Tuesday, 11 August 2015
Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences. 2 Corinthians 5:11
In the previous verse Paul noted that all believers will “appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” This is judgment for the saved, not the lost. Understanding this, the word phobos which is translated here as “terror” is not what Paul is conveying.
Rather, the word should be rendered as “fear.” Phobos “is commonly used in Scripture – sometimes positively (in relation to God) but more often negatively of withdrawing from the Lord (His will)” (HELPS Word Studies). Christians, knowing that their judgment lies ahead, are to have a reverential fear and awe at the strictness by which they will be judged. However, “terror” is not a part of this judgment. In Christ, there is no condemnation.
With that in mind, we should each know that we will, in fact, be judged according to what we have done and we should be therefore be on guard to act in a right and proper manner at all times. It is because of this coming judgment that Paul and the other apostles “persuade men.” It was their desire that those who had called on Christ not let their guard down as if there were no judgment at all coming upon them.
And this lesson needs to be conveyed now by all who preach and teach the word. In many ways, the Christian world has come to believe that “getting saved” means that judgment is behind us and all is peachy between us and the Lord. Concerning salvation or condemnation that is true, but that is not the end of matter.
To finish this thought, he writes that “we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.” Paul is not telling the Corinthians anything which contradicts their own status as apostles. They are not “saying one thing and doing another.” Rather, what they have been imploring in others, they have lived out among themselves. This is confirmed by his words from the previous chapter –
“But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” 2 Corinthians 4:2
Life application: Getting saved is not the end of our responsibilities before the Lord. Rather, it is the beginning. We will all be judged when we stand before Him, and that judgment will be based on our adherence to His word (our instruction manual) from the time that we were saved. Are the losses of eternal rewards worth ignoring His guidelines?
Heavenly Father, I have noticed that fellow believers often assume that once they are saved their judgment is behind them. I would pray for anyone who feels this way to reflect on what Your word says. Getting saved isn’t the end of our responsibilities to Christ, it is the beginning. Eternity is a long time and our judgment for rewards will be based on our Christian walk now. Help me to relay this to others so that they will receive reward and not loss on that great Day. Amen.