God will judge everyone according to their deeds, so believers should desire to please God, as they live in their earthly bodies…

I’m humbled every time I open my Bible and read the Apostle Paul’s words. He had a tremendous love for Jesus, a resilient attitude, unwavering dedication, he was selfless, and O how he loved his brothers and sisters in Christ. He was wholly committed to fulfilling God’s calling.

Forgiven Much – Loves Much

“Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. Luke 7:41-43 (NIV)

I believe it’s right to say that Paul loved much because he had been forgiven much? Paul was a Pharisee and he persecuted the church unmercifully before he met Jesus. Paul speaks about it below:

“I myself indeed was [once] persuaded that it was my duty to do many things contrary to {and} in defiance of the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And that is what I did in Jerusalem; I [not only] locked up many of the [faithful] saints (holy ones) in prison by virtue of authority received from the chief priests, but when they were being condemned to death, I cast my vote against them. And frequently I punished them in all the synagogues to make them blaspheme; and in my bitter fury against them, I harassed (troubled, molested, persecuted) {and} pursued them even to foreign cities.” Acts 26:9-11 (AMP)

Pleasing God in Our Earthly Bodies

Paul describes the wonder of the gospel – that human believers carry the glory of God within them – as having “treasure in earthen vessels.”

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV)

Clay jars are weak, fragile, and subject to being broken. But like the pitchers used by Gideon’s army (See Judges 7:15-25), they may be broken for a purpose. When the jar is broken, the light within shines brightly and does not go unnoticed, it may have a powerful effect. Numerous people throughout Christian history have been “broken,” only to reveal the great power of the Spirit of God. “Charlotte Elliott for instance was a woman who suffered from an unknown illness for decades. As you can imagine, the hopelessness and discomfort that came with her condition left her bitter and harsh. After some time she began to warm to the idea of giving her life to Christ. Upon the visiting of a Swiss preacher, Elliott finally understood that she could come to Christ just as she was. Years later this sentiment would be written into one of Elliott’s poems before it was put to music. Today, “Just As I Am” is one of the most popular invitational hymns of all time and has been used by many evangelists like Billy Graham. As for Charlotte Elliott’s illness, it stuck with her over the years but she was able to live faithfully until the age of 82.”

When difficult trials seemingly break us, we must trust God. This is the key, that will open up opportunities for God to do amazing things in our lives. The believer is not as fragile as he or she may appear. Paul knew from personal experience that it was possible to be (1) hard-pressed without being crushed; (2) perplexed, but not in despair; (3) persecuted, but not abandoned; (4) struck down, but not destroyed.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NIV)

Like a tabernacle or tent, the earthly body is temporary and far from perfect. At death, believers leave behind their physical bodies and are provided vastly superior heavenly bodies.

“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” 2 Corinthians 5:1 (NIV)

The physical body will perish, but the deeds a believer has done in it (whether good or bad) are the basis for judgment.

Christians – those who are going to heaven because Jesus has forgiven their sins – will discover that God will judge their works too! But this judgment is to evaluate the “spiritual works” we did in this life. It is not for punishment. They will go to heaven because of Jesus’ forgiveness.

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:10 (NASB)

“Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 (NASB)

Give God your best, serve Him voluntarily, with a loving attitude, while you’re here on earth. If you serve God out of obligation, those works might burn. On Judgment Day, God will be looking at our hearts.

In † Christian Love, Susan Osten

Sources: KJV Study Bible, Popular Hymn Writers of the 1800S: Worship Through History – By KFA – September 17, 2017