The Terror and the Love

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…. – 2 Corinthians 5:10-11.

For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. – 2 Corinthians 5:14-15.

Last week I read about a man in Oklahoma City who was at a Wal-Mart store shopping. He was walking down the aisle when suddenly he collapsed, and the next thing he remembers is waking up in a hospital. He collapsed when his heart went into full cardiac arrest. Nearby was a police officer that is a CPR instructor and also a woman trained in CPR. They immediately began working to save the man’s life performing CPR for 25 minutes until additional help arrived. The man is doing fine now.

My Uncle shortly before he died at 80+ years of age shared with me about several men he knew who had died suddenly. My Uncle knew he had been blessed to live a long life in relatively good health. It was also a message to me that we do not know when we will leave this world. We may have years, or it may be today. Last week a godly man (47 years old) who had lived in our community in the past was suddenly removed from this world to the next. He was a passenger in a vehicle driven by his son when a tire blew out and the vehicle swerved off the road and down a steep incline hitting a tree. The man’s daughter-in-law and his granddaughter were critically injured but are now improving.

The apostle Paul knew first-hand about the “terror of the Lord.” Paul had personally encountered the risen Lord on the road to Damascus (Acts 9) where Paul intended to continue persecuting the church. Being struck blind by God tends to get a person’s attention and Paul knew what it was like to be in the hands of the living God. It was a terrifying thing that Paul remembered very well, but not only had the apostle experienced the “terror” of the Lord, he also knew personally of the “love” of the Lord. Paul the persecutor through the grace of God became the greatest apostle, evangelist, and missionary of the early church with many of his letters being recorded as the Word of God.

Let us live life soberly and with a sound mind being aware of the brevity of life. We are not here on earth to just have a good time and in fact life is very difficult for some of us – it was difficult for Paul too (2 Corinthians 11:25 – But God can bring good out of the bad for those who love Him and are obedient to His will – Romans 8:28). We are still here because there is work for us to do. As Paul points out we are new creations in Christ and as His new creations we are His ambassadors “as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20).”

(We are not here on Earth just to have a good time.)

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