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works as evidence

He [Almighty God] will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.   Romans 2: 6-8

 

So it is true ... we will be judged by (and rewarded according to) our works ....... On that basis, because I have done more good deeds than bad deeds, all must be well - for me, forever. The scales will tell the facts.

Hold it a minute. The Apostle Paul, the 1st Century Jewish Pharisee converted to Christianity on the road to Damascus around AD 34, does not quite say that. Paul had been taught by Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, so his every word must be looked at legally and thoroughly. He actually wrote "according to his works".

What's the difference? Well, just this. It seems from the single sentence above that all our works will be looked at - but not to weigh them in the scales so as to see which side is "heaviest". Instead, our works will be used to prove our motivations, what we have been seeking to do. And it seems there are only two possibilities with regard to what we actually "seek" through our works.

First, there will be folk who "seek for glory, honour and immortality". Their works will reveal that this is their motivation. Their works are called "patience in well-doing".

Second, there will be folk who are "self-seeking" - that is their motivation. With regard to their works, they "do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness". 

In our daily lives in jersey we often (always?) try to establish what folk might be seeking. We are very, very keen to find out why a person might have made a certain decision. And we are pretty expert at this - when we look at others...Only a week or two ago, Jersey's Comptroller and Auditor General recommended that those responsible for allocating the confiscated funds that are held in the Drug Trafficking Criminal Offences Confiscation Funds, should not include the Chief Officers of States Departments who might receive the funds to spend. 

Again, if planning decisions in Jersey were made by property developers and not by States Ministers, surprising decisions would be reached - and we know who would benefit. ......  "Self-seeking" is a strong, almost invincible, motivator - and it is disclosed by works. 

So, yes, it does seem fair to us in Jersey that works would be used in that way at the final judgment. After all, we are using that system all the time. And, yes, it does fit with our experience that the "self-seeking", in their works, often "do not obey the truth but obey unrighteousness".

But what about the motivation of "seeking glory, honour and immortality" – in effect the motivation of  "self-giving"? Is that in evidence in Jersey?

That's more difficult to find, isn't it? In fact, in the four contemporary (1st Century AD) records of the life of Jesus Christ, it is abundantly clear that all the people of that day, everyone of them, Pharisee and follower of Jesus alike, failed this test. One group put him to death - for self-interest's sake. The other group fled and left him to die alone - even denying they knew him - for self-interest's sake. 

This Jesus Christ, however, was motivated totally by “self-giving” and not "self-seeking" . And all his works and words evidenced it - right to the self-giving of himself for those very people - on a cross.

And those same 1st Century records disclose that this man will be the judge of motivations - by looking at our works at the end of time. Because he became man, he knows man. And he rose from the dead.....so the self-giving one is around to do the job accurately and well.

The stakes are high (see above). I’m terribly, terribly sorry about the “wrath and fury”. But one could expect no different (from the “self-giving” one who gives creation as well as himself on a cross so he could give forgiveness to all) for folk who permanently refuse both gifts and giver - and remain “self-seeking”.   

 
D. L. Moody, American preacher and publisher (1837-1899):  ‘I have more trouble with D L Moody than with any man I ever met.'
 
‘Far too frequently in this life we are interested in only three persons: me, myself and I' (Anon.)
 
Richard Syvret

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