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Paul’s Motivation

Author and Pastor Henry Blackaby wrote, “Paul the Apostle said, ‘The love of Christ compels [me]’ (2 Corinthians 5:14). He knew God had an eternal purpose for his life.”[1]

The apostle Paul was motivated by a deep understanding that he would be judged for future rewards based upon how he lived his life while on this earth.

He writes in 2 Corinthians 5:8–10:

We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

We need to pay particular attention to the last word of this verse. Bad doesn’t mean “awful” or “terrible”; it means “worthless.” It has a connotation of something that has no value. As Christians, we are all going to appear before the judgment seat of Christ, not for salvation but for reward. Paul made it his aim to please God and accomplish things that bring value to others—things that reflect the heart of God and are worthwhile.

We need to think about standing before Jesus and giving an account of our lives. As we do, we should seriously reflect on our life here on earth and if what we are doing has worth from an eternal perspective. It’s important that we, like Paul, refuse to give our lives to things that are eternally worthless and selfish. Paul understood this completely and it motivated him, and it needs to motivate us.

The thought of the judgment seat (or Bema seat,[2] as it’s called in Scripture) has motivated and shaped the lives of the heroes of the faith for years.

Martin Luther, the Father of Protestantism, felt that the truth of the Bema seat was so important that for years the only two dates on his calendar were “today” and “that day.” Luther knew that if he lived right today, “that day” would take care of itself![3]

General William Booth (founder of the Salvation Army) had a vision of going to heaven and being questioned by people and by Christ about his life on earth. He was so horrified by his answers that he wanted one more chance to return to earth and make amends for a wasted Christian life.[4]

Knowing there are rewards and a final accounting at the Bema seat for how we live on earth should shape, mold, and motivate us as well.

Does the Bema Seat motivate you to think about the impact of what you are doing, or not doing for Jesus here on earth?

You can learn more about Heaven and how to live your life today from my latest book, Between Heaven and Earth. It is available from Amazon or other fine booksellers.


[1] Henry Blackaby, Created to Be God’s Friend: How God Shapes Those He Loves  (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1999), E-book edition.

[2] The judgment seat (bema) was a raised platform (sometimes portable) that could be reached by steps. It was a place where orations were made. Rulers used the bema to elevate them above a trial so they could observe, hear testimonies, and dole out judgments. Scripture speaks of the bema twice in reference to the divine tribunal before which believers will stand (Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10). Taken from: M. G. Easton, Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Public Domain, Logos Electronic Version.

[3] Randy Alcorn, The Light of Eternity: Perspectives on heaven (Colorado Springs: WaterBrook Press, 1999), 135.

[4] General William Booth, General Booth’s Vision and Other Addresses (New York: Pickett Publishing Co., 1903), 26.

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