My last few articles have focused on the truth that all believers have Eternal Life right now. This is clearly stated in I John 5:13. The church is making the mistake of not proclaiming this as it should to its congregates. This present article is only for those of you who believe what the Word says instead of the deception and manipulation given by some on Sunday mornings. In addition, this important article will expound on what to do with Eternal Life and how to live with Eternal Life.
One of the most misinterpreted passages of scripture is 2 Corinthians 5:1-5. The key truth in that passage is every believer is to make it their aim, or purpose, or goal in everyday life, to be well pleasing to the Lord. Jesus Christ died for us so we can truly live again, not when we get to heaven but while we are still here on earth. Because of what Christ has done for us, we are to no longer live for ourselves, but we are to live explicitly for Christ.
I Corinthians 5:10 tells us why we are to live a certain way, particularly when you know you have Eternal Life now. The text says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in His Body, according to that he has done, whether it be good or bad.” The word “appear” in the verse means “be revealed.” The word bad in the verse means “worthless”.
Every believer will one day stand before Jesus Christ to be revealed as to the work they have done for Christ. That work will be judged as to whether is was good or worthless. Jesus will not judge you for the purpose of condemning you, because there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. But he will judge you to bless you with rewards called crowns.
At some point, all believers in heaven will congregate at the judgment seat of Christ to be judged in this way. You and I will stand before Him alone, while all other believers will be watching you and waiting their turn. You will be standing there alone, not with your spouse, friends, prayer partner or even pastor. This helps to explain why Romans 14:10-12 ask the question, “…why dost thou judge thy brother? Or why dost thou despise thy brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ…to given an account of ourself to God.”
We as believers must be careful in everything we say, do or think. I Corinthians 3:13-15 tells us clearly, that every person’s work or works will be revealed and if anyone’s work or works can withstand Christ’s judgment, (fire) that person will receive a reward. Your works that are burned by the judgment of Christ will be deemed worthless and you will lose a reward, primarily a crown. But notice here in this passage, you can lose a reward/crown, but you can never lose your salvation.
Colossians 3:1-4 makes it perfectly clear, now that you have Eternal Life/Born Again, you are to seek those things above and to set your mind, (affections) on things above. Far too many of us are seeking things on earth more than things above. We are seeking career paths, making money, the right education from the right school, the right spouse, car, house, retirement plans, vacation and etc. None of the things I just mention are wrong in themselves, but they can be wrong if they become more of a priority than the things of Jesus Christ. and being well pleasing to Christ. That is the whole purpose of Jesus words in Matthew 6:33 when He said, “But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things, will be added unto you! Remember the word also says, “Whatsoever you do, do it unto the Lord and not unto men.”
When you and I stand before Jesus at His judgment seat, we will not be allowed to talk to Him about how many degrees we have or the good grades we earned in school. We will not be able to talk to Him about our promotions and career achievements. We will not be able to talk to him about our material possessions. People on earth may be impressed with the kind of car you drive or the house you live in. People on earth may be impressed with the things you were able to buy with your money. People on earth may be impressed with your knowledge of sports, politics, legal issues or even people. People on earth may be even impressed with the number of times you were able to take a cruise, take a trip, go to Vegas, go overseas, or like me, go see the Dallas Cowboys. But when we stand before Jesus, none of that will impress Him! He will only be concerned about, and He will only talk to us about, the things we have done, as it relates to the things above, which are outlined throughout the Word of God.
What does all of this mean? When we all, as individuals, stand before Christ, He will judge us to see if we are worthy to receive a crown from Him. Each crown represents the glory of God. We must rightly divide the Word of God to ascertain the crowns outlined in His Word. For example, we receive a crown every time we do something to help somebody. But we can lose that crown when we brag about helping someone or when we expect something in return from the person we helped. We receive a crown every time we give God a sacrifice of praise. I am not talking about the praise we give in church because the choir is singing good or because you are intimidated to give a praise because someone says, “Give God a praise.” I am talking about the praise you give God when you don’t feel like it or when all hell is breaking all around you. The Bible says even children earn crowns every time they submit to their parents, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.
There are also Crowns of Glory for faithfulness. You can earn a Crown of Glory for being faithful in attending Worship Services and Bible Study at your local church. There are Crowns of Glory for faithfully giving tithes to God. But the key is having the mindset that you are giving tithes to God and not just to the church. There are Crowns of Glory for faithfully giving offerings to God as long as your offering is what you are able to give and the offering cannot be a tip. You can lose a crown if your tithe is not truly 10 percent of your income and you can lose a crown if your offering is less than what you are able to give. Jesus will call all deceptive giving as worthless! The Bible says everything you give to a preacher, even a drink a water, is worthy of a crown and these crowns will never be taken away. I could go on and on, because the Bible has thousands of earnable crowns outlined in God’s Word.
Why is all of this so important? I John 2:28 says, “Now little children, abide in Him; that when He shall appear, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” I don’t know about you, but I do not want to be ashamed when I stand before Christ and I want to be confident before I stand before Him, that I have done things worthy of receiving crowns from my Lord and Savior.
In addition, I want to hear Him say to me as outlined in Matthew 25:21, “Well done thou good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of the Lord.” Now that we know, we have Eternal Life, we should take that truth to motivate us to work for the Lord in order to experience that unspeakable joy when we stand before Him.
When all is said and done, according to the Book of Revelation, all of our crowns will be cast before the Throne of God as expressions of His glory. And we will be able to say to Him, “Thou art worthy, O Lord to receive glory and honor and power, for You have created all things and for Your pleasure they are and were created!”
Gilbert Owens is a native of Roseboro and a columnist for The Sampson Independent.