“5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.”
1 Corinthians 4:5
In this passage and elsewhere (Lk. 19:17,19; Rom. 14:10,12; 2 Cor. 5:10; Col 3:25;Rev. 20:12,15), the Bible teaches that a day is coming when believers in Christ will stand before God to give an account for their lives.
This is the way that Paul uses it in 2 Corinthians 5:9-10 – “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” Knowing that nothing I do is hidden from God and that I will one day have to give an account for what I am doing is a powerful motivator for me to flee from temptation and sin, and todo good. While it would be nice if every motivation to do good was born from completely altruistic motivations, the reality is that the fear of God is offered as a means of keeping us from harming ourselves, others and the honor of God.
If we are to ultimately be evaluated by the standards of the world (power, status, approval and applause), then there may really be very little hope for us. By virtue of our position, gifts, family history, physical strength and any number of factors beyond our control, we would find ourselves doomed as second class citizens forever. If however, it is the “hidden person of the heart” (1 Peter 3:4) that ultimately matters, then by the grace of God we may please him rightly and truly. This is great news! The greatest person in heaven will probably be someone we have never heard of. This encourages me, no matter what my station in life to pursue Christ with all that I am.
The good news is that in Christ, we have everything that we need to stand before him on that day. Consider this promise from 2 Peter:
“3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to[c]his own glory and excellence,[d]4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. “ (2 Peter 1:3-4)
If my desire is to please God, then he will provide power to see that my desire is realized. This encourages me because I know that he is not playing games with me, but wants to fill me with strength to obey and to stand before him one day with nothing to be ashamed of.