Gospel of John [20:19]. Christ's Resurrection, part 20 (fellowship with Christ and the Father - Agape).
John brings us to the result of abiding in God in time - confidence on the day of the Bema Seat of Christ.
By this, love is perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.
It must be made very clear that our loving God and our fellow man with God's agape love does not earn rewards or give us any merit. We can only love Him because He has graciously poured His love into our hearts. We are to love Him fully and love others like He does because we fully belong to Him. We are not independent to Him but in Him and He in us.
Love towards God does not seek to gain anything, not even God Himself, for He is already yours and you are His.
The very thought of gaining anything, even of gaining God's love, is fundamentally alien to it. It is the free - and in that sense spontaneous - surrender of the heart to God. This is why Christ said that if we love Him we will keep His commands. The believer's love for God loses the character of a deserving achievement and becomes pure and unfeigned. It flows by inescapable necessity from the fact of his belonging unreservedly to God; and being aware of so belonging, it devotes its whole attention to the carrying out of God's will. It is obedience to God, without thought of reward.
"So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, 'We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'"
No one who has believed in Christ need have any fear of judgment.
1CO 3:10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder [architect or chief engineer] I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But let each man be careful how he builds upon it.
1CO 3:11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
1CO 3:12 Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,
We have durable materials and perishable materials.
This refers to production that is permanent, meaning that it is of divine origin and so, eternal; for both the teachers and the listeners.
Shoddy work from the teachers doesn't have to be vicious and harmful. It may only be indifferent and worthless. The shoddy work of the believers who are not teachers can be the same. If the work is motivated by selfishness, various lusts, indifference, apathy, just getting it over with so I can go do what I really want, arrogance, ignorance, etc. it is not of a permanent nature and will not stand.
"And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act upon them [works], will be like a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand. "And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and it fell, and great was its fall."
1CO 3:13 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.
The day is the Bema Seat of Christ - the believer's day of evaluation, here and 1TH 5:4; ROM 13:12; HEB 10:25.
We find this day mentioned in four other passages.
1TH 5:1 Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you [Paul taught them when he was there].
1TH 5:2 For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.
1TH 5:3 While they are saying, "Peace and safety!" then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
This verse fully debunks the postmillennialist view that Christ will come only when a golden age of righteousness and justice is upon the earth. It is clear here that the world will be unconverted when He comes for His church. Postmillennialism has waned over the last several decades as man has gotten less optimistic that they can establish such a golden age upon the earth and has given rise to amillennialism which was first expounded by Augustine in which he taught that the Millennium was spiritually fulfilled in the Christian church. Although the church is a part of a kingdom, it has nothing to do with the Millennial kingdom, which is the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant. Others have rejected Augustinian amillennialism in favor of a different kind, stating that the millennial kingdom is formed in heaven by the dead in Christ. Postmillennialism and amillennialism fail because they both fail to interpret prophecy literally but rather allegorize prophecy to fit their views.
Saying peace and safety is the act of man is determining that he has provided security for himself and has need of nothing from God. They will not expect His coming.
1TH 5:4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief;
1TH 5:5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness;
1TH 5:6 so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.
1TH 5:7 For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night.
1TH 5:8 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.
1TH 5:9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
1TH 5:10 who died for us, that whether we are awake or asleep [alive or dead], we may live together with Him.
1TH 5:11 Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you also are doing.
ROM 13:8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
ROM 13:9 For this, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
ROM 13:10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law.
ROM 13:11 And this do, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation [deliverance] is nearer to us than when we believed.
ROM 13:12 The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside [aorist middle - act upon yourself and don't put it off] the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
ROM 13:13 Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.
ROM 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
HEB 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;
HEB 10:24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,
HEB 10:25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.
1PE 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1PE 1:4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
Too often the emphasis on this verse is that the believer who loses rewards will know that they continue in heaven somewhere, but I hardly ever see in the scripture the process of what God will do for the believer who fails, but rather I see what God will do for the believer who succeeds. Therefore, I believe the emphasis on this verse should be centered upon what we may lose on earth. In suffering in the way that Christ suffered we may lose things that are presently upon the earth and the encouragement here is that your inheritance, that is reserved for you in heaven, will not decay, nor will it fade away and so it is perfectly suited for the divine good works that have those same characteristics.
1PE 1:5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1PE 1:6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,
1PE 1:7 that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
1PE 1:8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
1PE 1:9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.
1CO 3:12 Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,
1CO 3:13 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 [dokimazo] of each man's work.
The fire must not be understood as purgatorial, but simply of testing in the way fire would test the quality of building material.
What is the best way to test fire-proofing material?
It is not the quantity of work that will be revealed but the quality. Wood, hay, and straw will decay over time no matter how much of it there is.
What is evaluated is the work or production. Sins and failures will never be brought up in heaven but the work will be tested [dokimazo] for quality.
MAT 20:8 "And when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last group to the first.'
MAT 20:9 "And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each one received a denarius.
MAT 20:10 "And when those hired first came, they thought that they would receive more; and they also received each one a denarius.
MAT 20:11 "And when they received it, they grumbled at the landowner,
MAT 20:12 saying,' These last men have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day.'
MAT 20:13 "But he answered and said to one of them, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius?
MAT 20:14 'Take what is yours and go your way, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you.
MAT 20:15 'Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious [poneros = evil] because I am generous [agathos = good]?'
MAT 20:16 "Thus the last shall be first, and the first last."
The background of this parable is agape love. In spontaneous, unmotivated love, the vineyard owner gives the late comers a reward far exceeding what they could claim. Those who have worked longest, bound as they are by the idea of the due proportion that justice demands, now reckon to the owner that they ought to receive more than the others. When this expectation is disappointed they grumble.
Although it is of grace that the others have received more than they have earned, and although the whole idea of merit and reward have been completely transcended, yet the grumblers regard themselves as entitled to receive more than the others. They actually use the principle of grace to establish a heightened legal claim.
Where agape love is found, the order of legal justice is invalid and obsolete. But to those who wish to maintain the legal order, goodness itself becomes a cause for offence. ["is your eye evil because I am good"]
It is a matter of motivated justice verses unmotivated love.
1CO 3:14 If any man's work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward.