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Pointers along the way #621

Own up or lose it

- Jacob Ninan

"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (2Co.5:10)! Did we read that right? Does it actually say Christ's judgment of us will be according to what we have done? Weren't we always taught that it would be according to our faith? We understood that nothing we did could ever make us acceptable to God (Ro.3:20), and we were immensely relieved to hear that God the Father had accepted us through His unmerited favour (grace) towards us when we put our faith in Jesus (Ti.3:5). We can understand how unbelievers would be judged depending on what they have done (Re.20:12,13). Now why am I saying our judgment depends on our deeds?

One reason why we find it difficult to accept this is because a great delusion has come upon many Christians which makes them think that now that they are 'under the blood', nothing more is required. They think now God doesn't see them individually, but when He looks at them He sees Jesus! The fact is that God not only wants to accept people, but He also wants to conform us into the character of Jesus (Ro.8:28,29). The first part was done by cancelling out the punishment due to us by letting Jesus take it. The second part can only be done as we take up our cross daily, deny our own desires and follow the example of Jesus (Lk.9:23). That's how a disciple becomes like the Master. If we satisfy ourselves only with the first part, the second wouldn't get done!

Many Christians seem happy knowing that they can get forgiveness from God when they fall. They are not even aiming at overcoming temptations and not sinning. But true grace includes not only unmerited favour, but also help in our time of need (He.4:16), i.e., when we are being tempted to sin. God gives us that grace through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. We are responsible for how we much we desire to overcome, how much we seek help from God and how we seek to learn from God's word about how to be pleasing to Him and serve Him. We are going to be rewarded at the judgment seat of Christ based on our deeds.

One of the lies that have come to us through the Fall is that it's somebody else or the circumstance that makes us do wrong (Ge.3:12). Some people claim the devil made them do something. Others think that because they feel a certain way they have no choice but to follow on. Granted many things outside of us and even inside our flesh prompt us to do wrong. But we are the ones who do it finally! We are responsible for what we do, and that is why we are accountable to God for our actions (Ro.14:12). Until we take ownership of our behaviour and actions we cannot be set free.

The fact is that with God's help we can choose to do what He wants. Even an ungodly person finds it possible to give up his addiction when the doctor gives him an ultimatum. Let's stop making excuses and make up our mind to stop sinning.


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