For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.2 Corinthians 5:10(NASB)
Paul was reminding the carnal Christians at Corinth to stop behaving like worldly unbelievers and to start living as children of God. They had been saved by grace through faith, and ought to be living godly lives, lives surrendered to the Spirit rather than lives living in the lusts of the flesh.
The reason we are given this reminder in God's Word is because all Church-age believers must appear before the judgement seat of Christ, at the resurrection of the 'dead in Christ' (and the rapture of those that are still alive), and this occurs as the closing event of this dispensation of grace.
This judgement has nothing to do with punishment for sins, for our sins were judged at the Cross. The full and sufficient payment for our sins was made by Christ on our behalf. And the moment we trusted in Him, we were eternally identified with His own perfect righteousness.
Identification with Christ is not the privilege of all. It is only the born-again, Church-age believers who are the Body of Christ, who will appear at the judgement seat of Christ. It is not a judgement for our sin, for our sins were judged at the Cross and full payment was made by Christ on our behalf.
The judgement seat of Christ is that coming event, when Christians will each be rewarded for the things we have done in this life - in our body. The things that were done in the power of the Holy Spirit and for the glory of God will receive a great reward of gold, silver, and precious stones. But the things that were carried out in the flesh, for our own personal gain or prestige - a life that did not fulfil the good work that God prepared for us to do in the body, will suffer loss - eternally saved, but our works burned up as wood, hay, and stubble.
There is no punishment for believers at the judgement seat of Christ, for there is NO condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus, although for those who chose to live carnally in this world, rather than living godly in Christ Jesus, will certainly suffer the loss of their reward.
They will suffer the loss of the reward that God desired to give them. Let us choose to live godly in Christ Jesus from this day forward, for His name's sake. Let us run in such a way that we may win our reward and glorify our Father which is in heaven.
Heavenly Father, knowing that I will one day appear before the judgement seat of Christ, I desire to live a godly life that honours the name of Jesus Who died for me. Help me to live the life that You would have me live so that I may win the prize that You desire to give to all who live godly lives. May the life that I live in this mortal body, glorify Your holy name. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.
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