Some of the Elect Are Still Not Reconciled
II Corinthians 5:10—“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us will receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or bad.”
Since the judgment for all whom God loves (the elect) has already happened at the cross, there will no future judgment for Christians. There will not even be a side-judgment where extra goodies and rewards are passed out.
Why then is this text, II Corinthians 5, which is talking to Christians, bringing up the judgment? The answer is that Christians are being told in this text that they are “ambassadors”, not so much to each other but rather to those who are still lost
Some of those who are still lost are the elect, who even though God loves them and has loved them, are right now ignorant of the gospel. And their ignorance, their Arminianism, their legal fears, all of that is evidence that these elect have not yet been justified by God.
And since the ambassadors to whom Paul is talking don’t know which of the lost are elect or not, they are to present the good news to all sinners, and to command all sinners to “ be reconciled”. The ambassadors don’t say: some of you have already received the reconciliation but just don’t know it.
The reconciliation is received passively (by imputation) and that has not yet happened for those who are still ignorant of the gospel and still living in legalism. Look back at the time language of Romans 5:10-11—“now that we are reconciled, we shall be saved by His resurrection. We rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”
Why is Paul bringing up the judgment seat, when Christians have already passed through the judgment by imputation? Paul brings up “the fear of God” (II Corinthians 5:11) because the ambassadors need to remember that there are lost people around them who have not yet been justified who need to hear the gospel and be commanded to be reconciled.
We don’t say: well if Christ died for them, then they are already reconciled and justified. They are not. Nor do we say: well, anyway, it’s sure to happen.
God works in history. God imputes in time what Christ has paid for in time. And God uses the gospel as the message heard and believed by the elect as they are being justified. So we “make it our aim to please Him.” (II Corinthians 5:9)