For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 2 Corinthians 5:10
There are many motivations in the Christian’s life. One is our awareness that one day we will give an account of our lives to Christ, as He sits in judgment upon humanity. It is much more comforting to believe that Christians will be ushered into heaven with no questions asked about our faithfulness upon earth, but that is not what Scripture says will happen.
Paul cautioned that in the final day of judgment every Christian will give an account for his or her actions. This expectation terrified Paul and motivated him to strive to please God in everything he did (2 Cor. 5:9-11). Paul knew that although he might ignore the Spirit’s quiet voice during His life on earth, a time of accounting would come when he would have to explain why he had rejected God’s instructions. Paul never carelessly assumed that, because of all he had done for God’s kingdom, God would overlook his sin. Instead, he understood that to whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48).
God does not force His will upon us. He will ask us to answer for the way we responded to Him. Christians have been pardoned by the sacrifice of Jesus. We are not condemned. But because God is absolutely just, we will be called on to give an account of our actions. The Christian life gives a tremendous freedom, but it also brings a pervasive sense of our accountability to God and to others. We can learn from Paul that accountability is healthy; it gives us a powerful motivation to please God.