THE DOINGS OF THE CHRISTIAN
Verse 23-25 says, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.”
We are not saved by our works. If anything is plain in the teaching of Scripture, this is it. I am surprised that so many who claim to be Christians cannot see this. But good works are important part of the Christian’s life after salvation. “For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). It is one thing to be “created unto good works” and to claim to be “created because of good works.” We do need to get that straight. There are seven things in these three verses Paul points out that will be the focus of this meditation. First, he speaks of,
THE UNIVERSALITY OF THE DOING (OUR GOOD WORKS)
The words, “And whatsoever ye do . . .” include all things. “Whatsoever” actually translates three words. First, the word “pas” which means, “individually, each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything.” Second the word, “hostis” which means, “whatever,” and third, “ean” and means, “if, in case.” The word “whatsoever” has a big job to do to say everything that those three words say! “Whatsoever” means, “each individual thing, what ever it is, in case you do it.” All of that in whatsoever! The words “ye do” translates “poieo” and means, “to make, with the names of things made, to produce, to construct, to form, to fashion, etc., to be the author of, the cause.”
The second “do” is different from the first “do.” The second “do” translates “ergazomai” and means, “to work or labor, the work done is business.” It would be the work of a manager or what we call common labor.
I believe from this definition that we can conclude that nothing is left out. It truly means “whatsoever.” God is to be in mind in whatever we do. It can be ministry of some kind, or just a father out making a living for his family (an employee), or the mother keeping house, or the child struggling through the years from birth to maturity, or a servant (a slave), or the business owner or manager, whatever it may be, if it is DOING, it must be related to our obedience to, and our relationship to our Lord. Then Paul speaks of,
THE DYNAMICS OF THE DOING
The words “do it heartily . . .” This word translates two words. The first is “ek” meaning, “out of” and second, “psuche” and means, “the soul, the seat of the feelings, desires, affections, aversions (our heart, soul etc.).” This is to be the dynamics of our service. It is from the heart. It is putting everything we have into it. It is sincerity to the core. When it is done this way, it puts life and enjoyment into it. Christianity comes to life. Whether it is the preacher in the pulpit, the song leader leading the singing, the house wife doing her daily chores or the common laborer out digging out a living for his family, it has “heart” in it, it has “soul” in it, it has great joy in it. I remember when I was a boy working in the field when a black woman who was picking cotton along with some others got to shouting over some Bible truth that they were discussing. I thought she was going to level the cotton patch. It scared me to death. I didn’t know you could legitimately shout in a cotton patch!!! But she found God out there and introduced us to Him by her actions. Much later I came to know Him that way myself. I’m not for sure that black woman could read. But she knew the Creator in a personal way and was more in the KNOW than most scientists. Glory to God and the Lamb forever!!!
The dynamic of Christianity is absent in cold formal services. It needs to find its way back into the lives of the saints. We need to put the pride of formality aside and let it be known that we love God from the heart and don’t care who knows it. Go ahead! What if you do get stigmatized as a fanatic. You do know what a fanatic is, don’t you? It is an extreme fan! I confess I am an extreme fan of Jesus and His Word. Then Paul speaks of,
THE FOCUS OF OUR ACTION
The words, “as to the Lord” means that whatever we do, if it is a truck driver, a secretary, a minister in the pulpit, or student in school, what ever it is, we are to do it as if Jesus were the ONE for whom we were doing it. Our action should be focused on Him as the one for whom we do what we do. The wife submits to her husband, when in reality, she is submitting to Jesus her Lord. The husband is loving his wife, when in reality he is loving Jesus his Lord. The children are obeying their parents, when in reality they are obeying Jesus their Lord. The father is exercising his authority as the head of the home in love and kindness and fairness, when in reality he is doing this as a representative of Jesus his Lord. The slave or employee is serving from the heart without complaint and with joy because in reality, he is doing this as a representative of Jesus his Lord. Our focus in all we do, no matter what it is, is to be on Jesus our Lord. We are His servants. Then Paul speaks of,
THE EXPECTATION OF THE OBEDIENT CHRISTIAN
The expectation is seen in the words, “Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” The word “knowing” translates “eido” meaning, “to see, to perceive with the eyes, to perceive by any of the senses, to discern.” When this word “knowing” is used it is more like knowing as an eye witness. It is a perfect passive participle. The perfect tense means that Paul is not introducing a new thought to them, He is telling them something that they already know. They came to know this for sure in the past and this knowledge remained with them as Paul reminded them. The passive voice means that this learning did not come from their own rational thinking. The passive voice means that God had given them this information by revelation. This is how they knew.
The words “of the Lord” speak of the source of the blessing that he is about to state. We do not work for men while we are working for men. We do what we do for Him and His glory and when the time comes, He will be the one who will give out the reward. And no one will be able to stand and say, “Lord, you can’t do it like that. That is not how I taught it.” Now while we are looking at it hypothetically, I think He might answer, “I know, you wouldn’t listen to me. That is the reason you taught it incorrectly.” The Lord is not bound by our interpretation of what He says. We need to get what He says right. You say, “Preacher, do you think that all you say is right?” No, but I think it is when I say it!!! That is the reason that your relationship is to be with the Lord through His Word. The Holy Spirit is the One who guides into all truth (John 16:13).
Paul says, “ye shall receive.” This translates one word, “apolambano” and means, “what is promised.” The word “reward” translates “antapodosis” and means, “to recompense, to reward or repay someone.” The words “of the inheritance” translate “kleronomia” and means, “an inheritance, property received (or to be received) by inheritance, the eternal blessedness of the consummated kingdom of God which is to be expected after the visible return of Christ.” This is not talking about eternity or heaven being earned by our obedience. It does mean that what we will have there makes it worth any price that obedience to Him costs. I can imagine a wife who in obedience to her Lord submits to an uncaring unsaved husband who makes her life miserable on this earth. That is a big price to pay for her to serve the Lord faithfully. But when she stands before the Lord and He says to her “well done thou good and faithful servant. Enter thou into the joy of the Lord,” do you think she will remember what it cost her? I’ll tell you what she will do. She’ll join that godly black woman in the cotton patch and they’ll have a simultaneous camp meeting spell! Christians do not need to be standing around having pity parties over what serving Him costs them. It is nothing in comparison to “the reward of the inheritance.” Then next let’s look at,
THE SERVANTS ATTITUDE IN SERVING THE LORD
Paul reminds them, “for ye serve the Lord Christ.” The word “serve” translates, “douleuo” and means, “to be a slave, serve, do service.” This is that same word for slave mentioned above. Only here it is a verb. It is a present active indicative verb. The present tense means that we keep on (present tense) by our choice (active voice) being a slave to Jesus in the activities we are engaged in even though it may appear that we are serving someone else, i.e., our employer, submission of a child to a parent, submission of a wife to an unreasonable husband, etc.
Every Christian needs a servant spirit. It is the spirit of Christianity. It is the Spirit of Christ because He was the greatest servant of all. Then Paul speaks to us of,
THE FINAL ACCOUNTING FOR OUR DOING (LABORS)
He says, “But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done.” The words “he that doeth wrong” translates “adikeo” and means, “to act unjustly or wickedly, to sin.” He is talking to Christians. Do you mean it is possible for Christians to do wrong? This is certainly teaching that. Now I ask this question. Will things for which we have been forgiven here on earth be brought up at the Judgment Seat of Christ (the judgment of the saved for rewards)? I do not believe so. However, there are those who stubbornly refuse the Lordship of Christ in their lives and will not admit they are wrong when HE SHOWS THEM. They do not ask for forgiveness and do not get it. This idea that you get forgiveness from the Lord without repentance and confession to Him is not true (1 John 1:9). We need to live with this in mind. There is a day of accounting for us as Christians. There is no question that we are going to heaven once we are saved. But there is a question about rewards and the loss of rewards (1 Cor. 3:11-16).