Three Different Workmen

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Now here we have three distinct thoughts-
A real Christian, whose work is good, will receive a reward. (1 Cor. 3:14.)
A real Christian, whose work is bad, will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved. (1 Cor. 3:15.)
A wicked man who, being evil himself, and with evil intent, can only do evil work, both he and his work are destroyed. (1 Cor. 3:17.)
While these verses no doubt apply especially to the subject of service, the same principle applies to every detail of the Christian's life. How much that we do and say now will have to be burned up then!
But we believe that every Christian will receive a reward, little though any of us may deserve it; for we can scarcely conceive it possible that there could be a real child of God who had never done anything, however small, for Christ.
What a solemn thought it is that everything will be brought to light there I How careful it should make us in all our walk and ways and service! How important that everything that we do and say now should be done and said in view of that coming day, when we must be manifested before the judgment-seat of Christ!
But some may say, "Does not the apostle speak in the very next verse of the terror of the Lord? Does not this look as if he had some fear as to the results of that day?"
He does; but with no sort of an idea that he or any Christian will then be condemned. He is not troubled about himself, and how it will turn out with him; all his concern is for others. If it be such a solemn thing, even for him who is sheltered by the blood of the One who sits as Judge, what will it be for the man who has no such shelter!
"Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord," does he say, "We tremble for ourselves"? Not at all; but, "We persuade men." (1 Cor. 3:11.)
We said that every saved soul would receive a reward. Now what, it may be asked, could the thief on the cross do for Christ? Was he not blaspheming His name almost up to the last moment of his life?
Ah, beloved reader, we believe his reward will indeed be a bright one. What did he do? He did what you and I have never been called upon to do. The whole world was against Christ; the multitude had risen against Him; the Jewish nation had shouted, "Away with Him"; the chief priests and rulers had cried, "Crucify Him"; Judas, one of His disciples, had betrayed Him; Peter had denied Him; all had forsaken Him; the passers-by were wagging their heads at Him, and mocking the holy Sufferer in His dying agonies; and what of the thief? He only, so far as we read, raises his voice in His favor. What a privilege was his! How grateful to the heart of Christ it must have been to hear the simple but heart-felt testimony, "This man hath done nothing amiss." (Luke 23:41.) Surely it will not be forgotten in that day! He will not lose his reward.
But not only shall we then see our failures as we never saw them before, and learn too, as we had never known it before, the matchless grace of the Savior in bearing with us, notwithstanding all those failures; not only will He then remind us of every little act of service for Him, and reward us as His grace alone could, but we shall learn then how He preserved us in the midst of dangers we never saw nor felt while here.
We must never forget that Satan is always against us; but, blessed be His name, God is always for us. Surrounded by unknown dangers He protects us; amidst unseen perils He preserves us. How loud will be the praise that will resound to His name, when, before the judgment-seat of Christ, we look back, and remember all the way that the Lord our God has led us! (Deut. 8:2.)
As an illustration of this we may mention a case drawn from the history of God's earthly people, Israel. Look at Num. 22 to 25. Israel, delivered out of Egypt, have just completed their wilderness wanderings, they are just about to enter the land of promise, when Satan, their great and constant enemy, once more bestirs himself against them. He incites Balak, king of Moab, to send for Balaam, son of Beor, saying, "Come... curse me this people." (Num. 22:6.) But when Satan opposes them, God protects them; and so He says, "Thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed." (Num. 22:12.) Satan does his very best, tries every means, employs every artifice; but all in vain. How much did the children of Israel know of all that was going on against them on the hilltop? They were stretched out in their tents in the plains of Moab, perfectly unconscious of it all. Satan's vast and mighty conspiracy, and God's still greater deliverance, were both alike unknown to them. In like manner, we believe, many an attack of Satan's against us is unseen by us now; but "in that day" everything will be manifested; "we shall know as we are known."
If it were not for the light of that day, we should never know half the extent of God's forgiveness, nor the unchanging character of His faithfulness.
"When I stand before the throne,
Clad in beauty not my own,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know,
Not till then, how much I owe!"
And as all our failures, short-comings, and sins pass before us, instead of its awakening the slightest fear, or the smallest question as to our acceptance, it will only produce deeper thanksgiving and praise, and make us swell with more energy and sweetness the song of redemption, "Unto Him that loved us,, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever." (Rev. 1:5,6.)