Journal 2 Cor 5 (all references are from the ESV unless noted otherwise; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “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.” 2 Cor 5:9-10
Observation: What is the obligation of a believer? What should be the expectation of a believer? Is the above clear enough?
Analysis: From Gruden’s Bible Doctrine: “…the doctrine of the Clarity of Scripture does not suggest that all believers will agree on all teaching of Scripture. Nevertheless, it does tell us something very important—that the problem always lies not with Scripture, but with ourselves. We affirm that all the teachings of Scripture are clear and able to be understood, be we also recognize that people often (through their own shortcomings) misunderstand what is clearly written in scripture.” (Gruden, Bible Doctrine, pg 52-53)
There is another principle that Scripture is to be primarily analyzed and compared/interpreted by Scripture (apologies, I do not have that titular reference).
So, does the above scripture reference conflict with other places in the New Testament (and perhaps other deeply held scriptural quotes/convictions)?
Take the injunction to “make it our aim to please him.” It could be that this is one of those unspoken convictions: “Of course I want to please him…”, but the idea of “pleasing him” might be regulated to “works” and therefore takes a back seat to “pleasing him.” In other words, if I can’t separate “works vs. Grace” from the Grace involved in “pleasing God” then perhaps I need to meditate and study on this more.
And “…all MUST appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ…” and will receive some sort of a performance evaluation. Is that a function separate from being able to “plead the Blood for my Sin?” The Scriptures here seem to indicate so. What about other places in the Scripture where all I need to do is to confess or just believe Christ and be baptized: “…because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved…” (Ro 10:9), and “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.” (Mark 16:16)
Somehow, all of these quoted scriptures (above and below) are EQUALLY true, and a believer’s obligation is to search them out to find the interconnections before God.
I am in no position to engage in smorgasbord Scripture study and think that is proper or enough. Even if understanding them and their connections take my whole life of pursuit that is what I am called to do.
Prayer: Father, I have jokingly spoken of being able to use the statement “I don’t know” has the height of mature exegesis/study. The picture in my mind this morning is “raising my hands in worship only to scratch my head in reverence.” I want to know what you are fully saying in your Word.
But I have come to realize that you do not always show your hand (c. Deut 29:29).
Holy Spirit, help me to cultivate long patience and the ability to meditate on what you have given, not to study like I am cramming for a test at the end of the week. Your Word has and is Life and it should be cultivated and savored each and every day.
Ricky Two Shoes