Unfortunately, some Christians have started believing God also gives everyone a trophy.
Good works and effort have nothing to do with salvation. It's a free gift of grace. We can't earn it.
But once we start our walk with the Lord, we determine how far and high we climb. God rewards our faithfulness, and He doesn't give everyone a trophy (Luke 17:7-10; 1 Corinthians 3:9-15).
Some rewards are earthly, others are eternal. Imagine that...a reward that lasts forever!
God wants to reward us so he urges us to be serious about our faith and assures us He will reward faithful obedience and faithful use of whatever resources and opportunities He gives us (see passages below).
When I ponder this truth, it strengthens my desire to please the Lord (Ephesians 5:8-17), not simply for a "trophy," but because I love Him.
How about you?
Matthew 5:11-12: heavenly rewards
Matthew 6:19-20: treasures in heaven
Matthew 12:36: future judgement
Matthew 25: faithfulness on earth yields rewards in Heaven
1 Corinthians 4:5: future reward
2 Corinthians 5:1-11: our "fearful responsibility"
Philippians 2:12-13: serious about sanctification
James 2:14-26: dead faith
Revelation 22:12: Jesus brings reward
If you would like to read more:
Are There Degrees of Reward in Heaven? by Hank Hanegraaff
Are the Rewards in Heaven Permanent? by Randy Alcorn
Levels of Happiness in Heaven, by Jonathan Edwards-John Piper
1. Note these words of Christ and how they relate to our Christian responsibility and what rewards we "deserve."
Luke 16:10-11: “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. 11 And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven?
Luke 17:7-10: “When a servant comes in from plowing or taking care of sheep, does his master say, ‘Come in and eat with me’? 8 No, he says, ‘Prepare my meal, put on your apron, and serve me while I eat. Then you can eat later.’ 9 And does the master thank the servant for doing what he was told to do? Of course not. 10 In the same way, when you obey me you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.’”
2. Note what the following passages say about eternal judgment and rewards.
1 Corinthians 3:9-15: For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building. 10 Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. 12 Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. 13 But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. 14 If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. 15 But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.
2 Corinthians 5:10-11: For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body. 11 Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too.
copyright 2016, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com