Made Manifest Unto God

Michael Beck

“Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 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. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.” (2 Corinthians 5:9-11)

Even from the mouths of men, it is nice to hear the words “well done!” But in the end, when we “appear before the judgment seat of Christ,” it will not matter what they said about us, good or bad. We trouble ourselves way too much by living for human approval. We become too elated by their praise, and too dejected by their criticism. We fear their response.

The Apostle Paul knew what it was like to live for man’s reward. After all, he was a Pharisee. Jesus well understood how eager the Pharisees were to receive honor from each other. But He had a completely different motivation for all He did. He sought to always please the Father. He lived for the approval of God, not man. And so, His return to the Father, after being obedient even unto death, is called “the joy that was set before Him.” (Heb. 12:2)

If we are to rejoice in the day when we have finished our earthly course, we must live as our Lord lived. If we are to hear the words “Well done, good and faithful servant” when we are present before Him, we must live for His approval in the day of His absence. To that end it is best to remember that He is even now with us. We are “made manifest unto God.” We may not see Him, but He sees us. And the books, out of which our lives will be judged, are being written.

Don’t fret over how you appear in man’s sight today. When you appear before the judgment seat of Christ, all that will matter is how you appeared to Him. Know a healthy fear of God.

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.