The conventional wisdom in religious circles is that, a sinner having become a believer and thus, clothed with the righteousness of Christ, he will never be called to account for his deeds. This view betrays an erroneous view of God; how could the moral ruler of the universe expect to uphold the moral order of that universe if He were to exempt a number of that universe from the consequences of the moral law. For in the household of God there is law as well as grace; not the law of Moses that knew no mercy, but the law of a loving Father who requires and expects that His children will live in conformity to the will and commandments of God.
While the judgement of death and hell lie behind the believer, the judgement seat of Christ lies ahead; there the question will not be how we have lived according to the law of Moses, but how we have lived as a member of the Father’s household, how we have taken hold of and applied the authority given to us to become children of God. As Paul put it;
“According to the grace of God being given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, but another builds upon it. Now each one take care in what way he builds upon it. For no man is able to lay another foundation beside that being laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds upon the foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble, the work of each one will become evident; for the day will show it, since in fire it will be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each one’s work. If the work of anyone remains, that built upon (the foundation), he shall receive a reward. If the work of anyone is consumed, it will be lost; but he himself will be saved, but in the same way as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).
The Lord has told us plainly enough; we must each of us give an account to God of our lives; for that reason, we are urged not to judge one another (Romans 14:12-13). Instead we are to seek fellowship to strengthen and to be strengthened. But what is the prerequisite to having fellowship with other believers, and how do we recognise that this prerequisite is met?
I believe that the prerequisite is that those with whom we should gather are those who hear the voice of the Shepherd and follow Him (John 10:27). We recognise that by knowing that Christ is in the midst, the heart burns and the Holy Witness is manifestly present.
Many Christians are staking their future on Church attendance, religious activity, tithing, regular fellowship activities and the like. In all of these things they are able to lean upon each other; they spend a great deal of their time serving as religious props for each other.
But real life is only to be found in the Presence of the Holy; real life for Jesus was when He was able to withdraw from those around Him and wait upon His Father. At such times, He was not alone, for He knew, and experienced, the conscious presence of the Father.