Ignoring the Inevitable
Recently I have been pondering the next critical events that are already pre planned for all believers. The one we are aware of and most freely discuss is the “meeting in the air.” (1 Thessalonians 4:17)
But what major event occurs next once we are “with the Lord?” We are pressed to remember it and slow to consider how essential it is. I can limit your time of guessing what it is by giving you one clue, namely “bema” (I will guess that it has been so long since you contemplated it that you have forgotten what it means. The “bema” was a platform where judges sat to observe the athletes during competition. Their job was to assure that athletes followed the rules and to present awards to victors. It was not for the purpose of reprimanding or punishing. The apostle Paul had this in mind in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 in addition to our main passage in 2 Corinthians 5:10 where Bema is translated as “judgment seat” and in particular the judgment seat of Christ. Keep in mind that our sin has already been judged on the cross. This is the time for awards (2 Timothy 2:5; 4:8; James 1:12; 1 Peter 5:4; Revelation 2:10; 22:12) based on the “quality of each one’s work” (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).
Here is an interesting thought that emerged from my musing. We delight in the promise that in heaven there will be no more tears (Revelation 21:4) however, the timing of that is after the establishment of a new heaven and earth. So back to the judgment of our works. There we stand as the Lord brings before us all of our deeds. Could it bring tears from us because of how little of our earthly activity was worthy of commendation? Again, the measure is not on the quantity but on the quality. I cringe at such thoughts that come to my mind realizing I will be in the presence of the one who said “come, follow me” as He intends to award for faithfulness to Him. The good news is that there is time to do something about it.
The next major event for all believers is total rejoicing at a huge feast. It is introduced to us in Revelation 19:7-9. We know it as the marriage supper of the Lamb. The passage informs us that “His bride has made herself ready.” She has clothed herself in fine linen which is the “righteous acts of the saints.” So what is determined to be a righteous act? I’m suspicious that it is the same things for which we will be awarded for at the judgment seat. We are presently preparing for that wonderful occasion when we will be with the saints of the ages. Imagine rejoicing with your spiritual heroes throughout history. More importantly, imagine the total intimacy with the bridegroom. Today are we preparing for that precious occasion, or are we just anticipating receiving from the groom rather than giving a lifetime of righteous acts to Him?
How dare we ignore these Inevitable events. How dare we live without anticipating them and living accordingly.