THEOLOGY & APOLOGETICS
By David Tai
The Bible doesn't say that we'll have mansions in heaven, but it does say we can earn heavenly rewards with the work we do here on earth. And there are different degrees of rewards, which implies that we can strive for the better rewards. Otherwise there would simply be one type of reward given to every believer.
"For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done." Matthew 16:27For the specific crowns that we can received, please refer to the GotQuestions.org article "What is the purpose of there being rewards in heaven?"
We can rejoice in our rewards. Unlike earthly rewards, working and desiring for the heavenly ones is not selfish or greedy. God wants us to rejoice and joyfully strive for greater rewards.
"Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." Matthew 5:11-12We are explicitly instructed to earn them. It is a commandment from God. Paul even likened it to a fight or race.
"But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal." Matthew 6:20Godly men in the Bible worked for their rewards. Paul was expecting his in Heaven. Even Moses, whom the Bible calls the most humble man (Numbers 12:3), desired them. If Paul and Moses worked for them, so should all believers.
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7)
"Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing." 2 Timothy 4:8We will have to answer to Jesus for all our actions one day. While we cannot lose our salvation via our actions, we can suffer loss of rewards. So not only do we have to work for our rewards, we must be careful not to lose them.
"He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward." Hebrews 11:26
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil." 2 Corinthians 5:10Therefore, we have to be careful about the motivation behind our actions. The right action with the wrong motivation will not stand the test before Jesus. I have heard many preachers say that there will be many surprises in Heaven. Many things we do for God that we think are good will fail the test when judged before God's perfect standards. On the other hand, there could be pleasant surprises as well.
"If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire." 1 Corinthians 3:14-15
"And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you." Matthew 6:16-18Besides our motivation, we should be careful not to allow others to sidetrack and rob us of our heavenly rewards.
"Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind" Colossians 2:18-19While we are responsible for our actions, any reward we earn is because of the grace of God. Our obedience and good works are accomplished due to His grace. There is nothing we can do without Him and therefore nothing for us to be proud about.
"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them — yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me." 1 Corinthians 15:10Ultimately, whatever we do on Earth is for God's glory. The rewards are not for our self-glorification. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with desiring them. While we have to desire and work hard for heavenly rewards, God alone gives us the ability to earn them. Recognizing this, when we are in Heaven, we will offer back the crowns we received to Him as worship.
"The twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: 'You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.'" Revelation 4:10-11
Image Credit: Gadini; untitled; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life | God-Father
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