The Daily Word of Righteousness

Judgment and Rewards, #24

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. (I Timothy 6:12)

In the Scriptures we have both the Divine pardon through Jesus' blood and also the running of the race, the fighting of the conflict of the ages, the overcoming of every power that would prevent our gaining complete union with Jesus. Our present essay on judgment and rewards is emphasizing the running of the race for the prize, while not minimizing the marvelous glory of the grand Divine pardon.

The true concept of redemption is that we are pardoned in order to run the Christian race. We are forgiven that we may fight the good fight of faith, that we may gain total victory over sin.

It is not God's intention that we continue as forgiven sinners. He has "created [us] in Christ unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10).

Believing that Jesus of Nazareth is Christ, the Messiah, is not all there is to being a Christian. Receiving Christ gives us the authority to be a child of God. Now we must turn our attention to maturing into a son of God.

The belief that the Judgment Seat of Christ includes nothing but glory and praise for the Christian has arisen because the Divine pardon has been emphasized to the exclusion of running the race. Cross-carrying obedience to the Master often is viewed as a desirable but not critically important act— at least not critically important in the sense of seriously affecting the welfare of the believer when he or she stands before the Judgment Seat of Christ.

Do the Scriptures support such lighthearted confidence? Have we paid attention to the Scripture that emphasizes the unconditional Divine pardon and then ignored the numerous passages that emphasize the running of the race, the stern, totally demanding requirements of Christian discipleship?

The Scriptures stand eternally as written. It is the victorious saint, the conqueror in Christ, who will not be hurt by the second death, which is the Lake of Fire. Christians who allow themselves to be overcome by Satan, by the world, or by their own lusts and self-will, are carrying about in their personalities various works and attitudes that will not be able to survive the Presence of the Lord.

The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; (Isaiah 33:14,15)

Such passages as the above have been removed from Christian thinking, as though faith in the Lord Jesus somehow supersedes them. This is a terribly destructive error. To change such Old Testament passages would be to alter what God Is—and that never shall happen!

To be continued.