Jesus wants to reward you in heaven for your faithfulness to Him on earth.⇦Tweet that!
Why Should I Care About Eternal Rewards?
It may be the greatest difference between Christians today and the early church. I believe inheritance means inheritance in warning passages such as Galatians 5:19-21, and that this is a true warning against loss of rewards in the coming Kingdom. Usually this is a concept most believers never heard of before.
When I say that receiving eternal life is based on our faith in Jesus Christ, most of us have heard that before. But when I say that our experience of eternal life is based on our faithfulness to Jesus, many Christians are like I was the first time I heard it. “What, I’ve never heard any of this before?”
I get it, That was my reaction the first time I heard any teaching on eternal reward. “What, I’ve never heard anything about this idea of eternal reward before?”
However, as the prof in seminary turned me from Scripture to Scripture, I had to admit that Jesus taught His disciples to expect rewards in heaven: Luke 6:22-23; Matthew 16:27; 19:21; Luke 14:14.
Still, many Christians just can’t believe that Jesus would want to reward us for what we’re already willingly doing for Him.
Two passages in the Gospel may help you begin to change your mind about rewards.
Two Eternal Rewards Passages
In Luke 17:10, Jesus told His disciples: “So you too, when you have done everything you were commanded to do, should say, ‘We are slaves undeserving of special praise; we have only done our duty.’” According to Jesus, it’s not only my duty but also my privilege to serve Him out of my resources in Him. This isn’t me demanding that Jesus rewards me. This is Jesus telling me He wants to reward me because He is gracious and generous, not because I am deserving.⇦Tweet that!
Jesus told a parableIn Matthew 20:1-16 about laborers who worked different lengths of time but all received the same wages. At the end of the day when the workers questioned the landowner’s fairness in giving rewards to those who didn’t really deserve it, he said, “Am I not permitted to do what I want with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?” (Matthew 20:15)
He’s the Rewarder, and He promises reward to all who live by faith–Hebrews 11:6.
3 Reasons Why I Believe In Rewards
First, Jesus and the Apostles told us to seek rewards in heaven.
Without explanation or apology, Jesus and the Apostles encourage Christians to seek eternal rewards and warn against losing eternal rewards. The contrast between the first century believer’s awareness of the subject of an inheritance and Christians today shows that modern teachers have neglected this doctrine. The New Testament writers assumed their readers understood the concept of eternal rewards and every believer’s accountability.
Second, the doctrine of eternal rewards and our inheritance in the Kingdom explain the warning passages of the New Testament.
I believe that because the early church understood the doctrine of eternal rewards the warnings against losing our inheritance or rewards come with no clarification (1 Cor 6:9-11; Gal 5:19-21; Col 1:21-23). In the same manner, reminders of our accountability at the Judgment Seat of Christ come with no explanation (Rom 14:10; 2 Cor 5:10; Rev 22:12). Inheritance means ownership of the coming Kingdom rather than mere residence there (Col 1:12-14).
The idea or possibility of a future inheritance is a central theme of the Bible. The New Testament offer to inherit the Kingdom is directly borrowed from Daniel’s term to “possess the kingdom” in Daniel 7:22. It refers to rulership over the kingdom of the Son of Man given to the saints. This pattern was established by Israel in Genesis 49:28, “And he (Jacob or Israel) blessed them, everyone with the blessing appropriate to him (literal Hebrew).” Reuben, Simeon and Levi, the unfaithful sons, were disinherited. Judah, Joseph, and Benjamin, the faithful sons, were given their inheritance.
Inheritance means much more than “going to heaven when we die.” To inherit the Kingdom refers not to entering heaven but to possessing the Kingdom and ruling there.
Every believer should desire his or her inheritance and be thankful that Christ has qualified us to share in this inheritance of the saints (Col 1:12-14).
Finally, Jesus and the Apostles describe the type of life God rewards.
God rewards those who seek Him through spiritual disciplines (Matthew 6:6; Hebrews 11:6).
God rewards those who submit to their employers as faithful stewards (Matthew 24:45-47; Ephesians 6:8).
God rewards those who deny self to serve His Son (Matthew 16:24-27).
God rewards those who serve the needy and hurting in His name (Mark 9:41).
God rewards those who suffer for Christ and His reputation (Luke 6:22-23).
God will reward those who sacrifice for Him (Luke 6:35).
But It’s Not About Striving!
It’s all about grace. Jesus rewards those who live out of their resources in Christ and move toward their destiny (Ephesians 2:10 works already prepared) in the power of the Spirit.
All is grace; eternal rewards are due to grace.⇦Tweet that!
Question: How can I help you better understand the doctrine of eternal rewards?