The Second Epistle to the Corinthians Chapter 5, Verses 10-13

2 Corinthians 5:10‑13  •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 9
This knowledge of which we have been speaking, that everything we have done in the body, whether good or bad, is to pass under review at the judgment seat of Christ is meant by God to have a sobering and solemnizing effect in our souls. We can see from our chapter that it was a reality to the Apostle, whose life was a constant savor of Christ.
The Christian has three enemies: the world, the flesh (the old nature) and the devil, and if allowed, they will ruin his testimony and all through his life, rob him of happiness. What makes young Christians and old Christians alike an easy prey for these enemies, is neglect of the Word of God, and prayer.
From God’s Word we may learn much that is needed in taking our way through the present scene, and mind and heart and conscience, become exercised in increasing desire to be subject to Him in all things; through prayer we learn our dependence upon Him. It is “the word of His grace” that, joined with prayer, is able to build up the believer and to give him an inheritance among all those that are sanctified (Acts 20:3232And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. (Acts 20:32)).
From the Word of God we learn that although before we were saved we were darkness, now we are light in the Lord, and should walk as children of light (Ephesians 5:88For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (Ephesians 5:8)), and that “if we walk in the light as He (God) is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:77But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)). From the same blessed book we draw a word of warning against growing careless, once we are saved,
“For the Word of God is quick (or living) and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart; neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight; but all things are naked and opened to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:12-1312For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. (Hebrews 4:12‑13)).
Nothing now is hid from Him, though much may, with success, be veiled from our neighbors, or our brethren; and at the judgment seat of Christ He will “bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts” (1 Cor. 4:55Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God. (1 Corinthians 4:5)).
“Then,” as the last quoted verse concludes, “shall every man have praise of God”; He will praise what is worthy of praise in His children.
May thoughts of that approaching day lead us who are Christ’s to much more guardedness in our lives, that in them there may be that which will be found to His glory in the day of the giving of rewards! Must we not own with shame that we have attempted to excuse ourselves perhaps ten thousand times for things in which the old nature, instead of the new, was active? perhaps it was a hasty word that should never have been said, or an unworthy thought; or the choosing to stay at home on meeting night because of the weather or the distance, but really a measure of indifference to the claims of Christ. The list need not be enlarged; your own heart will tell you more.
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
These then are days of sowing; there is reaping here too, but the Christian’s reaping will appear in full measure at the judgment seat of Christ.
“Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples” (John 15:88Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. (John 15:8)). These were the Lord’s words, uttered just before His cross. He was speaking of that which is deeper than work for Him, that is, communion with Him, the source from which springs all that in us gives joy to His heart. May we each seek to know more of communion with the Father and the Son!
With wonder and a deepened sense of divine grace, we shall at the judgment seat of Christ, see our lives as we have never before. The ways of God will be known and understood in all their perfection, as another has said, by the application of the perfect light to the whole course of our life, and of His dealings with us, in which we shall thoroughly recognize that love—perfect, sovereign above all things—has reigned, with ineffable grace.
The majesty of God will have been maintained by His judgment at the same time that the perfection and tenderness of His dealings will be the eternal recollection of our souls. The same writer continues,
“How wonderful to be thus manifested! What love is that which in its perfect wisdom, in its marvelous ways overruling all evil, could bring such beings as we are to enjoy this unclouded light!”
There will be no dissatisfaction with the place we shall each hold in glory. We shall see others in higher stations than ourselves, because of greater devotion to the Lord, and we shall be happy in seeing them so rewarded, for the old nature and its fruit of sin, will be gone forever in the scene to which we are going. Praise and adoration to God because of His grace and mercy will fill every heart to the full.
Verse 11. “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord we persuade men, but have been manifested to God, and I hope also that we have been (or are) manifested in your consciences.” (JND)
The Christian knows, from what he has learned of the holiness of God, how solemn it will be for a sinner to appear before Him. When we pass before that judgment seat we are already glorified, and like Christ; we shall be before Him in love; our sins and the old nature gone.
Now, the knowledge of the judgment, as it must fall upon the sinner, moves the Christian to seek to persuade those who are in danger of that judgment.
We have been manifested to God; we have no fear of the manifestation to come; it will reveal to us all of His ways in love and in grace and mercy, to us from beginning to end. These thoughts exercise our consciences. The Apostle adds, in love to his dear Corinthians, that he hopes that he is manifested in their consciences; such was his desire, for he was Christ’s servant for them, seeking their blessing for Christ’s sake. The state of the Corinthians was, as we have seen, better than when Paul wrote his first epistle, but their restoration to a right state before the Lord, was not complete.
Verse 12. The Apostle will not again commend himself to them by appealing to their consciences, but instead gives the saints at Corinth occasion of boast in his behalf where some boasted in countenance and not in heart. For whether he was beside himself (as some were ready to say of Paul, because on occasion his spirit was enraptured with thoughts of God’s grace in Christ) it was not excitement or folly, but the result of occupation with a subject so glorious. If he were criticized as inconsistent because he passed from these occasions of rapture to speak and write soberly in instructing the Corinthians in ways pleasing to God, it was for their cause, for them (verse 13).
(To be Continued)