“For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field”
See 1 Corinthians 3:9
People. An audience. Those we’ve pointed to Christ and have been saved through what we’ve taught. This is the true contextual reward found in 1 Corinthians 3. I’ll go deeper into this passage shortly, but first, I’ve heard it said Bible teachers will be judged by God in two different ways:
This can’t be true unless we’re overlooking the good news of the gospel for such turns teaching into a work. If anything is a work it’s not based on grace because Paul called the gospel the gospel of grace (see Romans 11:6, Ephesians 2:8-9, Acts 20:24).
Just imagine God saying, “I’m so disappointed in you, for what you taught. But you’re still saved, so squeak in through the back door.” Or, “You did such a great job with your Bible teaching! Here’s an extra reward!”
Some even claim, “Teachers are held to a higher standard!” but that’s not biblical due to the fact that Christ is our standard and He should be theirs too. Sure, we may be held to a higher standard by religious nut-jobs, but not by God. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. His commandments are not burdensome (see Matt 11:30, 1 John 5:3).
Friend, we can rest assured, when we physically die God won’t have a look of disappointment on His face, nor do we have to worry about missing out on any reward. Why? THE CROSS.
With all due respect and love, saying we’ll be judged for our teaching is double-talk and ignores the sufficiency of Christ’s work. Saying we’ll be judged in a negative way–for anything, let alone our teaching–causes fear for the person who’s brave enough to actually teach. Double-talk doesn’t come from God. Fear doesn’t come from God. Hence, this special “teacher judgment” is error.
Let’s look at the passages used to create this theology:
If you think about it, if Bible teachers were judged for their teaching how can we determine if someone is officially a Bible teacher? The legalist will tell you, but what’s the truth? Is it when we teach once, twice, or 1,000 times? Is it when we graduate from cemetery–I mean, seminary? Did Paul, Peter, James, Jude, and John go to seminary? What about Matthew, Mark, and Luke? No? So were they teachers? Should we turn from teaching if we think we’re in error, never teach again, go home and repent? How can we be 100% sure we’ve repented properly from teaching? Is it based on casual conversation or do we have to be on stage and then off stage? Does social media count?
Do you see it? Do you see how this notion of Bible teachers being scolded or handed extra goodies for what they said or wrote isn’t the truth? Thankfully, I sure do. If I didn’t you’d never hear from me again. Instead, I’d go work on my golf swing and spend more time with Jennifer and Grace. I’d never take the chance of getting a frown from God on Judgment Day. But that’s not the truth. Therefore I’ll continue until the wheels fall off because I enjoy this very much.
So today, my friends, know this: Teach all you want and don’t be afraid. Learn, grow, mature, take chances, fall down, get up, and move forward fearlessly! Use what you’ve got! It is enough! Use what you know! IT IS ENOUGH! God is always, always, always proud of you! Don’t worry, everything that’s not the truth will burn up like wood, hay, and stubble. The fire and refinement of the Cross will do all the work in regard to your message. You can rest knowing that Christ is sifting through your message with unlimited patience, counsel, and care. You can be yourself. On the day you meet Him face to face He won’t pull you aside to correct your teaching errors, oh no. He’ll never reference any of your sins. Instead, He’ll greet you with the warmest smile you’ve ever seen. He’ll look you in the eyes, hug you, and say, “Welcome home. I’m so glad you’re here.”
A prayer for you: Father, thank you for the truth of the gospel. It has taken so much pressure off me. Knowing that no matter what I do or don’t do, I’m secure, because of Jesus? This is empowering! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. Dad, you know who has just read this devotional, and you know who needed to. I pray that you take them further into the awareness of what Jesus has done. Help them enjoy the freedom He died to give them. Amen.
This devotional is from my upcoming book, The Christian Identity, Volume 3. Check out my other bestselling books here!