God is the judge of all people*. He will test whether we are truly his servants. Only those people who are loyal to him will have a place in heaven and the New Jerusalem*. However, nobody can earn that place by their own deeds. They receive it because of their faith (trust) in Christ. Christ died so that God could forgive their wrong and evil deeds.
God is also the judge of the deeds that his servants carry out in their work for him. That is the judgement that Paul seems to refer to in 2 Corinthians 5:10. By the words ‘we all’ in that verse, he seems to mean all Christians.
In that judgement, God wants to reward his people for their loyal work for him. However, God, who knows everything, cannot approve of all our actions. Even when we do the right things, we may act for the wrong reasons, or with wrong attitudes*.
Paul discusses this judgement further in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15. It is possible for someone to fail this test but still to receive a place in heaven*.
Although that person is a genuine servant of God, he will suffer the loss of everything. His work for God, his master, was completely unsatisfactory; but still God, in his love, will save that person.
By God’s standards, all people are weak. It astonishes us to think that God wants us to work for him. Again, it astonishes us that God can consider our work to be valuable. It astonishes us to know that God wants to reward us for our deeds for him. In 1 Corinthians 15:9-10, Paul expresses that thought by reference to his own experience.
Next part: A right kind of fear (5:11)
* See complete article for these Bible references.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.