I have had the privilege to believe in Jesus Christ as my personal Lord & Savior for many years. Well, since I was in my mid-teens, actually. I accepted Him while reading His word, then went to the “altar” in my heart at home, then at church on Sunday and kinda sealed the deal. :) I then attended church quite faithfully for many years.
Later, I became disillusioned by the earthly Church and quit attending when some of a previous congregation in which I was involved, turned against me when I had to divorce my first husband. Things were not going well in my life then. It was not a happy time and, justified or unjustified, I felt totally betrayed by my then so-called Christian friends. But that's another story.
I’m told I had a rough life but, in retrospect, it doesn’t seem like it. Not compared to what some people have had to deal with. My mother died suddenly when I was 10 years old. My father was exceedingly physically and mentally abusive. It seems like he was forever yelling, hitting, cursing over something. He was such a perpetual grouch and very unstable! As I grew older, I learned to tune him out. And I remember avoiding him at all costs and NEVER asking him anything if possible. It was impossible to have an rational conversation with the man. I only relate this, not for sympathy, but to lay the ground work for what happens next.
So, I thought, Ok, God was like that, right? Only LOUDER and SCARIER.
Today I read the article below by Rev. Billy Graham in our Waycross newspaper:
Q: If all our sins are forgiven, then why does the Bible say we’ll have to stand before God to be judged? Does this mean it isn’t enough to believe in Jesus and put our trust in Him as our Savior? — Mrs. S.L.
A: No, this isn’t what it means. One of the Bible’s greatest truths is that when Jesus Christ died on the cross all our sins were transferred to Him, and as we put our faith and trust in Him we are forgiven — freely and fully. The Bible says, “God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins” (Colossians 2:13).
This is why we don’t need to fear God’s judgment once we have committed our lives to Christ, for now we’ve been cleansed of all our sins. We deserved God’s judgment, for we were guilty of breaking His law — but Christ took all our sins upon Himself, and He endured the judgment that we deserved.
As the Bible says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Why, then, must we still stand before God some day, even as believers? The reason is so God can reward us for what we have done for Him. The Bible doesn’t explain in detail what those rewards may be — but it reminds us that we are still accountable to Him for how we live. Our greatest reward, however, will be to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant .... Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:23).
Is your goal to serve yourself — or to serve Christ? Make sure of your commitment to Him, and then put Him first in everything you do.
Reading the article by Rev. Graham brought back memories of my very similar thoughts during a sermon at our church on “standing before God“ at the Judgment Seat a couple of years ago.
Not too long ago, after our Pastor’s heart transplant, he had a real revealing & moving sermon one Sunday concerning the glories of being in Heaven. He made everything seem like it will be so delightful in Glory. I remember asking him "So, does that mean that God isn't going to yell at me?" He chuckled and responded, "Of course not!" Then proceeded to explain in language I could understand, why God will not 'yell' at any of us who believe. We, who believe in the One True Living God, will not receive any punishment but will stand there to receive rewards.
We who deserve punishment will instead receive kindness in it’s place because we trust in the innocent blood of Jesus Christ to save us [and He will too]. Don’t we have a cool benefit package folks? Jesus loves all us so "that all may be saved". We truly are SAVED BY GRACE.
I thought I’d share that happy truth tonight in case anyone else has these very thoughts and may feel troubled over it.
Hope this blesses all who read this.