Skip to main content

Judgement and Persuasion

“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. Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart.” 2 Corinthians 5:10-12 NIV

The first word that really jumped out at me in this passage is the word “persuade.” I have questioned the need to enter into debates and arguments with non-Christians, influenced in part by a statement attributed to St.Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel at all t imes. Where necessary, use words.” Isn’t living a holy life before others what draws them to God? “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” This passage from Jesus’ sermon on the mount in Matthew 5 seems to corroborate the previous quote: Do what is right and that alone will bring glory to God. And yet Paul seems to think that persuading people is important. Are our lives and actions not good enough? Is there more? Of what are we to persuade them?

“For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ….” For? Something is riding on this statement. What is it? Verse 9 says, “…we make it our goal to please [God]…. For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ.” What happens at the judgement seat? We will receive what is due us based on what we’ve done. That is why we try to please God. That is also why we fear God—because we are concerned about how we will be judged and what the outcome of that judgement will be. But this is true for all people, whether they believe it or not. This is why we need to persuade others.

Persuade them of what? Persuade them that there will be a judgement? Persuade them that they are accountable for their actions and behavior? Persuade them that there is a reason to be afraid? But then Paul moves away from talking about receiving our due for what we’ve done to “slamming” those who take pride in what is seen rather than what is in the heart. Are not our actions, the things we do, for which we will be judged, those things that are seen? He seems to be contradicting himself. The answer is in verse 20. “Be reconciled to Christ.” That is what we need to persuade others to do.

What does it mean to be reconciled? Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary says that reconciliation restores friendship or harmony. Things or people that are reconciled become consistent and congruous to each other. It’s a submission and acceptance and, according to The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon, it means to return to favour with someone and to receive the other into our favour. Be reconciled to Christ. Live in harmony and friendship with him. Live and be consistent with what he says and live in congruity with him. Submit to him. Accept him. Live in his favour and give him yours. When we do this, both our hearts and actions will please God and we will have nothing to fear on the day of judgement. This is what we need to persuade others to. I wonder how.

Father, I want to please you. I want to live in harmony and congruity with you. But I don’t know how to persuade others that this is important for them too. Am I more afraid of what people will think than of their fate should they not be persuaded? I think I am. Please change me, God. Live your life in me and give me your boldness to speak to others as you lead.


Popular posts from this blog

Monogamous, Homosexual Unions--My Position and the Story behind it

I've been asked to be one of two participants at church each representing opposing views on the matter of monogamous, homosexual unions, moderated by the pastor.  In preparation, I have written the following.  In the comments, please do not post any vitriol--from either side. If I think any comment is hateful, I will delete it. Respectful disagreement or questions are welcome, however.

My Position and Values:
I believe that sexual relations between two people of the same sex is contrary to God’s will.I would like to say otherwise but I find nothing in Scripture that allows me to do so.BEING homosexual, having a longing or desire for someone of the same sex, is not condemned in the Bible.  We all have desires that are contrary to God’s will.  The sin occurs when we feed those desires, like Jesus talks about when he calls lust adultery (Matthew 5:28).Much cruelty to LGBTQ people has happened because of the stance of the Church. We have not acted with love, compassion and listening ear…

In My Prayer Room

Oh God
You surround me with your love,
with memories
of who you are
of what you've done
of promises you've made
of who I want to be
of who I am because of you.

You give me hope and joy,
peace and gratitude.
You convict me
and teach me
encourage me
and remind me
of what it means to follow you.

You listen to my prayers
and grant my requests
in your time.
You give me insight
and knowledge
and words to write
to share your presence
your goodness
your love
your admonition
with others.

You expand my love
to pray for friend and foe
near and far
family and stranger
people as pins on maps
clustered and scattered
who know you and reject you
for those in need
and those too full to need.

You draw me close
and then release me
to bring you close to others
to serve
and love
and give
all I have received.

You fill my heart with joy
that warms
and glows
and bursts
into laughter,
and even dance.

You wrap me in your arms
and tell me
"You are mine"
with intensity that burns
and smoul…

What Is Separating me from the Promise?

This is the question Andy Wood asked us each to consider this morning at the end of his sermon and it hit me like a thunderbolt.

Imagine the Jordan River on the eve of the Israelites crossing it into the Promised Land.  The river was at flood stage, so it was moving quickly (even the Red River here in Winnipeg moves quickly during flood season) but this particular stretch of the river near Jericho is narrower than the rest so that as the rushing flood waters reached the point where the people were waiting--all two million of them--it became even more turbulent.  Anyone who's witnessed a flood knows that it doesn't just carry water; there is debris like fallen trees, parts of sheds and houses and perhaps even animals unable to escape the river's grab.

Back in the days of Abraham, God had promised the land of Canaan to him and his descendants but during the days of Abraham's great-grandson, Joseph, the whole family had moved out of the Promised Land to Egypt because of f…