Christ The Judge

Hello everyone. We’re going to be continuing tonight our study of the doctrine of the Trinity in the book of 2 Corinthians. The Pauline epistles are always fascinating places to go for doctrine and we haven’t been disappointed! Note also that the majority concensus by far will grant you that Paul wrote this book, its predecessor, Romans, Philippians, Galatians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon. We’re in good territory. Tonight, we’re going to be looking at 2 Cor. 5:6-10.

6Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7We live by faith, not by sight. 8We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

Paul is here speaking about the hope of the resurrection. Christians will go through trials and persecutions. However, we are not to be discouraged about what we’re going through. We are to instead look forward with hope for no matter what goes on, we are under the sovereign reign of Christ.

This brings up the issue of the judgment seat, which is called the Bema in Greek. Paul would have been familiar with such a scene being before Gallio earlier. This was in the 18th chapter of Acts and Gallio ruled around 52 A.D.

The Bema was not a simple little thing. It was a huge seat. Paul would have been small in comparison to what was going on and he would have been looked down on from where Gallio was sitting. It was no doubt an image that stuck in the mind of Paul and something that he brought over here when he wanted to talk about appearing before the judgment seat of Christ.

Wait! What was that? The judgment seat of Christ? Paul didn’t mention the judgment seat of YHWH? Isn’t YHWH the one who is the judge of all the Earth? (Genesis 18:25) Why is it that Paul is speaking about Christ instead of YHWH?

Keep in mind that this would be within 25 years most likely of the resurrection event and already, in a text that is accepted by the scholars as genuinely Pauline, Christ is being referred to in terms of judgment that are akin to what we would normally think of as YHWH’s position.

This is something we should keep in mind also as we often reduce Christ to making him our buddy and someone we can hang out with so casually. Yet here, Paul treats him as his judge. You don’t treat your judge lightly. You treat them with respect and awe. Yes. We are to love Christ, but we do not love him the same way that we love anyone else. He is different. He is Lord and God and we are to bow before him.

We shall continue our study tomorrow.

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