Today, I had the pleasure of looking through my Grandfather’s sermon notes. My Grandfather’s name was Reverend Joseph E. Hocutt, and he was a co-vocational minister who was a circuit rider preacher on Sundays and a school teacher during the week in Sharpsburg, NC in the late 1800’s. In one of his sermons, he preached on 2 Corinthians 5:10. But before I share that Scripture, I think it is prudent to read the preceding Scriptures to get a context of what verse ten should mean to us.
2 Corinthians 5:1-10 (English Standard Version)
For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3 if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. 4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
The following are notes taken from RC Sproul’s Commentary in The Reformation Study Bible as well as my own understanding of Scripture. When we become “true” Christians, then our earthly home here on earth is only temporary. Even if we lose our home on earth, we still have a home, made for us in Heaven. In verse two, we groan means that we are sighing with frustration at the limitations of this present life, with its sin, weakness, and corruption. In verse three, “we may not be found naked” means that we are without a body. Verse four indicates that Paul is longing for the resurrection body, free of weakness and imperfections of this life. Swallowed up by life means the new heavenly life to come will overtake our presence existence. In verse five, God has given us the Spirit as a guarantee, which means the Holy Spirit’s work in us is a daily renewal and strengthening. It is the guarantee of complete sanctification and future completion of that work in resurrection bodies. In verse seven, we walk by faith and not by sight. This means that by trusting in the promises of God, we are have already begun to enjoy Christ, but we have not yet fully experienced our resurrection bodies. Verse eight means that the immediate state between our death and Christ’s return, when the Christian dies, their soul goes immediately into Christ’s presence and are at home with the Lord. Although their soul is with the Lord, their bodies remain here on earth and in the grave. When Christ returns, their bodies will be raised from the dead, glorified, and forever be reunited with their spirits. In verse nine, whatever our condition is, we are to praise God. In verse ten, the degrees of reward in Heaven are discussed in this verse. Although Christians are forgiven and will never be sent to Hell, they must still stand before the Judgement Seat of God and be judged.
Rev. Hocutt wrote, “For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ. This is a crownship of reckoning. The Bible is clear on this that there will be a settling day. We shall meet again and all we have ever done will be judged.” Then he gave an example of a young girl who was without Christ Jesus. He wrote, “A girl dying said, Father why did you not tell me there is a Hell? It will be the sinners doom and Christian’s joy!”
When Christ Jesus does return, as my Grandfather wrote, “There will be a summons and we must answer!” When Christ returns, on Judgement Day, we must all stand before Lord Jesus at the judgement seat. Those who are “true” Christians, will be judged on their life and receive various degrees of reward in Heaven. This judgement will include a disclosure and evaluation of the motives of our hearts. See 1 Corinthians 4:5, Matthew 6:20, Luke 19:11-27, 1 Corinthians 3:12-15.
Woe to the person who never gave their hearts to Christ Jesus. Their fate will be sealed and they will be cast into eternal damnation of Hell. See 2 Thessalonians 1:9, “They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.”
Those who have trusted in Christ Jesus will receive eternal life. See Matthew 25:46, “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
If you do not know Jesus, I would ask that you pray this simple prayer to Him.
Dear Jesus, I am a sinner. I believe that you are the Son of God and that you came into the world to save it. I believe you died on the cross to save me of my sins. I believe that you rose from the grave on the third day. I ask you to come into my heart and forgive me from all the sins and trespasses I have ever committed. Thank you, Jesus, for saving my soul. I pray this in Jesus Name! Amen!
I hope that you will come to Christ Jesus today! Don’t be like the little girl my Grandfather mentioned who was dying and saw that she was headed to Hell. She asked her Dad, why didn’t you ever tell me that there was a Hell? I pray that you will come to know the loving and living Savior today.
Reverend Joseph E. Hocutt, Sermon Notes on 2 Corinthians 5:10, Date Unknown.
 RC Sproul. The Reformation Study Bible-Commentary (Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2015) 2056.
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