If there's one thing we learn from the Bible, it's that salvation is not something we can earn. God just gives it. Because of what Christ has already done on the cross, our penalty has been paid. Our forgiveness has been authorized. All we do is receive it by putting our faith in him.
Then why would God leave us with so many instructions on how to live, even after we're saved? Why would he keep reminding us that we'll have to stand before His "judgment seat"? Why would he feel the need to hold it over our head that "each of us will give an account of himself to God"? (Romans 14:12)
It's because he knows us. He understands that we don't always get very busy without a deadline hanging over us. We don't usually want to behave well unless acting badly has a consequence. So even though the believer has already been cleared to spend eternity with Christ, there's a reckoning day coming where we'll all have to answer for what we did with this gift of his.
This would sound terribly harsh and heavy-handed if not for the fact that sin is what's really harsh and heavy-handed. Disobeying God is not preferable to obeying him, not by the time it's made us miserable, like it always does. Turns out that an accounting bench and a judgment seat are more about God's mercy than his wrath. He loves us enough to make us want what's best for us.
Pray this prayer: Lord, I don't really like the thought of having to stand and give account. But I'd hate to think where I'd be if you just left me to monitor myself. I guess I'm glad for your accountability.
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