2 Corinthians 5:6-9 (ESV)
6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord,
7 for we walk by faith, not by sight.
8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.
Why did Paul and his fellow Christians “make it (their) aim” to please God? He tells us why in the very next sentences:
2 Corinthians 5:10-11a (ESV)
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others…
Christian brothers and sisters, how often do we think about the fact that there is a day coming in which every one of us will individually stand before the throne of God and be judged by Jesus Christ?
Yes, it is true that God is not sitting up in heaven with a thunderbolt cocked over his shoulder, just waiting to strike us down for our infractions. He is a God of love, patience, mercy, and grace. I am thankful for that, as I know you are also, for without those qualities of God we would have no hope.
However, it is equally true that when all is said and done, we will each stand before his judgment seat and “receive what is due for what (we have) done in the body, whether good or evil” (v. 11).
It is not a coincidence that right after speaking of standing before the judgment seat of Christ to receive what is due for what we do in the body and citing that as the reason for having his aim to please God, Paul then says, “Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others…” (v. 11). Friends, how often do you think about those lost souls in your lives with whom you interact regularly? Specifically, how often do you remember that every one of them will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and, if they have not obeyed the gospel, will be cast into an eternal hell (2 Thess. 1:7-9)? I think it very clear that a primary reason, if not THE primary reason, behind the severe lack of personal evangelism in the Lord’s church in America for the past generation is because we have forgotten that fact.
Paul didn’t forget it. It was the reason he gave for why he tried so hard to persuade others to convert to Christianity. We are to imitate him (1 Cor. 11:1). Are we? When was the last time you talked to someone about the gospel and how God can save their soul?
There is a place for remembering that judgment is coming for all of us. When we remember that, it motivates us to “make it our aim to please him” as it did with Paul. And when we have as “our aim to please him,” then we will stay in his grace and mercy. This is because we will be continually striving to serve him…including by sharing the gospel plan of salvation with others. When we sin, we will humbly and penitently acknowledge it to God, turn from it, and he will continually cleanse us and forgive us (1 John 1:7-9).
Do you make it your aim to please him?