2 Corinthians 5:6-10
2 Cor 5:6 (KJB)
Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
Confident - Be bold or be of good courage
Absent - Away from
Paul was no stranger to hard times and here is stating that he is able to be confident or bold in the face of life threatening persecution. Paul’s faith had rested upon the facts that he did not concern himself with his death but was better able to concern himself with the tasks at hand. If a Christian does not fear death, they are able to accomplish many things. Paul knew that while he was at home in the physical body, that we were away from the Lord. It must be noted that just because we are on earth and the Lord is in heaven, does not mean we are not in his presence. Here Paul is just stating that we are absent from the Lord because we are still on earth.
2 Cor 5:7 (KJB)
(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
Since we are still on earth, we must walk by faith. We are unable to see the Lord with our physical eyes but we are able to see him with our spiritual eyes and that is how we walk by faith. (Rom 8:24 KJV) For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? In the same manner as Romans 8:24, faith that is seen is not faith. This is why we continue to have faith in God that when our work on earth is done, He will bring us into Heaven when the faith shall become sight, but not one second sooner.
2 Cor 5:8 (KJB)
We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
Confident - Be bold or be of good courage
Paul reiterates his confidence in the face of death. He states that he is bold enough to say that he would be willing to be absent from the body and be home with the Lord. Paul knew that being at home in Heaven meant that all suffering would be abolished for eternity. (Phil 1:21 KJV) For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Paul knew it was gain to die because the Christian does not stop at death’s door, they walk through it into paradise. (2 Cor 12:4 KJV) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. It is a fact that we fear death a little because all of us have been to funerals and have seen the body in the casket. As Christians we cannot even think of ourselves in there because Christ has made us so alive. The truth is that we will not be able to attend our own funeral because we will already have been promoted to glory. The moment we close our eyes here, we will open them in heaven in a moments time.
2 Cor 5:9 (KJB)
Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.
Accepted - Well-pleasing
Paul now states that we continue to labor, that is, we continue to bring the Gospel to wherever the Lord sends us. The life or death of the believer is in the Lord’s hands and is not to factor into our obedience. Some obey the Lord only if it means creature comforts go with it and some serve the Lord not concerning themselves with their physical lives. We are to continue serving the Lord so that we may be well-pleasing to Him. We are well-pleasing to the Lord when we continue to be obedient by sending for the true Gospel without reservation. Not like many who will not send forth the true Gospel because it may offend someone. The Gospel is supposed to be an offense to those who are unsaved. We do not preach to make friends on earth like the false teachers did but we are to preach the truth to be accepted of the Lord. Who would you rather please, the sinner going to hell or the Lord who saved you?
2 Cor 5:10 (KJB)
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
This verse is consistently isolated and used as the proof text that there is going to be a judgment of believers concerning their post-salvation works. It is taught that this is not a judgment for salvation but it is a judgment on the works of the believers which will result in either loss or gain of rewards. Do you notice what is absent in this verse? It is the word “reward.” Because this verse has been isolated, it has been abused and misused to attempt to portray a non-existent doctrine in Scripture. I wish to show that this verse is simply teaching the single judgment and final separation of the last day.
We read in this verse that all are going to appear before the Judgment or Bema seat of the Lord Jesus Christ. In this particular verse there is no time frame given as to when this appearance must happen. For us to get into this we must define some of the words in this verse from the Greek which will open the meaning up for us.
Must - “It is necessary or has to” - This word tells us that it is necessary or that we must appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ. In reference to time frames, this word is in the present tense which gives the meaning that we are before the Judgment Seat at present.
Appear - “Manifest, reveal or disclose” - The meaning behind this word is that we are to manifest or reveal ourselves before the Bema.
Judgment seat - “Bema” = A High Judgment seat in which the Roman authorities conducted court. They believed that everything should be out in the open and therefore the Judge sat in a higher place than the rest of the court.
Receive - The people are there to receive whatever they are to receive.
Good - “Upright, perfect, acceptable, good deeds” - The word here describes the works as having to be perfect and acceptable.
Bad - “Evil, wicked or worthless” - This is the other side of the spectrum of works in view. It is the bad works in which the word describes it as evil or wicked. If the believer must stand before the judgment seat for any wicked acts, then their salvation would be faulty but the problem is that Christ removed all of our sins and therefore we have nothing evil to stand before the Lord on. (Col 2:13-14 KJV) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; {14} Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
The word “must” is a time clue in that it indicates a present time for us standing before the Judgment seat. Since that word is in the present tense, it means that every believer down through time has been standing before the throne. Now let us ask the question, was there an initial time of judgment when the believers stood before the Bema seat? The answer is a resounding yes!
1 Pet 4:17 KJV) For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
Many people believe that this verse is speaking about God’s judgment on the corporate church when that is an absolute misrepresentation of this verse. This verse refers specifically to the redeemed body of believers. What trips everyone up on this verse is the phrase, “must begin,” which makes it look like some future event. The truth is that the phrase should really be translated “to have begun.”
The word is “arxasqai” (arxasthai) which is derived from the word “arcw” (archo) which means to “rule, reign, or begin.” Our word is not in the present tense but is in the Aorist tense. The Aorist Tense denotes an action without any reference to duration, repetitiveness, or completeness. This same word is used in Acts 11:15: (Acts 11:15 KJV) And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. As you see, this verse is not saying that the Holy Ghost began to fall, it states He fell. It is interesting to note that the only
two times we see this word used in the New Testament is when Peter is using it.
Now let us return to 1 Peter 4:17. We read a little bit more clearer that judgment had already begun on the House of God in Peter’s time. It is believed the Books of Peter were written between 64 & 68 AD. So now let us ask the question, when did judgment previously happen on the body of believers? It was at the cross when the body of believers was judged. Christ became the atonement for all the Elect He planned to save. This is the meaning of the Household of God being judged. We were judged and found not guilty because the Lord Jesus Christ took our sins on Him and removed them. God judged the Lord Jesus Christ as He became sin for us. As we think in the Aorist tense about the judgment, we realize that the completeness of Christ’s atonement for the entire body of Christ will be complete on the last day, when the last one is saved. So throughout recorded time, every believer has and will stand before the judgment seat of Christ but not for rewards, only to get their full pardons from the Judge.
As we continue to look at 1 Peter 4:17, we see the next part of that verse deals with judgment of the unsaved. Peter is making a comparison between the judgment of the body of Christ and the judgment of the unsaved. He was posing a rhetorical question in that what will happen to those who do not obey the gospel AKA the unbelievers? He goes on in verse 18:
(1 Pet 4:18 KJV) And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
Peter states that if the righteous scarcely (with difficulty or toil - not our works but the work of the Lord Jesus Christ) be saved, where shall the ungodly appear. The answer to that question goes back to our original verse. The unbeliever also has to appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ but their judgment will be for their sins and the result will be eternal damnation.