Gospel of God, The (2 volume set), by Watchman Nee

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Now let us read 2 Corinthians 5:10. "For we must all be manifested before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done through the body according to what he has practiced, whether good or bad." All Bible readers know that the judgment seat of Christ is in the air. Hence, those standing before the judgment seat are those who have been raptured. And who can be raptured? The Bible tells us that only Christians can be raptured. Those who are not Christians cannot be raptured. If a man is not saved and is not a child of God, he is not even qualified to be judged at this judgment. This is God’s judgment within His own family. Here it tells us what we will be faced with at the future judgment seat of Christ. We will be recompensed for the things done through the body. In other words, we will be recompensed for the things done in the body, that is, for the things we have done while living on earth, whether good or bad. If you do good in the body, you will receive a good reward. If you do evil in the body, you will receive the recompense of evil. The Word of God shows us clearly that at the judgment seat those who do well will receive a reward and that those who do not do well will lose their reward and will be recompensed according to their evil.

Because there is a future judgment, the apostle Paul prayed concerning mercy in the future. Second Timothy 1:18 says, "May the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord in that day. And in how many things he served me in Ephesus, you know best." Paul expressed the wish that Onesiphorus would find mercy from the Lord in that day. If a Christian will at most lose his reward in the future when he stands before the judgment seat and will not be punished or disciplined, then this word is meaningless. Paul hoped that the Lord would be merciful to Onesiphorus at His judgment, because Onesiphorus had helped Paul so much and had propagated the gospel with him. If there were any wrongs that Onesiphorus had done, Paul hoped that the Lord would be merciful to him. Hence, we see that Christians need not only forgiveness, but also God’s mercy at the time of judgment at the beginning of the millennium; otherwise, they will fall under God’s chastisement.

In 2 Timothy 4 there is another verse which we should read. Verse 16 says, "At my first defense no one was with me to support me, but all abandoned me. May it not be counted against them." This is another prayer. While Paul was in Asia, the whole of Asia abandoned him. While he was before the king being judged, many Christians were fearful of death and hid off to the side. Yet even though they had abandoned him, Paul prayed that this sin would not be counted against them. Hence, we see that in the future God will still judge our sins. Paul prayed here that this sin would not be counted against them. There is enough light in the Bible to show us that if a saved person is not disciplined for his loose conduct in this age, or if he does not repent after discipline, he will not only lose his reward but will also be chastised in a definite way.

In Matthew 12 the Lord Jesus specifically mentions blaspheming the Holy Spirit. All sins can be forgiven. All the words spoken against the Son of Man can be forgiven. But the sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven. There will not be forgiveness in this age, and there will not be forgiveness in the next age (v. 32). In the Bible the coming age always refers to the kingdom. In the original language the word for age is aion, not cosmos. If the word were cosmos, it would refer to the organization of the world. But since it is aion, it refers to a time span. Hence, it is translated age. Today is the age of grace. The next age is the age when the Lord will come to reign for a thousand years. When you read Matthew 12, you see that the forgiveness of sins is divided into two time periods. Some sins are forgiven in this age, and some sins are forgiven in the coming age. Some people, through discipline, are forgiven in this age. Some people may not have done well today, but they will be forgiven in the kingdom. Some people are forgiven when they are saved, but their subsequent sins will not be forgiven in the kingdom; they will be chastised severely instead. This is the biblical teaching concerning chastisement. Chastisement for the Christian in this age is clear enough. Some sinning Christians whose problems are not solved before God today will receive chastisement in the future.

(Gospel of God, The (2 volume set), Chapter 22, by Watchman Nee)