Judgment Seat of Christ
1 Peter 1:17–19
1 Peter Lesson #047
April 21, 2016
“Father, we’re again grateful for all of Your many blessings towards us. Your grace toward us and the way that you provide for all of our needs, the way You provide and sustain us in every area of our lives. Father we continue to pray for all the folks in the church who are having difficulty, some without jobs, some challenges with their health. We pray for each one. We pray that You would sustain them and that during their time of testing, it will be a time when they grow closer to You and walk in closer obedience to You.
Father, we continue to pray for George Mueller and his healing, for the family, and the things that went on with the flooding. Father we pray that would just have tremendous opportunities to witness to those who are around them.
We’re thankful that Jeff and Doug had a very spiritually successful trip down to Brazil and we continue to pray for them. We pray for Jim Myers as he heads to Zambia and pray that You’ll enable him to have a very successful ministry there as he addresses the topic of spiritual warfare.
We pray that You would challenge us with what we study this evening and that we might come to think in terms of the long view and the endgame in terms of our spiritual life. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”
We are in 1 Peter, chapter 1 and we’re talking about the judgment that comes for every believer at the Judgment Seat of Christ. It’s been interesting. I began with this last Thursday night and we covered it from a different vantage point as part of a review lesson on Sunday. I always get a lot of positive response from folks when I synthesize and summarize things like that.
Now we’re continuing it tonight so there’s a review and an overlap. Sometimes people may think they keep hearing the same thing. But remember, Matthew is in the Matthew series and Peter is in the 1 Peter series and sometimes the people who listen to these out of order and not by sitting here are not getting this in the concentrated dose that you all are.
They’re listening to Matthew straight through and they’re listening to 1 Peter straight through so they don’t necessarily go over and listen to the complementary lessons.
We’re going to look to the Judgment Seat of Christ tonight in a number of different ways. Just a reminder of where we are in 1 Peter 1:13–16. Peter is beginning to address the spiritual life. One way we know this is that Peter begins to use imperatives, commands to give instructions to his readers on what they need to do.
It grows out of what he says in the first twelve verses where he mentions inheritance. He mentions suffering. He indicates future rewards, so the first two mandates are found in 1 Peter 1:13 and 15. “To rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought for you.” So it is future orientation.
So it is a hope. Hope is a problem-solving device. It is our personal sense of our eternal destiny. 1 Peter 1:15. We are to be holy in all of our conduct. That word “conduct” is also an important word. Here it’s the noun form.
Then we run into the verb form in 1 Peter 1:17, that we are to “conduct ourselves throughout the time of our stay here in fear.” Here it’s in the imperative. That summarizes what we’ve said so far.
It’s basically three things. We’re to live on the basis of hope, that’s related to the future revelation of the grace of God. That will be manifest when Jesus appears, and that is followed by the Judgment Seat of Christ. We’re to live in light of our future. We’re to live in light of eternity. That’s the problem-solving device of our personal sense of our eternal destiny.
We’re to be holy. That relates to two of the problem-solving devices. Confession of sin, whereby we move from being experientially walking in darkness and not in the light to where we’re walking in the light and we’re living a life set apart unto God.
This focuses on the two other problem-solving devices: grace orientation as well as doctrinal orientation.
Then the third command is to live your life based on the fear of God. That relates to doctrinal orientation.
Remember in the Old Testament what is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge? It’s the fear of the Lord [Proverbs 9:10] so that is doctrinal orientation where we learn the Word of God and God strengthens our soul with His Word. That develops into our personal love for God as we come to understand all that He has done and all that He has provided for us.
As we came out of that, I raised the question of how do we achieve this holy life? So many people have erroneous ideas about holy living. They confuse holy living with moral living. Not that holy living is immoral, but it’s different. An unbeliever can live a moral life. Someone who is involved in a cult can live a moral life.
The moral life is very different from the spiritual life. The spiritual life is enhanced and empowered by the Word of God and the Spirit of God as that which sets it apart as distinct from simply moral living.
First of all we need to think as God thinks (Romans 12:2). We need to quit thinking like Satan and the world think. That’s the same verse, Romans 12:2. We are not to be conformed to the world, which is Satan’s system of thinking manifested through the various cultures of the world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
Third, we need to focus on the end game. That’s what Peter is talking about consistently, all the way through here, that our present behavior needs to be shaped by our understanding of what takes place in the future at the Judgment Seat of Christ and beyond.
In 1 Peter 1:17 he says, “And if you call on the Father …” Then he defines the Father in terms of future judgment. He is the One “who without partiality judges according to each one’s work.”
I pointed out last time that this phrase of judging without partiality according to each one’s work is sandwiched between two uses of the word that’s translated “conduct”. That’s our behavior, the sum total of our lifestyle.
1 Peter 1:15, “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.” That’s the noun ANASTROPHE. This word is a very broad word. The root meaning of this word means to turn around, but it came to be applied in one of its several key nuances to refer to a person’s conduct, a person’s way of life.
It’s used in the Old Testament to refer to a person’s walk, their lifestyle, how they walk, how they live. That’s the sum total there. 1 Peter 1:15 uses the noun and 1 Peter 1:17 uses the verb in terms of the command to conduct yourselves, that is to live your life, to manage your way of life, to oversee your lifestyle through the time of our stay here by means of fear. That is fear of God.
That takes us back to an objective standard which is the Word of God. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. We’re to get wisdom and knowledge. We get that from the Word of God. It takes us back to doctrinal orientation.
This word becomes a very important word. We have the verb form here and we also have the noun form that shows up in various other verses. So the noun form is the word ANASTROPHE.
We see that in verse 15 which we just talked about. Then we’ll see it again when we get into 1 Peter 1:18. The structure and the grammar of verse 18 give us the reason for the command. We are to conduct our lives in fear. Why, on what basis? How do we do that?
It’s because we know something about why we were saved and how we were saved. Sometimes I hear people and I’ve been critical too when you go to some churches and you sort of hear the gospel a thousand and one ways and then you repeat. After ten years you’re heard the gospel maybe ten thousand times. Each one’s a little different, but it just never gets off of the dime into the spiritual life.
You can be critical of that and I can be critical of that because there’s so much more that needs to be taught from the Word. One of the values of that is that it constantly reminds people of what was done to save us. That is valuable. That is what Peter is getting at here. The motivation.
One motivation of our spiritual life is having a great appreciation for what the Lord Jesus Christ went through on the Cross, the full dimension of that salvation, and what He provided for us in terms of eternal life.
This idea of our lifestyle, how we live, is a major theme all through both 1 Peter and 2 Peter. In 2 Peter it’s used with some negative adjectives to talk about not having an empty or negative lifestyle, a wrong lifestyle, but here in 1 Peter it’s mostly positive.
In 1 Peter 2:12 in just the next chapter he says, “Having your conduct [living your lifestyle] honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
Just like in 1 Peter 1:17 that uses the verb ANASTREPHO in close connection with the command to be holy and in relation to works, so we have that same connection here in 1 Peter 2:12, saying that works relate to the general lifestyle of any believer. It’s not just focusing on any specific moral actions or obedience to the Law but it refers to our overall conduct at all times.
In 1 Peter 3 Peter relates it to the lifestyle of wives. He says that wives are to be submissive to their own husbands. “Even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct [lifestyle, everything from priorities to behavior] of their wives when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.” Here we have this term “conduct” once again associated with the word fear.
When we get to 1 Peter 3:16 Peter says, “Having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct [same word] in Christ may be ashamed.” So this is Peter’s emphasis here and this is why when he brings this up in 1 Peter 1:17 he’s talking about the fact that God is judging each one according to their work.
Last time I pointed out that there are two basic judgments that come in the future. We looked more specifically at the Great White Throne Judgment and I brought in this chart with a timeline going back to the cross. We have the present Church Age ending with the Rapture at which time we have the Judgment Seat of Christ, known as the Bema Seat.
This is followed by the seven years of Tribulation and the Second Coming of Christ. This involves the first resurrections: Christ the first fruits, then the Rapture of the Church, the two witnesses that are taken to Heaven (translated to Heaven at the mid-point of the Tribulation), and then the resurrection of the Old Testament and the Tribulational martyrs at the end of the Tribulation.
Then there’s a judgment for the nations, the separation of the sheep and the goats. There’s a judgment for the Antichrist and the False Prophet who are sent directly to the Lake of Fire. These judgments take place. There are also judgments of the Jews who survive, the Gentiles who survive, the Old Testament saints, and Tribulation saints.
These are the ones who die as well as those who survive. Then we have the Millennial Kingdom, and the Second Resurrection, which is the unsaved. That’s the Great White Throne judgment where we saw last time that they are judged according to their works.
The last thing that happens is Satan is cast into the Lake of Fire following the rebellion at the end of the Millennial Kingdom.
We have this judgment according to their works. What we saw last time was that based on Titus 2, Ephesians 2:8–9, and Romans 4 and Galatians 2:16, we are not justified by works. We are not saved according to our works. So what is this judgment according to works? It has to mean that it has to do with something than our eternal destiny, something other than going to Heaven.
It has to do with our rewards and roles and responsibilities in the Kingdom and on into the Eternal State. At the very end of the New Testament in Revelation 22:12 Jesus says, “And behold, I am coming quickly [when I come all of these things will happen very rapidly, one after another] and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.”
A definite connection there. Rewards are earned. They’re not freely given. Salvation is freely given so there’s a distinction between rewards and salvation. Salvation is freely given.
Rewards can be lost, that is, the potential rewards cannot be realized through failure and lack of spiritual service and spiritual growth. In 2 John 8 John says, “Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.”
Again John is talking about works. That’s the lifestyle of the believer in terms of obedience.
That brought us to talking about the Judgment Seat of Christ. I don’t think we got a whole lot further than this. One of the things I didn’t get to last time due to a lack of time, but I talked about a way in which you can witness to Jewish people by going through this issue of righteousness.
We’re not saved according to works of righteousness. Galatians 5:16 says we’re not justified by the works of the Law. So how was someone justified in the Old Testament? We went through passages in the Old Testament like Isaiah 64:6 talking about “our works of righteousness are like filthy rags.”
How do we get righteous? Abraham in Genesis 15:6 received righteousness by faith. Because of his faith God imputed to him righteousness. We then looked at Isaiah 53:10–12 that it is the Righteous Servant, God’s Suffering Servant, who is righteous and will justify many.
All through those verses the key word is tzedaqah, which is the word that resonates in Rabbinical theology in the Second Temple period and on into present Judaism as good works and good deeds. Sometimes they even translate it as charity.
The question often comes up about how Jews were saved? Are they saved today on the same basis they were saved in the Old Testament or in the New Testament? Or, are they saved in another way?
Some people see there are many, very pious Jews. This has been a motivation from several groups, as I mentioned in the past, to somehow try to change the dynamics of how Jewish people are saved. Are they saved on the basis of another covenant, which is one view?
Others say no, that we misunderstood what Paul is talking about when he talks about the works of the Law. That that just refers to the ceremonial and doesn’t refer to the moral aspects of the Law.
Jews are saved by trusting in Jesus as the Messiah just as every person is. That’s our only means of salvation. Some people ask what about a situation like the Holocaust. What about the Holocaust?
There were almost six million Jews who were killed in the Holocaust. They were rounded up like cattle, horribly put in box cars, taken off to places like Treblinka and Auschwitz where they were just basically taken off the trains and put in gas chambers or shot. How would they ever hear about the gospel? Have you ever wondered about that? Have you ever thought that maybe a few of them heard about the gospel?
Let me tell you. I’ve been doing a lot of reading. As you know, I’m leaving in another week to go to Israel to study in a study course at Yad Vashem on the holocaust, so I’ve been doing a lot of background reading and checking on a few things.
One of the issues that comes up, and I’ve read extensively on this, is that it just seems like a massive conspiracy of ineptness and procrastination as well as some anti-Semitism that prevented anyone from rescuing the Jewish people. The question is why people didn’t speak up more.
Of course, who is the usual whipping boy for most people? Can you think of the word? If you’re thinking fundamentalist or dispensationalist, you’ve got it. We’re everybody’s whipping boy. “Those ‘fundies’ are just passive. They never get involved in social things. They’re just concerned about the gospel.”
That’s actually not true. What I’m reading from is a book, rather a doctrinal dissertation by Jim Owen who teaches at the Master’s Seminary called The Hidden History of the Historic Fundamentalists 1933–1948: Reconsidering the Historic Fundamentalists’ Response to the Upheavals, Hardships, and Horrors of the 1930s and 1940s. He has done a masterful work at demonstrating that the fundamentalists were not these passive, do-nothing kind of people. They were involved, but their priority was always the gospel. He makes that clear in a lot of different areas.
I haven’t read everything in this dissertation. I’ve spot-read it and read different chapters. One of the things we ought to remember is that coming out of the fundamentalist/modernist controversy in the beginning of the 20th century is that most of the major denominations managed to hang on to the universities, the colleges, the seminaries, the churches, the properties, and the money.
What happens is that by the end of the 1920s, the Bible-believing Christians who have separated don’t have the schools and the money and the bank accounts any more. They are limited in terms of what they can do. They weren’t totally without some prestige. Owen points out there were several major journals such as Moody Monthly, Donald Grey Barnhouse’s journal called Revelation, another journal called The King’s Business, another journal called The Sunday School Times, and Prophecy Monthly that did publish articles.
The fundamentalists, dispensational fundamentalist, were among the very first, if not the very first, to warn about the Holocaust. Where did they get their information? They got their information from many Jewish missionary Hebrew Christian-based mission organizations such as the London Society for the Propagation of the Gospel Among the Jews that had had missionaries in Eastern Europe for almost 100 years—at least since the 1830s.
As a result of that, there was a huge revival that took place in Eastern Europe in what was known as the Pale of Settlement. Today we refer to it as the Baltic States, Lithuania, Latvia, and those areas such as Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, and, of course, the boundaries have all changed since that time.
A lot was going on. One thing Owen mentioned here is that every year at Moody Memorial Church in Chicago they had what they called then “Palestine Week”. Today they call it “Israel Week”. Back then Palestine meant Israel and it referred to Jews. The Palestinians were Jews until Arafat co-opted the term in the early 1960s.
Owen points out that in one of the sermons the pastor was quoting an article that was published in a Jewish Orthodox publication. They had printed a telegram from Poland where they were complaining that it was reaching almost a plague proportion of the number of young people willingly converting to Christianity. Isn’t that interesting?
See, because there was this close connection between the evangelicals in the U.S. and these Hebrew missionary groups, those Hebrew missionary groups were also feeding intelligence back to their home churches, back to their home organizations, that was talking about the increase in anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe and the impact of the gospel in Eastern Europe.
As early as 1931, Donald Grey Barnhouse, who was the pastor of the Tenth Philadelphia Church in Philadelphia, was sort of the Chuck Swindoll or John MacArthur in his generation. He was on the radio all the time. He had many different publications. He published a regular magazine, maybe monthly. He was the editor of it and as early as 1931 he was drawing attention to Hitler’s views in Germany and how his fellow fascist wanted to ghettoize them.
In 1933 he devoted at least four major articles in the issues [of his magazine] dealing with anti-Semitism. He also talked about everything beginning to happen in Germany. In an editorial entitled “Blood of the Jews”, he stressed, yet again, because of the growing anti-Semitism [which resonates today] that Christians must go out of their way to speak kindly to the Jews and support them.
In an article called “Tomorrow Jewish Travail”, he dealt with the increasing acts of anti-Semitism in Germany which, because it was so widespread, it had to have the approval of the government. That is, what he’s saying is that there were so many of these incidents taking place that the government had to approve of them. It goes on to talk about those things.
During the Chafer Conference we had a Jewish missionary here. Have you seen the video of the Seder presentation he did? It was very good. He had a great sense of humor and Bill (Guillermo) Katz was his name. The president of the organization he’s with, Chosen Ministries, is a guy named Mitchell Glaser. He got his Ph.D. from Fuller Seminary.
He’s footnoted in this book and it’s a good summary. He said that he wrote in his doctrinal presentation, which I’m reading right now and it’s just a massive collection of information, a lot of which has its source in not what the missionaries reported saying, “Look this is what we’ve accomplished. We had twenty conversions last week.”
Instead much of his evidence is from citations from letters from Rabbis and organizations in Eastern Europe who are saying, “Give us help because we’ve got so many of our people converting to Christianity.”
Glaser has evidence that entire villages in Lithuania were converting to Christ. This was in the period between World War I and World War II. If you think of that, most of those Jews who converted to Christianity in that time period ended up where? They were being rounded up and sent to the death camps. Do you think they kept their mouths silent? I don’t think so.
In this book he cites statistics that indicate somewhere between 250,000 and 300,000 Jewish Christians were arrested and sent to the death camps. These weren’t converts. They were already Christians before they got sent to the death camps. So you have 250,000 to 300,000 evangelists going to the death camps.
We don’t have any idea how many people heard the gospel and how many people might have responded to the gospel. Glaser says in his dissertation that, “Nothing could compare with the Jewish people who became believers in Jesus between the wars.”
He believes, according to his quote that, “the number of Jews who became Christians during the first third of the 20th century may have been more than 230,000.” He has lots of documentation for that. There’s some other information about that, as well.
Another comment from the President of Moody Bible Institute, Will Houghton, quoted this article that was from a Jewish Orthodox publication. It says, “Just before the breakup of Poland, the New York Morning Journal, which is the official organ of Jewish Orthodoxy in America, published a cable from Warsaw that said the spread of Christianity among the Jewish school youth in Warsaw is truly assuming proportions of a mass movement.” Isn’t that amazing? It’s just phenomenal what was going on at that particular time.
Then there’s a report from the Swedish-Israel Mission (SIM) that was located in Vienna. They had a church and chapel and cite several similar kinds of documentary evidence that when the Anschluss took place, when Germany took over Austria, it literally scared the hell out of the Jewish community. They realized their days were numbered. They knew to take Hitler seriously.
One of the reports from the SIM mission, which was temporarily closed and then re-opened, said, “For the first time not only the chapel, but even the big entrance hall was crowded by Jews of the highest rank and education and by the poorest as well. Now all were eager to listen to the gospel of salvation and life everlasting. None of us will ever forget that service. Not only because of the spirit resting upon the congregation, but because it began a wonderful revival that lasted summer and winter until June 1941 when the Gestapo forbade the preaching of the gospel to the Jews. During that time hundreds of Jews in Vienna were converted and became believing Christians. Many of them had to suffer even death for Christ and thus, won the crown of glory. The hunger for the Word of God was so great that at the outbreak of the war in September 1939, we had to double the morning service every Sunday. These, our fellow Christians, received strength of belief so desperately needed in the times ahead.”
Isn’t that tremendous? We never know whenever we witness, whenever we give the gospel to anyone, that the seed is being planted and how God’s going to use that or how it’s going to grow. We need to be prepared and have this skill set ready to use whenever we’re witnessing to anyone.
Memorize about fifteen or twenty good verses, Old Testament and New Testament. Be able to give someone the entire gospel without ever leaving the Old Testament. Always be ready as we’ll learn in 1 Peter 3:15 to give an answer for the hope that is in you.
We will be evaluated. It’s an evaluation to expose how much we did in obedience, not to show how much we failed.
2 Corinthians 5:10 says “we must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ so that each one can be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”
We need to understand this a little bit. I want to go through some of the details. BEMA is the word there and refers to the dais, which refers to an elevated platform.
This is seen historically. Here is the judgment seat of Gallio in Corinth. I showed you these pictures last time.
This is a picture of when I was there a few years ago with Tommy, Tim LaHaye, and Ed Hindson. This is where judgments took place.
The basis for this judgment is the work. This is talked about in this passage.
Remember it’s sandwiched in between the two uses of the word ANASTREPHO. The verb and the noun are both used there indicating the product of someone’s life. That’s going to come back when we look at the 1 Corinthians 3 passage dealing with the Judgment Seat of Christ. It’s the product of our life that is being evaluated.
This is the same word that Jesus used in Revelation 22:12, “My reward is with me to give to every man according to his work.”
As we saw in Ephesians 2:8–9 and Titus 3:5 we are not saved on the basis of work. This is something else. This is the works that are mentioned in Ephesians 2:10, a verse that many people don’t memorize. They memorize Ephesians 2:8–9 but they don’t memorize Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.”
That doesn’t mean if you don’t have them that you weren’t saved but that’s your purpose. That’s why we were saved, so that we enter into Christian service. We grow to maturity and we serve the Lord in many different ways, but these works are not just doing good, not just serving the Lord, not just being involved in different things. There’s a prerequisite and that prerequisite is being in fellowship.
It’s walking by the Spirit. When we’re out of fellowship then according to Romans 8:1–10 we’re walking according to the sin nature and not according to the Spirit. In Galatians 5:16, we either walk according to the flesh or we walk by means of the Spirit. He works in us and produces this divine good to separate it from human good or moral good, which is what anyone can produce. It’s distinguished this way.
Now we go back to 2 Corinthians 5:10 and I just want to point out the verbs that are used in the Greek. It starts off that we must all appear. This word in the Greek is the word DEI which indicates absolute necessity. We must. We have to. This is not an option. Everyone must be evaluated because this is how we are prepared for the coming Kingdom.
If you go in the military and you go through boot camp or basic training, when you come out, depending on how well you did in basic training, you get assigned your basic skill. In the army it’s your MOS. I don’t know if they use that terminology in other services or not.
Basically you’re assigned what your job’s going to be. If you do really well, then you’re going to get better options. If you don’t do so well, then you don’t get the better options. This is the idea when we get out of this life, there’s an evaluation and it will be determined what we’re going do in the Millennial Kingdom and on into eternity.
Some people don’t like that idea. They want everybody to end up with the same thing. That’s so much like Marxism it isn’t even funny. We see an element of personal responsibility. The first divine institution comes into play here. How we do, what we do with what God gives us, the potential He gives us at the instant of salvation, becomes the basis for this evaluation.
It’s at the Judgment Seat of Christ, a term which we’ve already talked about a little bit, where we are evaluated. The purpose of the Judgment Seat of Christ is explained by this purpose clause that begins after the word “that”. “That each one may receive the things done in the body.” That’s during this life, Phase Two.
It’s an interesting word used for receive. It’s the word KOMIZO, which means an economic transaction. It means to get something back, to get something in return for what you have invested in: to get a return on your effort. To get a return on your labor.
If you go out and you work for someone for eight hours, then your time has certain value and you’re paid a certain amount of money for how much work you do per hour. That’s the idea. You’re going to get back for what you put into it. You’ll receive the things back that are due to you because of what you have done.
That first word, the things done in the body, which is in italics in your English translation because there’s not a Greek word that corresponds to it, but it makes sense and it’s just added for smoothness of reading and understanding in an English Bible.
It says “that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done.” This is an interesting word because a lot of times you look at the word “done” which comes from the word “to do”. The basic word in the Greek for doing something is the word POIEO. You can just do it one time and you’ve done it.
This is the word PRASSO and PRASSO overlaps with POIEO. Sometimes there might not be a hard and fast distinction, but the idea in PRASSO is not just something you’ve done once. It’s something you’ve practiced, something that goes on and on, something that characterizes a person’s life.
That fits with the idea of the conduct, ANASTREPHO, of a person’s life. Then in the body there are two categories of works. There’s good and there’s bad.
There are a couple of Greek words for “good”. This is the word that has to do with something of intrinsic value. Intrinsic value when we get to 1 Corinthians, chapter 3, we’ll see there are six different items that are used to describe our works: gold, silver, and precious stones on the one hand, and wood, hay, and straw on the other hand.
Gold, silver, and precious stones have an intrinsic value. They are going to continue. They are going to endure. That’s why they’re used to illustrate this good of intrinsic value. It’s that which is produced in us by means of God the Holy Spirit as we walk by the Spirit and apply God’s Word. It is God who produces this in us.
It refers to the fruit of the Spirit. It refers to evangelism in some places. It refers to giving. It refers to many different things, overt, as well as in terms of our thinking that relates to the Christian life.
There are actually two words for “bad” in the text. If you’ve got New American Standard version, NIV, ESV, or some of the more modern translations, in about four key older documents, there is the word PHAULOS. It means something of inferior quality or ordinary.
There it would just mean the quality of something that is worthless. As you go through life, as you walk by the Spirit, you’re going to produce what? Good of intrinsic value.
If you are not walking by the Spirit you are going to produce things that are worthless. That’s a more general term, but what else are you producing? Well, in Galatians 5 you are walking according to the flesh, you’re producing sin. That’s what’s in that list.
The Majority Text has the word KAKOS there. I believe the Majority Text is probably the more accurate reading, but some people have objected to this on theological grounds. They say that at the Judgment Seat of Christ we’re not judged for our sins. That’s true. We’re not judged for our sins.
If we haven’t walked by the Spirit, then we’re not going to have anything rewardable. It’s very clear that a rewards statement is made in relation to sin in a believer’s life in Galatians 5:19–21.
At the beginning Paul makes this list. Now remember that a couple of verses earlier in Galatians 5:16 Paul says “Walk by means of the Spirit and you will not bring to conclusion the works of the flesh.” Now he’s going to tell you what the works of the flesh are.
“The works of the flesh are evident.” It’s pretty clear that most people don’t need a whole lot of insight, although if you’ve been a legalistic Christian for a long time you may think that a lot of these aren’t really sins. Every once in a while I run into someone who’s legalistic and they think they haven’t really sinned in a long time because they limit the things that are sinful.
“The works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness …” That’s all overt sins, but the next one, lewdness, is a mental attitude sin related to lust.
Idolatry–now idolatry can be either overt or a mental attitude sin. Paul says that greed is idolatry. Sorcery–that’s the word PHARMAKIA which is the use of hallucinogenic drugs for religious purposes to try to get in touch with God. It involves a lot of different things.
Hatred–a mental attitude sin. Contentions–that’s causing division among people. Jealousy. So contentions can involve sins of the tongue as well as mental attitude sins. Jealousies are mental attitude sins. Outbursts of wrath–that’s both mental attitude sins going to overt sins.
Selfish ambitions–that’s mental attitude sins. Dissensions–that’s the result of mental attitude sins. Heresies–that’s teaching false doctrine. Envy–that’s a mental attitude sin.
Murder–that’s an overt sin. Drunkenness is an overt sin. Revelries is an overt sin. And the like. Ah. That’s an interesting phrase. It’s not an exhaustive list. If your sins aren’t there, it doesn’t mean they’re not sins. There’s not an escape hatch there.
Paul is saying that he could go on and on and on and on. There are a lot of different sin lists in the Bible and they’re not exhaustive. Human beings, because of the power of the sin nature, can be extremely creative when it comes to sin. I’m not going to ask for any testimonies right now. Jeff is prohibited from giving us a testimony related to that when he gives the mission report later. He can’t tell what anyone said on the mission field. Okay. I’m just giving him a hard time.
As Paul finishes in Galatians 5:21 he says, “Of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice …” That’s why I went over to this verse. Practice. It’s that same word we had in 2 Corinthians 5. It’s that word PRASSO.
It’s not referring to those who do such things one time or ten times. No, it’s PRASSO. You’re out of fellowship. You’re not confessing sin and you’re not getting back in fellowship. You’re not turning back to the Lord and dealing with that so as a result you’re just continuously staying out of fellowship and not producing anything of any eternal value.
He says, “That those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Now this is a whole other problem. There are a lot of people who think that inheriting the Kingdom of God is another way of talking about entering into Heaven or being saved. Remember, number one, in this passage Paul is talking to those who are already believers. They’re already justified.
He’s made that very clear all through Galatians that he treats them as those who are clearly justified. But he says that if you keep sinning, it’s not that you’re going to lose your salvation, but you won’t inherit the Kingdom. Inheriting the Kingdom is something that is beyond entering the Kingdom.
They may be in the Kingdom but not have possession or ownership, that is, responsibilities and roles within the Kingdom.
What determines that takes us back to the Judgment Seat of Christ.
The next critical passage to go to is one that takes us back to Sunday morning when we reviewed Matthew, and that is 1 Corinthians 3:11 and following, “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
Remember this, Paul views the Corinthians as believers. He assumes, based on his personal knowledge of having been there, that the people he’s writing to have trusted in Jesus Christ as their Savior.
He also recognizes that they haven’t grown very much and there are some real problems in that congregation. We’ll look at that in a few minutes. They are as corrupt, still, as they were before they were saved. A lot of them haven’t changed a whole lot, if any.
He’s warning them about the consequences of failure and disobedience in the Christian life. So he says, “Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, [intrinsic good] wood, hay, straw [no lasting value] …”
Then he says in 1 Corinthians 3:13, “Each one’s work will become clear …” There’s that word “work” again. There’s an evaluation at the Judgment Seat of Christ for work but it’s not for eternal destiny. He says, “Each one’s work will become clear; for the Day [Day of Christ, Day of Judgment] will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work …” There’s that word “work” again.
DOKIMAZO is a Greek word that means test or evaluation. What’s important about that word is that it’s a test to expose what’s good. It’s not a test to expose what’s bad. So in the process here he uses the illustration as if you’re refining metal, refining gold, or refining silver. When you put the metal in the refiner’s fire, then what is destroyed are the impurities.
The wood, hay, and straw burns up. What’s left is what survives the fire. What’s left is what has an eternal value. It’s not exposing the wood, hay, and straw. It’s exposing that which is going to last into eternity.
Each one’s work is exposed for what kind it is, whether it’s good, AGATHOS, or whether it’s bad, KAKOS. Remember, that sin has no value and will not survive whether it’s moral good or whether it is something that is wrong or evil.
Paul uses the term “sin” in Galatians 5:19 and following to talk about those sins. If someone lives in them and practices them, doesn’t get in fellowship, or ever walk with the Lord, then they won’t inherit the Kingdom. They’ll be there but they won’t inherit the Kingdom.
That’s what happens here. It says, “If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures [you’ve got AGATHOS] you’re going to receive a reward.”
1 Corinthians 3:15, “If anyone’s work is burned [it’s KAKOS, no eternal value, wood, hay, and straw] he will suffer loss.” He won’t realize the rewards that God set aside for him. “But he himself will be saved …” There is a Phase One term. He’s going to be saved. We’re not saved by works. We’re saved by grace.
They’re going to be saved and spend eternity with God in the Kingdom and in Heaven. But guess what? They’re not going to be owners or participants in the Kingdom. No roles or responsibilities. They won’t be ruling and reigning with Christ.
“If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”
What do we conclude from this?
One, there will be an evaluation for every believer’s life. Every one of us is going to have an evaluation. We can’t determine now, none of us can look at our life and figure when we were in or out of fellowship. We can’t do it. It’s impossible. We can’t figure it out so all you can do is keep short accounts. There will be an evaluation.
Two, the issue isn’t sin or salvation, the issue is to reward faithfulness, to reward service, to reward spiritual growth, to reward time spent that has been redeemed walking by means of God the Holy Spirit.
Three, the Judgment Seat of Christ is for believers only. It’s not for unbelievers. If anyone fails, it’s not that they go to the Lake of Fire. They’re saved, yet as through fire.
The fourth point is that the Judgment Seat is described in cultural terms. It could refer to either a civil adjudication or the seat of the judges in an athletic contest. They determine who wins and who doesn’t. That’s going to show up in a number of things later on.
The issue is for us to live a certain way. That doesn’t just involve an external lifestyle. That’s where legalism creeps in. Legalism creeps in because you create a little list, saying, “Oh, I have to not do these five things, or these six or seven things, and if I don’t do them, I’m okay.”
It has to do with a relationship with God where you’re walking by the Spirit and learning the Word.
Now there’s one other passage I want to go through. Because of time I’ll just go through the slides because it deals once again with this problem of understanding inheriting the Kingdom and this problem of dealing with sin. Sin impacts the Judgment Seat of Christ, not because these sins weren’t judged at the Cross.
It’s because if you have ten hours in your life and you spend nine hours and fifty-nine minutes walking by the sin nature and one minute walking by the Holy Spirit, you’re going to come up with nothing, nada at the Judgment Seat of Christ. It’s not because you’re being judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ for sin. It’s when the works are evaluated, there just isn’t going to be anything there.
We have another one of those sin lists. There are several of them in Scripture and they tend to end with some kind of statement related to failure to inherit.
This is the one in 1 Corinthians 6:9–10. Turn in your Bible and we’ll just touch on this. I haven’t covered this in a while. This is the kind of thing you run into, especially if you’re talking to legalistic Christians, those who haven’t been well taught in the Scriptures, or some that have, but they just haven’t seen this put together this way.
1 Corinthians 6:11 is the one that’s the really critical one for understanding this, but you have to understand verses 9 and 10 first. Paul says, “Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?” What does he mean by “unrighteous”? Does it mean positionally unrighteous? Or experientially unrighteous? What exactly does it mean?
“Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. [Now he defines unrighteous] Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, …” [I’m going to go to jail because I read this passage. If I were in New England or Canada or some other places, I’d be going to jail because this is hate speech.]
No, it’s just a list of sins. “Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”
There are two key things we have to understand here. One is what does it mean to be unrighteous? And what does it mean to inherit the Kingdom? The term inheriting the Kingdom is understood two ways by people, as I indicated when I talked about Galatians 5.
One means to enter the Kingdom. That means that if you are a thief, if you’re a drunk and have been thrown in the drunk tank, or an extortioner, you go to jail. Why do we even have a jail ministry if these people can’t get saved? Isn’t that what it says?
If inherit the Kingdom means enter the Kingdom then why have a jail ministry because they can’t get to Heaven because they’ve done these things. That doesn’t even make sense.
Inherit the Kingdom has to mean something other than entering the Kingdom. And that’s the second view: that it means to have a share in the privileges and possession in the Kingdom. That is, ruling and reigning with Christ.
So the phrase “inherit the Kingdom” is used in six key passages: Matthew 25:34; 1 Corinthians 6:9–10, 15:50; Galatians 5:21; and Ephesians 5:5.
Ephesians 5:5 and Galatians 5:21 and 1 Corinthians 6:9–10 are the critical ones. We’ve already looked at Galatians 5:21. Now we’re looking at this one.
I broke it up this way because the introductory question is in verse 9. The sin list is in 9b–10 and 11 is a conclusion. So we have to understand what it means to be unrighteous. We have to understand what it means to inherit the Kingdom. We have to understand this phrase, “Such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” Those are the two questions.
Now let’s understand something about who these Corinthians are because when Paul says “such were some of you” what has he been telling them they are? We’ll get to this is a minute. “Such were some of you.”
That word “you” is a second person plural. It’s probably a plural of y’all. Such were all y’all. He’s talking to these Corinthians. We call them the carnal Corinthians because that’s what Paul called them at the beginning of 1 Corinthians 3. They were carnal. There are hardly any of them that are really serious about their relationship with God.
Let’s see how the whole congregation is characterized by Paul in this epistle. He says they’re divisive and fractious in 1 Corinthians 1:10 and following. He says they’re enthralled by Greek pagan philosophies. They’re more concerned about Plato and Aristotle and Socrates and epitasis and many others than they are with what Jesus and Paul have taught them.
They’re carnal and filled with jealousy and strife in 1 Corinthians 3:1–3. They’re self-important in 1 Corinthians 4:8. They’re filled with boasting in 1 Corinthians 1:29, 3:18, and 4:7. They’re arrogant in 1 Corinthians 3:6, 4:7, and 4:18.
They’re licentious, sexually licentious, and morally permissive in 1 Corinthians 5. That’s what precedes this chapter. They don’t make an issue out of all of this sexual immorality. It doesn’t bother them. They’re sexually immoral after this chapter in 1 Corinthians 7.
In Chapter 11 he describes them as gluttonous drunkards. They’re getting drunk at the Lord’s Table. They were wonderful people and they were a party town! They had a big time! Remember it wasn’t any different from Houston. Corinth was a harbor town. People were coming there from all over the world, just like Houston. I think studies have shown Houston has a more diverse population than any city in the world.
They’ve come here to hear you give them the gospel.
They were self-absorbed and pagan in their view of the spiritual gifts. 1 Corinthians 12–14.
Paul really doesn’t think of the people he’s writing to as being experientially righteous.
We’ve talked about inheritance, the second word here. There are two key words. ADIKOS. DIKOS refers to righteousness, that which is just. The “A” in front of it refers to something that’s not. Does this mean “not righteous,” indicating those who are not positionally righteous or unsaved or does it refer to wrongdoers? I think it refers to wrongdoers.
People go to 1 Corinthians 6:1 where ADIKOS is used and say that it sounds like unbelievers. Paul says, “Do any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?” That probably refers to unbelievers at this point for two reasons.
Reason # 1 is it has that definite article for “the” in front of it in the Greek and secondly, it’s contrasted against believers, the saints. Saints can also be rebellious just like I’ve listed with the Corinthians.
When we get down to 1 Corinthians 6:9 we have this word ADIKOS used again and there’s no article with it. In English “the” is in italics which means it’s not there in the Greek. That’s important.
The verse right before verse 9, which is verse 8, says, “You yourselves do wrong.” That’s the word ADIKOS: wrongdoers.
There’s a difference between being positionally unrighteous and just being someone who sins, who does wrong things. All Christians do wrong things. Verse 8 is the immediate context for verse 9, not verse 1. It says, “You yourselves do wrong and do these things to your brethren.” He’s assuming they’re Christians, isn’t he? They’re doing wrong things to their fellow believers, the brethren.
Jody Dillow states this in his Reign of the Servant Kings, “The phrase in verse 9 is not the same as the wicked or unrighteous in verse 1. In verse 1 the adjective has the article and it is definite, referring to a class of people. In verse 9 it’s without the article. The articular construction emphasizes identity; the anarthrous [without the article] construction emphasizes character. Because the same word is used twice, once with the article (verse 1) and once without it (verse 9), it may be justifiable to press for the standard grammatical distinction here. If so, then the ADIKOS of verse 9 are not ‘the wicked’ [or the unrighteous] of verse 1. They are not of that definite class of people who are non-Christians. Rather, as to their behavior traits they’re behaving in an unrighteous manner or character.” They’re acting like unbelievers.
“In other words, the use of ‘the wicked’ in verse 1 signifies ‘being,’ but the use of ‘wicked’ in verse 9 signifies not being, but ‘doing’ [just behavior] and that was their problem.”
Those who are living like unbelievers are not going to inherit the Kingdom. They’ll be there but they won’t inherit.
Now when Paul says in verse 11 “such were some of you”, we have to look at that phrase “some of you”.
“Some” is a subset of a broad category you or you all. Here we have our graph. In yellow we have you all, the whole group.
“Some” represents a subset of the whole group.
There are two ways to interpret this phrase.
The common way is that the “some” of you is a smaller group of believers in a larger group of unbelievers.
It would look like this. You all are unbelievers but some of you were believers. But when Paul says “such were some of you all,” the “you all” was not referring to the unbelievers in Corinth.
It’s referring to the Corinthians in the Corinthian church that he’s addressing that he treats as believers.
So the “some” must refer to a smaller group of believers within a larger group of believers.
The yellow represents the “you all”. They’re believers but they haven’t changed. They’re still living like they did before they were saved.
He says, “And such were some of you.” In other words a small subset has changed. They’re spiritual believers. They’re walking by the Spirit and they’re changing. They’re not characterized by what was there.
So he says in verse 11 that “such were some of you all. But all y’all were washed, but all y’all were sanctified, but all y’all were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus” and only some of them experienced any change.
Okay, ADIKOS in verse 9 does not refer to unbelievers. It refers to the wrongdoer in verse 8. The context is therefore addressing believers, that only believers are heirs of God.
In verses 9–10 inheritance is based on human action. These believers are in danger of losing rewards.
So we can sin and treat 1 John 1:9 as a license to sin, but the danger is a loss of reward. Let’s close in prayer.
“Father, thank You for this time we’ve had together. Challenge us with what we’ve learned about this important distinction we have in the Christian life. That we either walk by the Spirit or we walk according to the sin nature and it will impact the end game at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
We need to live each day in light of eternity and live each day in light of future evaluation at the Judgment Seat of Christ. We pray that we would be responsive to that challenge. In Christ’s name. Amen.”