…to keep to myself.
Once again I find myself going into some uncharted territory, although I touched on this in This is How Much He Loves You. A good friend of mine had gone to see a speaker and she was telling me about a video that they watched. As she was describing it to me she also was having a conflict for what she knows as truth and the message. Here is the gist of it:
Fade in to Judgement Day and Christians are being judged: one man an accountant was supposed to be a pastor but didn’t do that, another man was a pastor and was supposed to be a pastor both fell short of what they were supposed to do. Then a woman comes up and says all I did was be a mom and that was exactly what she was supposed to do (that was the good part or redeeming part of the video for her and me).
I have found in my 20+ year walk with the Lord this is a resounding theme within the church building belief system. Let me explain: At the end we will be judged, even Christians, for what we did or didn’t do and our reward will be dependent upon what we did or didn’t do right according to what God has called us to do, like the story above. What this has created is something not very healthy. Many times it has led to spiritual abuse within the church. See people, Christians, are so fear laden they can become frozen, unable to choose or they become puppets and can become used by those in power (yep…take a look at history or even present day people who have been abused by power). I have many times had young people, or just people so afraid of making a choice until they hear from God. Both choices were great….but which one should they make…they want to make sure they choose right….and many times God is simply stating you choose I have blessed both. God never intended us to be robots…He intended us to be Sons and Daughters of His.
So I went looking for where this belief system came from and I found some interesting info–
First, we must start with the right starting point. We must see God for Who He is. This is why Jesus said repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is near (Matt 4:17). It was time for the people to change the way they saw God. See It is Time to Let Go of the Rules-Otherwise Known as the Law. When Jesus came to walk the earth it was time for God’s people to understand they would go from being servants (law) to Sons and Daughters (grace) by not what they did but what Christ came to do for them.
Second, the scripture used to make this point about Christ judging His own body is seen through the wrong starting point; thus making it look one way when it isn’t. One of the scriptures I found that is used to support this thinking is from Romans 14:10-12 (others are 1 For 3:12-15 and 2 For 5:9-10):
“You then, why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For all of us will stand before God’s judgment seat; since it is written in the Tanakh, “As I live, says ADONAI, every knee will bend before me, and every tongue will publicly acknowledge God.” So then, every one of us will have to give an account of himself to God.” Romans 14:10-12 CJB
Some will use gold, silver or precious stones in building on this foundation; while others will use wood, grass or straw. But each one’s work will be shown for what it is; the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire — the fire will test the quality of each one’s work. If the work someone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward; if it is burned up, he will have to bear the loss: he will still escape with his life, but it will be like escaping through a fire. 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 CJB
Therefore, whether at home or away from home, we try our utmost to please him; for we must all appear before the Messiah’s court of judgment, where everyone will receive the good or bad consequences of what he did while he was in the body. 2 Corinthians 5:9-10 CJB
Let’s dig into each of these scriptures in order:
All will stand before God’s judgment seat because every knee will bend before God and every tongue will publicly acknowledge God. It would be really, really wise to read the entire chapter….even the chapter before and after to get an understanding of the subject that is being spoken of. The subject at the top of this chapter is TRUST. Specifically speaking about a person whose trust is weak. We are not to judge the weakness of his trust but whether or not he has trust (read all of Romans 14 and 15). At God’s judgment seat ALL (Christians and Non-Christians; living and dead) will publicly acknowledge God. The next statement is that every one of us will have to give an account of himself to God. The word account here is actually LOGOS in Greek. WOW! Let’s look at this closer in the Greek:
3056 lógos (from 3004 /légō, “speaking to a conclusion”) – a word, being the expression of a thought; a saying. 3056 /lógos (“word”) is preeminently used of Christ (Jn 1:1), expressing the thoughts of the Father through the Spirit.
[3056 (lógos) is a common term (used 330 times in the NT) with regards to a person sharing a message (discourse, “communication-speech”). 3056 (lógos) is a broad term meaning “reasoning expressed by words.”]
‘logon’ in Romans 14:12=answer or explanation in reference to judgment.
As we look at the entirety of Romans 14 we must take note that the answer to this judgement for believers in Christ would be I believed that Christ took all my judgement which simply means I trusted Him.
Next, is the scripture in 1 Corinthians 3. Here Paul is trying to help the people understand the difference about living in the world versus living in the kingdom. Paul is very clear that he has laid the foundation. The foundation is TRUST. Simple trust in Who Jesus is and what that brings. I have talked about this in Fingerpainting to Masterpieces. Paul is teaching how, as believers, we have died to our old selves and are a new creation made to exist within the kingdom although we are still living here on earth. Paul is encouraging people to remain kingdom minded and showing or explaining to them how they are not. He talks of behavior that shows they are not like jealousy and quarreling that have no “value” in the kingdom. Let me put a thought forward here: see when we go to judgement day the foundation is trust in Jesus. On that foundation we will have built things some gold, jewels and others straw, grass. In the fire the gold and jewels will withstand (kingdom) while straw and grass (earth) will not. People who have lived more connected to the earth and their old nature will escape the fire but feel a profound loss of their “things” that they felt attached to:house, car, etc. Those though that built with gold and jewels will not feel a profound loss at all. These are things you can’t take with you but have a lasting impact on others: like time spent with others, love shown, food given, help given…these are kingdom minded. Is this making sense? I hope so. It is not so much did I do the right thing to not be judged. It is more the sense of loss of “things” of the world if that is what you felt is most important. Now I am not saying things aren’t important it is where is your focus? Kingdom or world. And this is done through trust first…like I talked about in Cart Before the Horse?
Last but not least, is the scripture from 2 Corinthians 5:9-10. This sounds pretty damning. I don’t know about you but right there I would give up as a believer. I could never perform well enough to not receive some pretty bad consequences. How about you? It feels hopeless to me if we stop short of reading a little further in the chapter. What is being talked about in this chapter? One thing I have stopped doing is reading or taking scripture out of context because what happens for me is hopelessness and a wrong picture of Who God is. So let’s go into verse 11: So it is with the fear of the Lord before us that we try to persuade people. What are we trying to persuade people of??
To trust in the Messiah Yeshua
and be saved from the bad consequences as we have been.
Or maybe it is better said by Paul in the end of this chapter:
For the Messiah’s love has hold of us, because we are convinced that one man died on behalf of all mankind (which implies that all mankind was already dead), and that he died on behalf of all in order that those who live should not live any longer for themselves but for the one who on their behalf died and was raised. So from now on, we do not look at anyone from a worldly viewpoint. Even if we once regarded the Messiah from a worldly viewpoint, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is united with the Messiah, he is a new creation — the old has passed; look, what has come is fresh and new! And it is all from God, who through the Messiah has reconciled us to himself and has given us the work of that reconciliation, which is that God in the Messiah was reconciling mankind to himself, not counting their sins against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore we are ambassadors of the Messiah; in effect, God is making his appeal through us. What we do is appeal on behalf of the Messiah, “Be reconciled to God! God made this sinless man be a sin offering on our behalf, so that in union with him we might fully share in God’s righteousness.” 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 CJB
Can it get any better than that? NO!!! Hope arise, people of God!!
One of the things, as Believers, we must remember is that we have already been judged on the Body of Jesus Christ while He willingly put Himself on the Cross to take all of our judgment from the Father. He completely undid what the first Adam did and gives us the free will choice to take His free gift He has already paid for. As we trust in Who He is we begin to become who we are in Him from the inside out. He does His work as we trust in Him. We naturally walk in who we are. Not always perfectly but He understands that and has already made amends for it. Let’s become kingdom minded not self minded. Self minded (I have to fix myself because God needs me to and I need myself to so that I will be loved by him is worldly thinking). As we live kingdom minded we know that we know that we know that the King has justified me so He will never judge me. (Romans 4:5)
Whether you are an accountant, pastor, mom or whatever…..that doesn’t so much matter. I think the emphasis has gone into what is my calling, what am I supposed to do??? With so much fear and trepidation about simply making a choice and doing the best you can at it all the while living in the kingdom. God is not going to judge you on whether or not you had the correct title. He is going to test with fire (grass or jewels) why you did those things….the heart intent and you will fully see when He does at judgment day. I know many people who are pastors in the workforce (like an accountant) and many pastors that are wolves in sheep clothing. We need to understand we live from the inside out. You live where your level of trust is. God knows where your trust is and He grows it. Just trust Him. The kingdom is kindness, compassion, love, tenderness, patience all the while persuading people of what Jesus’ has done for them. We, as Christians live in two worlds here. One is the world (tied to earthly concerns like what am I going to eat, wear) all the while we fully live in the kingdom (knowing that we are taken care of and are about kingdom: persuading people of what Jesus did for them). It is not rocket science; it is simply living from the inside out with eyes wide open.