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Transcript: Welcome to “5 Minutes with Pastor Lutzer.” I’m so glad that you joined me again as we talk about the very serious topic of the judgment seat of Jesus Christ. Last time we emphasized that we are going to be judged fairly but we’re also going to be judged individually—one on one with Jesus. Of course, the question is, are we going to see our sin? Because the Bible says we’re going to give an account for what we have done whether good or evil, whether good or worthless.
I’m going to answer that question in a moment. But first of all, I want us to understand how thorough this judgment is. The text says, “We shall all appear”—phaneroō in Greek; that means to “be manifested.” One commentator says that the imagery is this: Remember as children somebody would say, “I think that you have some money in your pocket” and we’d say “No” and then we turn out our pocket, turn it inside out and reveal every last little piece of lint? That’s what it means to be revealed or manifest at the judgment seat of Jesus Christ. There’s another word that the apostle Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 3, a passage that we began this series with, where he talks about the fact that our works are going to become evident. They’re going to be revealed.
So, what is the judgment seat of Jesus Christ going to be like? Alright, here’s an illustration. Here’s a man who left his wife and family. He’s a Christian but he ran off with some other woman and married her and he went off to another state and lives there perhaps even in some luxury. Very seldom connects with his children if at all, doesn’t really send money to his ex-wife, leaves her to run the family, to earn the money. And now both of them die. Do you honestly think that Jesus is going to say well, you know, both of you have received the righteousness of Christ. Why don’t you just hold hands and go into eternity together and let bygones be bygones? I can tell you I don’t believe that’s the way it’s going to be. The judgment seat of Jesus Christ is going to be the final adjudication of issues that were left unresolved here on earth. There is going to be a judgment. That’s why Paul says in Romans 12, he says, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves. God is judge. He will be the avenger.” We straighten out as many things as we can in this world but there’s so much injustice that even among believers the judgment seat of Jesus Christ is the final adjudication of all of these issues before eternity officially begins in heaven.
Now the other question of course, that I posed earlier, is: Will we see our sin? Well if we see our sin it certainly is going to be represented to us as forgiven because the judgment seat of Jesus Christ is not a whipping boy, so to speak, where we are paying for our sins. It’s a time of evaluation. It will be a time when we finally see once for all the magnitude of God’s grace. Now I’ve thought quite a bit about this and I’ve concluded that there are ways that God could show us our lives without us seeing our sins. Here’s one way. Let’s suppose that all of the works that we have done are either turned into gold, silver, and precious stones or wood, hay, stubble—and then of course it would be burned as indicated in 1 Corinthians 3 and then we would see our lives before us. We’d see this huge flame and then the gold, the silver, and the precious stones would be left. As a matter of fact, there’s a man who had a dream that his life was this big pile of wood, hay, stubble and after it was burned he said in his dream he went around with a little tin cup and a little brush looking for bits of silver and gold. I don’t know how it will be. But I take it very seriously.
You say well Pastor Lutzer if what you’re saying is true this could be a frightening ordeal. Well what does Paul say in the very next verse? “Therefore knowing the fear of the Lord we persuade others.” Usually we think well that’s for the unbeliever. I’ll tell you, and I’m going to indicate this also next time, the judgment seat of Christ could be a very serious experience. I think it’ll be serious for all of us. Eventually, of course, everyone will be joyful in eternity; everyone giving glory to God but some people given more responsibility in the kingdom than others. Let me conclude today by emphasizing the fact that we should live in such a way that eternity should always be on our minds.
Now I know what you’re thinking. I can see what you’re thinking. You’re thinking this: well if that’s the case what’s going to survive the fire? What’s the gold, the silver, and the precious stones? If you’re thinking that I’m sure glad that you are because that’s the question we’re going to answer next time and, by the way, if you enjoy these opportunities to hear God’s word and these series, I encourage you to share this with others because what we’re going to indicate regarding eternity is incredibly important. So glad that you joined us today and as for today, well, you already know, you just go with God.