Ephesians 4:7-16; Wisdom requires fear of the Lord, part 5.

Class Outline:

Thursday July 22, 2021


Our deeds will be judged by Christ, but every day they are manifest to God.


JER 17:10

“I, the Lord, search the heart,

I test the mind,

Even to give to each man according to his ways,

According to the results of his deeds.”


When Paul wrote to the Corinthians about the judgement seat of Christ, they undoubtedly remembered Paul’s own experience before the judgment seat of the Roman governor of Achaia, Gallio in the Corinthian agora.


The judgment seat [Greek: bema] of Christ is an image Paul takes from the Roman bema (judgment from the governor).


The imagery used for the future moment when all in the church must appear is that of the forensic process whereby the Roman governor sat on his tribunal to hear accusation and defense of an accused person standing before him.


ACT 18:12-17

But while Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him before the judgment seat [bema], 13 saying, "This man persuades men to worship God contrary to the law." 14 But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, "If it were a matter of wrong or of vicious crime, O Jews, it would be reasonable for me to put up with you; 15 but if there are questions about words and names and your own law, look after it yourselves; I am unwilling to be a judge of these matters." 16 And he drove them away from the judgment seat. 17 And they all took hold of Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and began beating him in front of the judgment seat. And Gallio was not concerned about any of these things.


The judge, Gallio, is fair to a certain extent, but uncaring of the fate of the falsely accused. He contrasts the divinely just Judge, Jesus Christ.


Jesus stood before the judgment seat [bema] of Pilate who deferred to the people, and Christ was judged by them.


JOH 19:12-16

As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, "If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar." 13 When Pilate therefore heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, "Behold, your King!" 15 They therefore cried out, "Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar." 16 So he then delivered Him to them to be crucified.


In the midst of Paul’s extensive code of conduct for the body of Christ in Rom 12-15, he warns us of the judgment seat.


ROM 14:10-12

But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For it is written,


"As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me,

And every tongue shall give praise to God."


12 So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God.


That we would remember this when we are tempted to judge or treat with contempt another believer, even when they are in the wrong or sinning. If only to the Supreme Lord will we give an account, then who are we to judge the conduct of another? We are only to love them, do good to them, and pray for them, and if we don’t love them in this way, “how are we extraordinary?” or “what you?”


Peter saw in the Lord’s teaching on forgiveness, that if he forgave his brother of one offense, the offender is likely to repeat it. So, he asked the Lord how many times he should forgive his brother, and knowing the Jewish common rule of three, he more than doubled it to seven in a show of his own endurance. By proposing any limit whatever to forgiveness Peter showed that he still considered that to forgive was an exceptional thing, forgetting the Lord’s teaching that we are made exceptional by Him. To forgive was to forego a right which must at some time be reassumed, and that was not an eternal law of the kingdom but only a tentative measure which at any moment may be revoked; that underneath the forgiveness we extend to an erring brother there lies a right to revenge which we may at times assert.


Eternal security, reconciliation, righteous in Christ forever was reconcilable to Paul with judgment of deeds.


The explanation must be that believers are not going to face condemnation at Christ’s tribunal (ROM 5:12-21; 8:1) but rather an evaluation with a view to the Lord’s commendation given or withheld.


1CO 4:1-5

Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy. 3 But to me it is a very small thing that I should be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. 4 For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. 5 Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God.


Paul gives us a great example. He sets forth every day to be a faithful and trustworthy steward of God’s gifts to him, but he does not judge himself to be great or good. That doesn’t mean he is not conscious of his sin, ROM 7:14-25. He is not conscious of anything against himself, but he knows that doesn’t mean he hasn’t done anything bad. So then, he doesn’t judge others’ deeds either.


The Lord’s parable of the faithful steward (LUK 12:42-48) also applies to this doctrine.


The passage is long for reading aloud, but it is worth hearing it all in the right context.


LUK 12:1-14

Under these circumstances, after so many thousands of the multitude had gathered together that they were stepping on one another, He began saying to His disciples first of all, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 "But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. 3 "Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms shall be proclaimed upon the housetops. 4 "And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5 "But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who after He has killed has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him! 6 "Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? And yet not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 "Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear [anything on earth]; you are of more value than many sparrows. 8 "And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men [Satan will try to make you afraid to do so], the Son of Man shall confess him also before the angels of God [commendation from Christ]; 9 but he who denies Me before men shall be denied before the angels of God [commendation withheld].