Why did Paul and James preach the judgment of works for believers?
Paul preached that works will be judged in 2nd Corinthians 5.
It was because the believers had to fulfill the law in those days.
Paul told believers to fulfill the law by imitating Jesus Christ.
Romans 13 “8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law….11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for NOW our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”
It was because their judgment was imminent in their lifetime.James said the same thing.
James 2 “My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. …8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; 9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.”
James 5 “9 Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! “
But how could believers fulfill the law?
The law demands perfection that only Christ fulfilled.
I don’t see any believers today walking like Jesus.We know that the law was fully revealed in the Sermon on the Mount.
In fact, we see that Paul, James, John, Peter all used teachings from the sermon on the mount in their epistles.(avoiding anger, lust, greed, suffering for Christ, giving up possessions to the poor, loving others like Jesus, etc.)
It was because the believers were expected to fulfill the law and become Christ-like in those days.
The law was canceled on the cross but it had not yet disappeared until Israel’s judgment in AD66-136.
That is why Jesus told the 7 Churches in Asia that He was also judging them for their works.
Revelation 2-3 ” 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, …..And I will give to each one of you according to your works……for I have not found your works perfect before God…..8 “I know your works……15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.”
THEIR judgment was according to works.
Because the Law was still not yet disappeared at that time.The law only disappeared when Israel was judged.
Hebrews 8:13 “In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is READY to vanish away.”
When the law ended in AD66-136, the scriptures ENDED.
Why did the scriptures END in the 1st Century?
Why did the Apostles END in the 1st Century?
Why did Jesus suddenly stop bothering about the believers’ works after the book of Revelation?
It is because the Law ended in the 1st Century.
This is why there are no scriptures being written to us directly.
This is why you don’t see people dying in Churches during the Holy Communion.
This is why you don’t see the events of Ananias and Sapphira being repeated today.
This is why you see preachers getting into scandals and they are not falling down dead.
The grace we have is far greater than what the Apostles had.
This is why Jesus is not sending Epistles/letters to any Churches today!
Paul wrote directly to the Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, etc.
James wrote to the 12 tribes of Israel.
Peter wrote to the churches in the Roman empire.
John wrote Revelation to 7 churches in Asia that don’t exist today.
It was not written to us directly.
There are no scriptures written to us today.
The Bible is about two covenants.Law and Grace.
Law existed from Moses to Jesus.
Grace began with Jesus on the cross in AD30-33.
Law disappeared in AD66-136.
The time between the Cross in AD33 and AD66-136 was the transition between Law and Grace.
Grace began on the cross.
Law ended in Israel’s judgment in AD66-136.
The scriptures were fulfilled when Christ died on the cross and the law passed away in AD66-136.
We read the scriptures to see what Jesus has DONE for us.
The only commandment today is to believe in Jesus Christ.We don’t need to fulfill any law or become like Jesus because the law does not exist today.
Of course that does not mean that we do evil deeds.
Even unbelievers know that.But as far as salvation is concerned, we have even more grace compared to the Apostles who had to fulfill the law.
The believers of the 1st century were saved by grace but also judged according to works for rewards because they had to fulfill the law.
The believers today are also saved by grace but we have no judgment of works because the law ended and passed away in the 1st Century.