On Feb 26, Bob posted a blog (see here) about the fact that Tom Rodgers of Grace Church in Wichita Falls, TX, taught on the Judgment Seat of Christ just a few days before he died. Bob spoke of the many years that Tom, along with Reggie Coe, had pastored the church, and that Tom had been a faithful servant in regards to proclaiming the Free Grace message. Bob ended the blog by saying that it is encouraging to remember that the things we do for Christ with good motives will follow us to the Judgment Seat of Christ.
I couldn’t help but respond to that blog. I want to emphasize the impact that all of us who proclaim the message of grace can have on the lives of others. It will not be until the Judgment Seat of Christ that we will get a clear picture of that impact.
Pastor Tom Rodgers had a big impact on my life. I attended Grace Church from 1981-1983 while I was in the Air Force at Sheppard AFB in Wichita Falls. Under Tom and Reggie’s ministry I was introduced to Biblical teaching. They went verse by verse through the Bible. They spoke of context. They dealt with background information. They explained how one passage of Scripture could not contradict another. I had never heard any of these things. In fact, when I first visited the church, I found it so strange, so different, that I decided it was too weird and that I would not return. Fortunately, after a month or so I wanted to know more and went back. It became my church home.
It was at Grace Church that I also first heard about the Judgment Seat of Christ (the Bema). I had believed in the eternal security of the believer, but did not know how to answer many questions from the Bible. When others would tell me that you could lose your salvation based upon such and such a verse, I had no answer other than to say, “well other verses tell us we can’t lose our salvation.” I also could not explain to people why works were important in the life of the Christian. The Bema went a long way to answering those questions!
The teaching and message that Tom and Reggie gave me changed everything for me. Because of my experience at Grace Church, I decided to go to Dallas Theological Seminary, the school where Tom and Reggie went. I wanted to be able to explain the Bible the way they did. Their teaching made the Bible so much clearer for me. I wanted to do that for others.
I have no doubt that my presence at Grace Church did not cause much of a blip on Tom and Reggie’s radar screen. Reggie may not even remember me. I don’t know if Tom would have or not after all these years. But isn’t all of that great? They didn’t know what impact they had on me. It is the same way for us. If we are faithful in teaching and proclaiming the message of grace, we may have no idea how it has affected those we minister to, in whatever capacity.
But the Lord knows. At the Bema, all will know and remember.