When I was a boy, my dad would give me summer chores to accomplish while he was at work—anything from cleaning off the work bench to weeding the garden. I had all day to fulfill his requests and also had some time for my own enjoyment. But I knew that when Dad got home from work I would have to answer to him for what I had gotten done that day. I knew that I would have to give an account of what I was given to do! There were positive forms of motivation to reward me for getting the job done well, and then there were deterring “disincentives” to help me decide not to stray from the task at hand.
As Christians, God has given us certain responsibilities to fulfill before His return! In 2 Corinthians 5, the apostle Paul lists a number of motivations for getting the job done!
1. 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.”—2 Corinthians 5:9–10
Allow me to share a particular story of me as a boy doing chores for my dad on a Saturday afternoon. It was my job to wash the van most every Saturday before we would go to church on Sunday. One particular sunny Saturday afternoon, I was getting out the supplies to wash the van and I thought to myself, “I bet Dad would really be happy with me if I brought him an ice cream cone!” I jumped on my bike and rode a half mile to the store, bought him an ice cream cone, sped back to the house, and ran inside! “Dad, Guess what I did for you! I bought you this ice cream cone.” Dad responded, “Thank you for the ice cream, but I asked you to wash the van. Did you finish what I asked you to?” Dismayed, I put my head down. “No sir.” Dad replied, “I would rather you obey me than buy me an ice cream cone.” Immediately, I went outside and washed the van.
It wasn’t about what I thought needed to be done; it was about what he wanted me to accomplish.
God has a special work for each of His children. He knows what is best and what will bring us greatest fulfillment. Doing His will brings us more fulfillment than anything else we could ever imagine.
2. The Terror of the Lord
Second Corinthians 5:11 reminds us of the eternal punishment for those who do not receive Christ when it states, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.”
The lake of fire should motivate me to tell others about the Saviour and to serve Him faithfully with my life. God has called every believer to be a witness of the Gospel. This call is not exclusive to pastors, evangelists and missionaries. The reason that God wants each of us to be sharing the Gospel is that He wants people to be saved. God could have made salvation difficult; instead He made it as simple as possible” so simple even a child can understand and obey. Salvation is not cheap. Jesus paid an unspeakable price that our sins could be forgiven and we could be reconciled to God. But salvation is simple.
3. The Love of Christ
“For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart. For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”—2 Corinthians 5:12–14
The word constrain means “to cause a person to give in to pressure.” Synonyms: to coerce, to compel, to make, to obligate, to drive.
“He said ‘Love...as I have loved you.’ We cannot love too much.”—Amy Carmichael
There is no force in the universe greater than the love of Christ! His love for us should motivate us to live for Him!
4. Ambassadors for Christ
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.”—2 Corinthians 5:15–20
“Have you ever realized that you can give things to God that are of value to Him? Or are you just sitting around daydreaming about the greatness of His redemption, while neglecting all the things you could be doing for Him? I’m not referring to works which could be regarded as divine and miraculous, but ordinary, simple human things—things which would be evidence to God that you are totally surrendered to Him.”—Oswald Chambers
What a privilege it is to be the representative of Jesus Christ! As a Christian, how have you represented the Lord today? Are you willing to live your life unselfishly each day in order to point others to Christ? Have you shared His love with someone this week?
5. Jesus’ Perfect Record for My Sinful Life
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”—2 Corinthians 5:21
Years ago, a well-known evangelist was pulled over for speeding in a small southern town and taken to traffic court. The preacher pleaded guilty because he had been speeding. Recognizing him, the judge said, "You are guilty and the fine must be paid, but I am going to pay it for you." The preacher said that not only did the judge pay the fine, but after court the judge took him out for a steak dinner. The preacher said, "That is how God treats repentant sinners!"
We are all sinners. But when we trusted Christ as our Saviour, God in mercy and grace replaced our debt with the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ. Nothing will ever be laid to our charge. We were guilty, but Jesus paid the price of our sins on the cross, and through faith we have received justification through His blood. No sin will ever be held against us. But there is even more. Not only has God freely given us salvation and removed the penalty and guilt of sin, but He also promises to freely give us all of the things that we need to live for Him.
The Holy Spirit of God enables us to fulfill God’s calling for our lives on a daily basis. He has given us motivation, and we have a mission: to carry the Gospel of Christ to the lost and to live in a way that would be becoming of the Gospel of Christ!