible. We pursue righteousness at every opportunity. We make sure the fruits of the Spirit are rich and sweet in our lives. We hold to the various spiritual disciplines with intentionality and vigor. We live like Jesus. Let’s get going.