What It Means to Please God.

2 Corinthians 5:11-13

The aspiration of the believer is to please God, whether here on earth or in His presence in Heaven. The Spirit compels us to become more like the Son every day.

The judgement by Christ of individual Christians is not one of morality, since sin was dealt with on the Cross. This judgement examines how we lived out our Gospel testimony among each other and before those outside the church. A “bema” seat in Greek culture was a public place of discernment, judgement, reward, and recognition.

Realization (verse 11)

As we think ahead to our judgement and rewards before Christ, we should daily and consistently experience the “fear of the Lord” which means a reverential awe. (See Revelation 1:17-18.)

Persuasion (verse 11)

Paul reminds the Corinthians that there were unbelieving people in the midst of the church who still needed to be persuaded to follow Christ.

Manifestation (verse 11)

God knows Paul’s heart, and others have seen a change in his life. Unbelievers in the midst of the church should be convicted by the changed lives of the true believers around them.

Distractions (verse 12-13)

As we study God’s Word together in discipling relationships, we learn how to live to please God from each other. But there are many distractions we can face.

The first distraction Paul mentions is people who love to be praised and need to be noticed. He had referred to this behavior in 2 Corinthians 3:1-3. Similarly, we can be distracted by those who take pride in form, style, or look over substance. In verse 13, criticisms from others can distract us from Gospel purpose. (See Acts 26:22-24.) Still, we must keep it as our constant ambition to remain focused on pleasing the Lord.

Application Points

  • There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious for godliness. God wants you to be ambitious about what He’s created you to do. It’s okay to want to be rewarded for living faithfully by God’s grace.
Cross References to Explore
  • Romans 12:1-2, 14:18, Ephesians 5:10, Philippians 4:18, Colossians 3:20, 1 Thessalonians 4:1-11, Hebrews 13:20-21 – Pleasing God.
  • 1 Corinthians 13:13, 4:5, Romans 14:10-12 – Judgement for Christians will reveal the character and motive of our service.