Cleansing the Conscience — Conscience and Guilt — Part 9

How can I face my blameworthiness? It depends on whose honor I am seeking. If I am intent on seeking my own honor (as in John 5.44; 7.18!), then I am not seeking the honor of God. If I am seeking God’s honor, then no dishonor that I might bear, including the dishonor of my own sin, is too great. But how does this fit with the honor of God? (I hope this sounds familiar! I have not written these posts to be individually complete; I intend them to be cumulative.)

Jesus Himself adopted this attitude in facing the cross: He endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God (Heb 12.2). Then, what does it mean for us? God means our lives, in their entirety, to bring glory to Himself. This is the necessity of the Judgment Seat of Christ (Rom 14.10; 2 Cor 5.10). There we will receive the things done in the body. Murray Harris comments that this is “the divine illumination of what has been hidden by darkness and the divine exposure of secret aims and motives. The person thus scrutinized will then receive an equitable and full recompense (‘what is due him’)” (2 Corinthians, EBC). This judgment aims, not at our humiliation, but at reward (as 1 Cor 4.5 makes clear). Hear the  Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) translation of the end of that verse: “And then praise will come to each one from God.”

But the judgment, as all other things, must bring glory to God, and this must be our highest hope. How? All of our sins will show that we are at the Judgment Seat only by the grace of God in our Lord Jesus. We deserve nothing but everlasting wrath. All our righteousness will show that He has been at work in us through His Spirit (Phil 1.6; 2.12-13; John 15.5). Thus, God must reveal all that we have done, and He must receive glory from it all. And this must be our highest hope.

If, however, our confidence is in our service to God, the Judgment Seat must show that we are unprofitable servants (Luke 17.10) since we have done only what we should have. Even more, the Judgment will demonstrate that all of our service was God’s work in us (Phil 1.6; 2.13). He gave us the desire. He gave us the ability. He did the work through us (though not apart from us). He gave the results. Then our sin and even our service  will mean shame for us, because our goals, our hopes, our confidence, were all set upon achieving, by our service, our personal honor.

If, then, I seek God’s glory, I can be content, even delighted, to have even what shames me revealed. He must increase; I must decrease.

About jamesallman

Jim Allman is a Bible teacher living in the Dallas, TX area. He taught 18 years in Memphis, TN at Mid-South Bible / Crichton College, and has been at Dallas Seminary since 2000. He is married to Jan and has three married children, Jill, Jim, Jr., and Julie, and six grandchildren, Hannah, Sara, Gabriel, Miles, Asher, and his little brother, Asa.
This entry was posted in 2 Corinthians, Gospel of Luke, guilt, Hebrews, honor/shame, Philippians, Romans and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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