Looking around at Christian behaviour today, I have to ask myself if many are aware of why we need to live our lives on this earth with eternity in mind. If we know and understand what God has revealed about the end time, it should cause us to live now with eternity in mind. I have always told my children that what we do with Jesus after we are saved will determine our lives in Heaven forever. How can we specifically focus on living for Jesus with Heaven in mind?
We can share the Gospel regularly. In light of eternity, it is vital that we make time to obey Christ’s Great Commission on a regular basis. Our time here is indeed very limited. It can be gone in the blink of an eye. The missionary, Amy Carmichael, once wrote “We shall have all eternity to celebrate the victories, but we have only the few hours before sunset in which to win them.” And contrary to some opinions, it is not just the Pastor’s or Missionary’s job to “go and tell.” Once we are Saved by Jesus’ blood, we are all His disciples. Mark 16:15-16 “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
We will give an account. 2 Corinthians 5:10 During the Tribulation time on earth, we will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” This judgment is not the same as the Great White Throne Judgment. It is not to determine if we are going to Heaven or Hell. Jesus’ blood has already cleansed us from all our sin – I John 2:2 “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our’s only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” It is not to judge us for every wicked thing we have done, those sins were already judged at the cross. It is to test what we have done for Christ.
Just as a competitor in an athletic competition would stand before the ancient bema seat to receive his reward, so we will stand before our Lord to receive our rewards for our faithful service to Him after we took Him as our Lord and Master.The Judgment Seat of Christ is to reward us for the works that we do for God now, but they must be done with pure motives, not fleshly, selfish motives. I Corinthians 3:12-15 “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”
Have you ever received a ribbon or trophy after you competed in an event? You were rewarded for the skill you did develop, but the moments you could have been training but didn’t, or the moments you spent in a counter-productive way to your training, weren’t revealed during the giving of the rewards. Those moments were simply wasted–the only “punishment” being a loss of a higher reward.
Scripture mentions at least 5 rewards, or Crowns that we can win. Every child of God should have a goal to win each of these crowns. Why? Because we will have the chance to cast them at Jesus’ feet, giving Him the honor He deserves. After all, was it not He who took our punishment on the Cross, is it not He who enables us to serve Him? I will never forget how excited I became when I first learned about the Bema Seat Judgment and the Crowns that I might receive for what I do for the Lord now. I still experience that excitement when I am reminded of these rewards. Not because I want anything for my service, but because I believe when we see our Lord face to face, in His Holy presence, we will immediately be convicted about not having done more for He who took our punishment so that we can live in bliss forever with Him. I will be so happy to take those crowns and lay them at the feet of my Saviour, for without Him, I would not be there.
- The Crown of Righteousness: This crown is given to those who look forward to the return of Christ. 2 Timothy 4:8 “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” I do not know how a true child of God could not be excitedly looking forward to Jesus’ appearing as we are ‘caught up in the air.” It is our great Hope to share with the world!
- The Crown of Life: This is the martyr’s crown, but it is also given to those who overcome temptation. James 1:12 “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” Revelation 2:10 “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” I believe that when we are persecuted by evil for Christ’s sake, God bathes us in His Grace to endure.
- The Incorruptible Crown: This is given to those who exhibit temperance or moderation in their lives. It is the result of yielding to the Holy Spirit and being a testimony to those around us. I Corinthians 9:25 “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.”
- The Crown of Rejoicing: This crown is given to those who have given their lives to reach people for Christ. The reason it is called a crown of rejoicing is because there is no greater joy than being used to win someone to Christ. Even the angels in Heaven rejoice when a lost soul turns from sin to newness in life in Christ Jesus! And they do not take part in the honor we have of being an Ambassador for Him as we lead others to God’s Saving Grace. I Thessalonians 2:19 “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?”
- The Crown of Glory: This crown is given to those who faithfully help lead people in the Word of God. It is not reserved only for pastors. Every child of God should be actively involved in teaching someone else. I Peter 5:4 “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” The most exciting moment of the Judgment Seat of Christ is what we have the privilege to do with these rewards–cast them at Jesus’ feet in grateful worship. Revelation 4:10-11 “The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
Every day, we are in the middle of a spiritual battle. satan actively works to resist us and to resist our efforts to live for God. We must always remember, however, that God is greater, and that He has given us the resources to live each day in victory. Here are a few practical ways we can live in light of eternity:
“Put on” the whole armor of God. Every day, think through the various pieces of the armor of God, and make a decision to “wear” each piece. Ephesians 6:10-20 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth (Belt of truth-Believing in God’s truth to protect us from deception and lies; having honesty and integrity about our lives), and having on the breastplate of righteousness (Doing right); And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace (Being conscious of our testimony, ready to witness and bringing the gospel to others); Above all, taking the shield of faith (Trusting God), wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation (Remembering God’s grace that saved us and being assured of His promise), and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints (Praying for others); And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”
Tell others about Christ, and invest in their spiritual growth. The most important way we can prepare for eternal rewards to cast at Jesus’ feet is to lead others to Christ, and invest in their spiritual growth.
We must live every day looking forward to Jesus’ return. Like a bride anticipating her wedding day, remember Christ’s coming. This thought brings both joy and diligence!