5. They, good works, are profitable because of the present joy, peace, and satisfaction they bring to the believer himself.
Our Lord declared: “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them” (John 13-17). Christ’s words, unrecorded in the gospels, are quoted by Paul in his farewell address to the elders of the church at Ephesus: “I have showed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’ “ (Acts 20:35).
Good deeds, when motivated by love for Christ, bring to the doer multiplied joy and peace, together with the deep satisfaction that comes from doing the will of his Lord. Giving not only enriches the recipient of the gift, but far more greatly enriches the one who gave the gift. We are told that “God loveth a cheerful giver,” and the reason is not far to seek: God is a cheerful Giver Himself (2 Cor. 9:7). When God loved, He loved the world; when He gave, He gave His own beloved Son, “That gift of gifts, all other Gifts in One!” We are told that Christ, “for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame” (Heb. 12:2).
Just as sinful deeds bring their own punishment in the way of a guilty conscience, a defiled memory, and a restlessness of spirit; so virtue and good works bring their own reward in terms of joy, peace and satisfaction. If there were no other reward than this, it would be compensation enough! The faithful servant is rewarded by entering into “the joy of his Lord” (Matt. 25:21). Christians may now, as they follow the example of their Lord, who “went about doing good,” share the joy that was His in doing His Father’s will.
“Go labor on, spend and be spent,
Thy joy to do the Saviour’s will;
It is the way the Master went —
Should not the servant tread it still?”
6. They are profitable because of the future reward they shall receive at the judgment seat of Christ.
Before this judgment seat of Christ every Christian shall one day stand and receive from the Lord Himself, whatever reward he has earned by his conduct as a believer while he lived on earth. The Scriptures are clear as to this matter, for we read: “We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ” (Rom. 14:10). And again: “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” (2 Cor. 5:10). Still further, we read concerning this event: “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is; if any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: yet he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” (1 Cor. 3:10-15).
It is important to distinguish between the judgment seat of Christ, which is for Christians only, and the Great White Throne judgment, which is for the unsaved, and is described in Revelation 20:15-20. It is the same difference that exists between a civil case and a criminal case. In a civil case it is the case that is tried, not the person. In the latter, it is the person who is tried and not the case. The former illustrates the judgment seat of Christ, the latter the judgment of the Great White Throne.
The judgment seat is a translation from the Greek word, “Bema.” This was used to describe the raised platform on which a judge sat to determine cases, or from which he gave awards for proficiency to those who had earned them by successful competition. At the judgment seat of Christ, each believer’s works shall be examined, and their true worth estimated and rewarded. Paul had this in mind when he said: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:7-8).
God’s Word assures the believer that: “God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which ye have showed toward His name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister” (Heb. 6:10). Every good work done for the glory of Christ shall receive in that day a more than adequate reward. The Lord’s commendation and crown shall fill the Christian’s cup of joy to overflowing. He will then understand the significance of his Lord’s words, “Great is your reward in Heaven” (Matt. 5:12). In view of this, we can readily appreciate what Paul meant when he said: “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18).
In view of the profitable character of good works, may it be ours, as disciples of our Lord and Master, to so live for Him, witness for Him and serve Him by our good works, which men shall behold that we may bring glory to His name on earth, enjoy the satisfaction such service brings to our own hearts, and also earn the reward of our Lord in that coming day.