Forgiveness and Consequences

Forgiveness and Consequences

Forgiveness and Consequences “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.” 2 Corinthians 5:10 The bible makes it abundantly clear that our actions in this life have eternal consequences. We do nothing to earn our way into heaven, because salvation is by grace and grace alone. But although salvation is in no way based on our works or our merit, it is equally true that the quality of our eternity is based on our works. How we invest our life on earth will determine how we live out eternity in heaven (see, e.g., Matthew 6:19-21, 1 Corinthians 3:11-15, and Revelation 22:12). Many modern Christians are uneasy with the teaching of eternal accountability, instead preferring to believe that God’s forgiveness wipes out all consequences of temporal (i.e. earthly) sin. However, the idea that forgiveness eliminates consequences is not biblical. As an example, consider the story of Israel’s rebellion at Kadesh Barnea, found in Numbers 13-14. God commands Moses to send spies into the Promised Land in order to see what the land is like (Numbers 13:1). Twelve spies, one from each tribe, go out on the mission. Two spies, Caleb and Joshua, give a good report of the land. They argue that Israel should go up and take possession of it, in obedience to God. But the other 10 spies argue that the people in the land are too strong for Israel. Sadly, the Israelites go against Caleb and Joshua’s counsel, and instead they...
Testing and Obedience

Testing and Obedience

You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.” Deuteronomy 8:2 Throughout Scripture we are told that God tests us, and that His tests are for our good. We often associate God’s testing with trials such as ill health, financial problems, and difficult interpersonal relationships. These are all legitimate tests, but Deuteronomy 8:2 makes it clear that another important way that God tests us is through our obedience to His commandments.  When Jesus appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus, Paul had two questions for Him: The first: “Who are you, Lord?” The second: “What shall I do, Lord?” (Acts 2:6-10) The first step you take as a Christian is to proclaim, “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” This statement should always be followed with, “What should I do about it? What does Christ want me to do?” The New Testament is full of positive and negative commandments that help us answer this question. The negative commands (“thou shalt not”) are straightforward in their application. This does not mean they are easy to obey, just that little ambiguity exists in how we should obey. The positive commands (“thou shalt” e.g. “love your neighbor as yourself,” “honor your father and mother,” and “husbands love your wives just as Christ also loved the church”) are more subjective in their application. Each of us carries out obedience to these commands in legitimately different ways, and the...
Treasure Part 4 of 4

Treasure Part 4 of 4

Treasures In Heaven Part 4—How Do You See Treasure Clearly? Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21 Part 1 – What Is Your Treasure? Part 2 – Where Is Your Treasure? Part 3 – How Do You Store Up Treasure? Part 4 – How Do You See Treasure Clearly? Question: How do you form an accurate filter system? In Matthew 6:19-23, Jesus connects storing up treasures in heaven with having a clear eye. The eye is the lamp of the body, and if our eye is clear we will be full of light. It is only if our eye is clear that we will understand the reality that treasures in heaven are more important than treasures on earth, and only if our eye is clear will we understand how to live our life in such a way that is pleasing to God and leads to treasures in heaven. So let’s take a step backwards and ask, “How do we make our eye clear?” How do we ensure that our view of reality is accurate? Jesus addresses this question a number of ways in the gospels, and the answer always comes back to obedience. If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself. John...
Treasure Part 3 of 4

Treasure Part 3 of 4

Treasures In Heaven Part 3—How Do You Store Up Treasure? Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21 Part 1 – What Is Your Treasure? Part 2 – Where Is Your Treasure? Part 3 – How Do You Store Up Treasure? Part 4 – How Do You See Treasure Clearly? Question: How do you store up treasures in heaven? 2 Corinthians 5:10 teaches that all men will one day appear before Christ in Judgment. At the Bema Seat1 we will be recompensed, both good and bad, for our deeds in this life. In 1 Corinthians 3:11-15, Paul gives an analogy of what happens at our Judgment. He describes our life’s work as going through a fire. If a believer’s life work consists of gold, silver, or precious stones, then his work will remain upon going through the fire, and he will receive eternal reward. If a believer’s life consists of wood, hay, or straw, it will get burned up upon going through the fire, and that man will suffer eternal loss. How does a man live his life such that his life’s work will be considered gold, silver, and precious stones when he meets Lord Jesus at the Bema Seat? How do we store up treasures in heaven? The question of how a man accumulates rewards in heaven is the...
Treasure Part 2 of 4

Treasure Part 2 of 4

Treasures in Heaven Part 2—Where is your treasure? Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21 Part 1 – What Is Your Treasure? Part 2 – Where Is Your Treasure? Part 3 – How Do You Store Up Treasure? Part 4 – How Do You See Treasure Clearly? Question: How do you know if your treasure is being stored up on earth or in heaven? None of us have the ability to check our heavenly bank account. Therefore, on this side of the grave, there is no way we can objectively know to what degree we are storing up treasure in heaven. Nevertheless, Matthew 6:19-21 is a call for us to examine ourselves on this question. The difficulty in obeying Matthew 6:19-21 is immediately obvious. Who among us does not attach importance to earthly possessions? There is not a man reading this who would not experience some angst if he lost his life-savings. Any of us would be deeply grieved upon losing a loved one, especially a wife or child. And if we are being honest, there are much less important temporal possessions that would cause us great pain if they were taken from us. To be human is to attach importance to temporal things. Intrinsic in Matthew 6:19-21 is the idea that the desire to store up treasures on...