by Dave Hintz
Christians can rejoice that all of their sins have been forgiven past, present, and future. Christ’s wonderful work on the cross has covered their shame and provides full freedom to live their lives without dread of condemnation (Rom 8:1). This emphasis of grace and reconciliation undoubtedly edifies the believer as he has the eternal hope and confidence of an eternity with Christ. Final judgement will not rain on his eternal celebration in Heaven. Yet, this appealing doctrine should not cloud the other reality of the believers’ judgement. At some point in time in the future, believers will stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ and give an account for their deeds of service for the Kingdom. At some point in time, all Christians will lay their works done in Christian service before the King for examination. Some will have works which stand the fires of judgment while others believers will have to watch their life work go up in smoke, though they themselves will be saved (1 Corinthians 3:15). In both cases, one important facet is assumed, both the individuals who are rewarded for their labor and those who are not have some semblance of “works” to present to Christ. Christ does not test the quantity of each man’s work, to see if he has some, but rather the quality of his Christian service. Some individuals have labored for the Lord with selfish motivations, faulty doctrine, gross underachievement, and the like. Though they served in Children’s church and staffed man church camps, their slothful ministry has produced no significant results. Others, labor diligently with the gifts given to them, base their ministry upon the Bible, serve the Lord in the power of the Holy Spirit and consequently produce a vibrant ministry whose fruits last well beyond their lifetime. Both of these Christians receive eternal life, yet only one of them gets the reward. The reward is not based upon individual acts, as much as the sum total of their life (II Cor. 5:10). A lifetime of faithful service, not individual acts will be the criterion by which God will bestow eternal reward, whatever it may be.