“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
How many appointments have we failed to keep over the years? Often we just simply forget about them, but there are times when we choose not to go. We have probably phoned the doctor or dentist to cancel or postpone an appointment too. There is one appointment that none of us will get out of keeping. It cannot be rescheduled for a more opportune occasion. Every one of us will have to stand before the Lord at a time He has set.
We have an appointment with our Saviour
This is a very special appointment because it is one only the saved are able to keep. The lost will have their appointment at a later time. “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection” (Revelation 20:5). Notice that Paul says that we “must” keep the appointment; no excuses, no delays, and no choice. Not one of us is exempt because “all” literally means what God says. We will meet the One who came down from Heaven to die on the cross for our sins, who rose again on the third day, and who listens to our prayers. We ought to be preparing our hearts for this great day.
We have an appointment with the all-knowing God
“We must all appear” before Him. This does not just refer to the presenting of ourselves to God, but means that we will be reveal for who we really are. Our true character will be made manifest. It seems that the “things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” will be the measure of that character. Let us not forget that the Lord Jesus Christ knows all about us, so it will be easy for Him to reveal us for who we are. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). Nothing is hidden from Him. “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13). This means that we will not be able to gloss over anything or put a spin on it.
The Lord knows what occupies our thoughts. He sees what we do both in public and in secret. He takes account of what we do with our time and money. He knows the true measure of our commitment to His service. If we knew that we would meet Him today, what adjustments would we make to our lives? Would our priorities change? What would be our goal in life?
We have an appointment with the One who has commissioned us
We are not saved to keep a church seat warm, but to do the good pleasure of God. Paul tells us that we are ambassadors, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20). Our mission is to preach the good news to the lost, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19). We are ordained to be holy lights in a sinful world, “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15).
We have an appointment to receive our rewards
What the Lord will give His people is much more precious than the trinkets people receive from the monarch of this land. “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12). The rewards are: The crown of life for winning souls to Christ, “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?” (1 Thessalonians 2:19); a crown of righteousness for looking forward to Christ’s return, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8); a crown of life for suffering for the cause of Christ, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him” (James 1:12); and a crown of glory for teaching others God’s word, “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away” (1 Peter 5:4).
What we receive is governed by how we live on this earth. “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).
This appointment is getting closer each day. We do not know when it is going to take place, but for some it will be sooner than imagined. The anticipation of such an appointment ought to radically affect the way we live our lives. “What manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness” (2 Peter 3:11).