Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:9-11, NKJV
Why do we need to do what is right? If Christ has already paid the price for our sins, why can’t we just do what feels good and live our lives the way we want?
In 2 Corinthians 5:9-11, Paul addresses this question, particularly as it relates to those of us who are followers of Jesus Christ. We do what is right because we want to please God and because we know that our actions will be judged by Him. We do what is right because we will be rewarded for our actions in eternity.
First, we do good in order to please God (v. 9). Paul had a healthy view of God and himself. God is eternal. We, on the other hand, are finite and temporary. In fact, as Paul was writing this letter to the church in Corinth, he had faced great persecution and was nearing the end of his life. And since his time was limited he wanted to make sure that he spent every moment trying to serve, honor and obey the Lord. “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him,” Paul writes.
Second, we want to do good because we will be judged (v. 10). Verse 10 tells us that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”
This is talking about you and me; followers of Jesus. This should not be confused with the Great White Throne (Revelation 20), where unbelievers will be judged and cast into hell. Rather, the Judgment Seat of Christ is where our works will be judged, and we will be rewarded based upon on our actions during our limited time on earth. This is not optional. Verse 10 says that we will all appear before Christ to give an account—whether good or bad.
What are the rewards? There are five different types of crowns, which are referenced throughout the New Testament:
- First there is the crown of life. This is given to those who endure trials. (James 1:12)
- Second, there is the crown of glory. This is given to Christians who care for the sheep of God; as in pastors who shepherd the church. (I Peter 5:2-4)
- The third reward is a crown of rejoicing, which is given to those who are soul winners. Those we bring to Christ will be our crown. (I Thess. 2:19-20)
- The fourth reward is a crown of righteousness. This is given to those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ and received His righteousness. (II Tim. 4:8)
- Finally, the last reward is known as an incorruptible crown. This crown is given to those who don’t yield to the fleshy desires of this world. (I Cor. 9:25-27)
Why must we do good? Is it required to earn our salvation? By no means. That price has been paid in full by Jesus’ death and resurrection, as we call upon His name as Lord and Savior. However, our actions—both good and bad—do matter in the scope of eternity. Our time is limited so we want to make every moment count for the glory of God.
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Scripture Reference: 2 Corinthians 5:9-11, NKJV
9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.