Confidence with pure, godly motivations. That’s what Paul, his companions in the ministry, and other apostles sought to display as they traveled the world preaching the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is what he explained in 2 Corinthians 5:8-11. These are qualities all believers should shoot for. In the midst of their Holy Spirit-motivated confidence and godly intentions, Paul explained the goals behind such qualities when he stated the following:
9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.
Ultimately, their goal was acceptance. Acceptance from the Lord, regardless of whether they were still on Earth or in heaven. They were mindful that the life, character, and spiritual condition of everyone, including themselves, would be laid bare for all to see at the ultimate divine appointment before the judgment seat of Christ. Paul was acutely aware that people will either get great rewards from the Lord as “good and faithful servants” (Matthew 25:21) or fewer rewards alongside acceptance into the Father’s presence for confessing the Lord Jesus but not doing as well as they could have (1 Corinthians 3:13-15) or total rejection altogether from the Lord for rejecting the Lord Jesus and being “workers of iniquity” (Matthew 7:23).
With these things in mind (knowing the possible terror of the Lord that can justifiably be unleashed on unbelievers) Paul, his companions, and the apostles knew the urgency of persuading men by God’s word and the Holy Spirit’s power. They were so in tune with the desires of the Holy Spirit and knew God and his word so well that they knew how to reason convincingly with people. Seeing the results of God changing their own hearts, minds, and lives and how this was displayed in their works, gifts of the Spirit, and fruit of the Spirit, Paul knew they were made manifest unto God as the real deal. He also knew that anyone who was truly godly would be confident in their consciences that these men were truly of God.
As I stated above, all of these qualities are what all of us believers should aim for. Knowing that judgment day is coming should motivate us with confidence in God and his word concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, including confidence in the apostles’ teachings. It should motivate us to reason confidently with people as well as give us confidence in the fact we are manifested unto God and manifested in the consciences of those who live godly in Christ Jesus. May we humbly allow our Heavenly Father to order our steps accordingly until that great day of our ultimate divine appointment.