II Corinthians 5:9-10
So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
I think it is easy to forget what our mission here on the earth is and what is at stake. Our mission is to share the Gospel with the people we have relationship with whom we are surrounded. What is at stake is the quality of our eternal life. What we do on this earth matters in what responsibilities and stewardships we have after this world has come and gone. Going for the Gold is a great balanced resource to help guide our thinking and priorities.
Going for the Gold is a practical guide for living with eternal values in view. It is a study of the many Scripture Passages that describe the Judgment Seat (Bema) of Christ, the heavenly event when Jesus will evaluate the lives of his people. Whether you are a young person facing hard choices, an adult in the midst of your career, or a retired person with time on your hands, you want your life to count. This illuminating volume will show what the Bible says about the time of the judgment of believers’ works, but more importantly, it will help you live a life that is worthy of the words, “Well done” (backcover).
Joe Wall first describes how all believers will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ, which should help motivate us to make wise “Christ-honoring” decisions (Ch. 1). Next, he talks through the differing judgments: the Cross (judicial, one time payment for sin debt for all who believe), the Bema Seat of Christ (family/believer judgement for rewards for faithful living), and the Great White Throne (unbeliever judgement after Millennial Kingdom) (Ch. 2). Wall then goes on to explain the Biblical basis for what happens after death (Ch. 3) and the historical timeline for the Bema Seat (Ch. 4). In Section 2 (Chs. 5-8) he describes eternal rewards and then how to invest our lives wisely to gain these rewards and thus mitigate judgment and loss of rewards using numerous Bible passages. Section 3 (Chs. 9-12) is a more in-depth explantation of the four imperishable victory crowns: the crown of righteousness, the crown of life, the crown of joy, and the crown of glory.
I think the book overall is a great resource to help guide us into thinking and possibly rethinking how we are living our life. Are we caught up and entangled in sin or enmeshed in the world’s system living for today? What will the quality of your eternal life look like? Wall gives four traits of rewardable stewardship (pg. 105) based on the parable from Luke 19:11-27:
- Goodness: Has the steward acted kindly and ethically?
- Faithfulness: Has the steward been loyal and responded to the master’s desires?
- Wisdom: Has the steward chosen investment opportunities that produce the greatest amount of fruit of eternal value?
- Industry: Has the steward been lazy or hard at work in the things that matter?
These are great questions for us to ask ourselves as we think about this the bema. These questions help us form a Bema Seat Mentality where we should have, “an expectant attitude that drives us to prepare to meet and be evaluated by Jesus imminently. A Bema Seat Mentality encourages and cheers the informed believer; it continually impels him to a life of faithfulness, purity, and godly tolerance; and it produces an overpowering ambition to please Jesus” (pg. 69-70).
However, there is one aspect he touches on throughout the book that I wish he had given a whole chapter to. He writes, “. . . the bema is a time for family evaluation after this life, a time when Jesus evaluates our lives and our faithfulness to him, not for condemnation but as a basis for rewards–rewards for the works we have done in the power of the Spirit of God” (pg. 23). I believe this is the most important aspect of the basis for earning rewards. It is not us doing these things on our own. It is Christ living through us producing fruit as we walk in the Spirit (Gal 5:22-26). I believe keeping a Bema Seat Mentaility starts from knowing our identity in Christ and then yielding to the Spirit.
I agree with Wall when he says, “. . . the one who lives his Christian life as one author so aptly puts it, in a continual celebration of forgiveness, enjoying the freedom he has in Christ and focusing on abiding in a living, loving fellowship with Christ, will be able to present to Christ that which has eternal value. We can conclude, therefore, that to prepare well for the bema primarily involves a walk of trusting obedience to God and His word, while enjoying a close, loving relationship with Jesus Christ. At the bema works will be but outward evidences of the reality of our walk with God” (pg. 30).
Let us live in the Light of Eternity! Let us Go for the Gold!
I give Going for the Gold ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐