MY DAY IN COURT
Sitting in a courtroom I heard the lawyer called for the witnesses to come forward. I was one of two witnesses to speak on behalf of the man facing criminal charges. He had been in my Bible study for quite sometime before he decided to turn himself in for check fraud. We were told later by the lawyer that she never heard witnesses give such glowing reviews of a defendant. Two of us were present and we brought with us a few letters from people who could not appear. Our collective witness resulted in a considerable decrease in jail time.
The actions of the defendant took place before he gave his heart to Christ. A day is coming when judgment will come upon all humanity. In that day I will be very happy to have Jesus Christ as the One who will speak on my behalf. He will say, I already paid the price for his sins, and because judgment had already fallen upon Him, there will remain no more penalty for my wrongdoing. The last words of Jesus on the cross were, “The price has been paid.”
However, God will not help those who have no advocate on that day. “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.” (Revelation 20:11) In that day another dimension will open for those who will not occupy any place in the new heavens and the new earth created for a people who live in sinless perfection forever and ever.
HANDING OUT REWARDS
There is also a judgment for all believers in Jesus Christ, but in our case, it will not be a judgment upon sin, for there can be no double payment for sin’s penalty; God is fair and righteous. It will, however, be a judgment to hand out rewards. “What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.” (1 Corinthians 3:5-8)
Please notice that the Apostle Paul makes it quite clear that there is labor for which the believer will be rewarded, however, the accomplishment of whatever takes place is the result of what God did. We now live in a world that no matter what happens, be it in entertainment, science, architecture, medicine, war, benevolence, etc. men walk away with the trophy. God is never considered. Not so on that day. It is that kind of omission, however, about a great many things, that brings all men into judgment.
A FINAL WORD
The Apostle continued, “According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:10-15)
At my high school graduation, I sat while others received awards for special achievement, but there were none given to me. All I received was a diploma. The diploma is nice but it’s not an award for special achievement.
When God hands out awards they will be for the quality of a man’s work. Gold, silver, and precious stones will stand the test of fire because they are made of the substance that can endure. Wood, hay, and stubble cannot endure fire but are quickly reduced to ashes. “Only one life, twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” C.T. Studd
Motives and intentions don’t amount to much in our present world. How could they, “Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) There is a universe coming that will reverse the order of things that are important. On that day motives will be everything, accomplishments will be known to be from God, and judgment will be in the past. Will you be there?