I was sharing with someone some time ago, that there are times when the thought of going to heaven doesn’t always excite me. They of course wanted to know why I felt this way. So, I explained to them that when I think about the accountability that I will have before my Lord and God, concerning what I have done or not done with what I have been given in the Lord Jesus Christ, well, I am not always too thrilled about this. I mean when I think of the accountability that hell reflects I am certainly excited about being in and with the Lord Jesus Christ in glory and therefore would most definitely choose heaven. If in truth, it was just that simple. However, the reality of our accountability before the Lord God Almighty, still remains and at times it bothers me, a lot. The one with whom I was speaking explained to me that they felt that it was the fear of the Lord in me that made me think in this manner.
I would have to say yes it is a very genuine sense of the fear of God that I have, that concerns me. The day when I will have to stand before my Lord God and King, to give an account for what I have done or not done with what I have been given in the Lord Jesus Christ, is most definitely a reality to be concerned about. I wonder why there isn’t much more of this fear of the Lord within the Body of Christ. Is it that people just do not believe or even reflect on the reality of our judgment before God as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ? The scriptures have much to say regarding this reality of accountability before the Lord God Almighty, for one and all, including those who are the elect of God.
1 Corinthians 3:12-15 (NKJV) Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
Here we see that as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ our works will be judged and yes, there will be consequence regarding these works before the Lord Jesus Christ. At the worst we see that we will arrive in glory only to see that our lives lived out in the earth, accomplished absolutely nothing of Kingdom value and significance. The results of this will be that we will indeed suffer loss in eternity. Yes that is correct, you will be in eternity with Christ Jesus, saved, redeemed, and yet you will suffer eternal loss. I have already had a very real taste of this in my own life and trust me, it has placed deep within me, a very real fear of the Lord God regarding it.
Briefly let me explain. I had a prophetic dream one night in which I was called up to heaven. As I was in heaven, preparing to enter the New Jerusalem, I was confronted with the reality that when, what I had done with what I had been given in the Lord Jesus Christ was all added up, there was genuinely nothing to show for it. Absolutely nothing! In other words, my life was so very much like the one above who then suffered loss, yet was saved, which I then preceded to experience in this prophetic dream. After this vision was over, I was, how can say it, I was very upset, ashamed, angry at myself and fearful, but in a good way. Yes, I cannot tell you how difficult this was for me to accept. I wanted to explain it all away the best that I could. But in the end, I knew it was all true. I just knew it was true. You see, I had been in the ministry for over ten years by then. We had helped plant several churches and restarted two others by then. It had been a hard road but we would never have dreamed that it was all for not in the eyes of our Lord Jesus. Yes, indeed, it was a hard reality to swallow.
Having had this taste of the reality to come for each and everyone of us who are called by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I find myself crying out even as Paul did,
2 Corinthians 5:11 (NKJV) Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.
Paul’s comments here follow hard on the heels of the previous verse, verse 10.
2 Corinthians 5:10 (NKJV) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
We just had a picture of this reality in 1Cor 3. There is potentially a very real loss to be suffered in eternity for the believer. This loss, be it warranted, will immediately follow our personal accountability session before the Lord God Almighty. What we have done or not done, said or not said, in light of what we have been given in the Lord Jesus Christ, will matter, and we will be held accountable for it all, and there will be gain or loss for each one, accordingly.
My concern is that we will continue as a people of God, blindly assuming that all is well with us, and our walk in and before the Lord Jesus Christ. God knows our hearts and motivations, our thoughts and our attitudes, always, all of the time. He knows us through and through, so there is no pulling the wool over His eyes about where, what and how, we have lived and are living out our lives in the Lord Jesus Christ.
My concern isn’t primarily for the ones who will stand before the Lord and receive their gain, their reward (s) in the Kingdom of God for what they have done or not done with what they have been given in the Lord Jesus Christ, No. Theirs is gain and bless them in the Lord Jesus for it all. No, my heart and concern are for those of us who may be assuming, even as I had, that just because they are born again, saved, redeemed, blood bought and washed in Christ Jesus, there is nothing to concern ourselves about in regards to our judgment in and before the Lord Jesus Christ.
I am so very grateful the mercy of the Lord in granting me that prophetic dream and thus my being confronted with the reality of God’s view of my walk and life in the Lord Jesus Christ. I am so very grateful that it was a prophetic dream of the Lord and that it has deeply impacted my life, heart and soul. I am so very grateful that I got to awake from this prophetic dream as one who had been warned, awaken to my heart, my true motivations in ministry and mercifully given another opportunity in Christ Jesus to sorrowfully repent (2Cor 7:9-11) and begin again.
So, yes, sometimes, when I stop in honest reflection upon my life, ministry, and walk, in and with the Lord Jesus Christ, I’m not too excited for that day of accountability to arrive. However, I do rejoice that, that day has not yet arrived for me and therefore; I can in and through Christ Jesus, continue to sorrowfully repent (2Cor 7:9-11) and begin yet again. Like Paul, knowing the fear of the Lord, we continue to seek to persuade other believers in Christ Jesus of the truth, so that they also will not stand before the Lord Jesus and suffer loss in glory.
Additional Scriptural Ref’s:
The Parable of the Talents; Matt 25:14-30 and the consequences, all of them.
The Parable of the Ten Minas; Luke 19:11-27 as well.
Plus: Rom 2:6-11; 14:10-12; Matt 12:36-37; 2 Cor 5:6-10; Heb 9:27; Heb 10:26-27, 31; 1Pet 4:17-18