“For we must ALL appear before the judgement seat of Christ. . .therefore knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men.” – 2 Corinthians 5:10-11 (day three) The Bible has a sober outlook on the future– and not one that is confined to preachers. Paul is careful to include “all” of us in his description of the end of time. None of us will be exempt from this examination of the “deeds done in the body”. This vision creates in him, and hopefully in us, a healthy and motivating fear. Knowing this fear (experiencing it) Paul is pressed to persuade people toward Christ. More than self-interest, Paul’s concern is to not disappoint the Lord through disobedience. He is also concerned for others–that they not fall short of the grace of God through unbelief. What Paul sees of the future makes him afraid. Do you see a similarly motivating vision? Is any other vision of a Holy God adequate? “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. . .”
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I sometimes become concerned about ineffectiveness and sometimes feel that to be a layperson has disadvantages that are underestimated. I do not lose heart entirely because I think of such people as Amos and many others in the Bible. The servant girl of Naaman’s wife in some ways played the most significant role in that story. The Bible gives us many other such examples. Even Joseph – we are not told he was an influence on anyone else’s life but Mary and Jesus – no small responsibility!
Yet sometimes I feel that the laity faces very daunting challenges. To a secular society which seems to be increasingly resolute and relativistic and increasingly vocal, the truth claims of Christians seem to be regarded as opinion. Opinions are everywhere these days. People rally behind those with credentials, whether those credentials are advanced degrees or the influence of public notoriety and celebrity.
Fortunately, a layperson’s credential is the Word of God, that says, “Do not despise the small things,” and God has no trouble using a little to accomplish a lot – or even, from nothing at all to creating everything.
What a great thought provoking post. I would love some day to be able to do a group study on just this. I do not really understand this passage at all. There are so many other scripture verses that seem to not line up with (at least my very limited understanding of) what this is saying that it confuses me. When I look at it in the Greek, I find it very interesting. (Of course you know) The word for fear is phobos… the same root used when we (as wives) are told to phobeo our husbands.
All of this I do not understand, but am convinced that even in this God is faithful and can be Trusted. I am learning to trust Him with everything (or at least that is my intention)…. even with this. This is a huge step for me as I find myself often in bondage to the fear… not of God… but the fear that I will fail Him/already have (this passage…at least in my mind…condemning me). But your post makes me wonder instead if I should look at this like given my loved-based desire to please Him the thought of His disapproval would be overwhelming for me and thus something to avoid..but not at the cost of living in dread/terror of Him (perfect Love casts out fear). Like I said, I do not really know.
Most importantly for me in this passage is the fact that those around us will face this same judgment… and possibly without Christ as their salvation. Now that is something to fear.
May your heart of love for the lost consume me. I offer my life to be used in whatever way You have planned… that the lost may be saved. I trust You.
I thank you for this blog and ask you to abundantly Bless Pastor Guthrie, your service through Him and his family.