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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What Is Our Reward in Heaven?

Matthew 6:1-4 (ESV)
1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 

Last night I left one of my credit cards at a place of business accidentally. I manager put it in his office for safe keeping until I picked it up. I heard the manager respond to one of the employees as I left, "He said, 'Thanks.'" I wondered if the employee had been the one who found my credit card. I wondered if he expected to receive a reward. It seems everyone expects to receive something extra for doing the right thing. It seems that there is a "tip jar" at every place of business. It seems that doing the right thing is the extra thing.

The Bible says that expecting your reward here for doing the right thing will mean that you don't get any reward in heaven. Many people want that reward now. They don't care much about what they will get in heaven. They don't understand what that is.

I used to think that a reward in heaven would mean that I would get a bigger mansion or those whom I served on earth would have to serve me. I realize that this is just thinking in a worldly way rather than a heavenly way. The world says that rewards mean feeling good, being rich and having other people bow down to you. That's not the way it will be in heaven.

Everyone of us will stand before the Lord on the Day. This is the Day we will bring to Him the things we have done on earth. Each of these will be tested by fire to see whether they will stand the test God gives them as being enduring. Whatever is done because of Jesus Christ will survive. The things built upon a relationship with Him rather than recognition by the world will stand this test. Jesus Christ changes us so that we will have something to present to Him on that Day.

Many of the things people have done will be burned up because they didn't withstand the test. They will still be in heaven but they will have nothing to show for their days on earth.

Now, I realize that this will mean very little to a lot of people now but I believe that our reward will be in the presentation of what we have done that has withstood His test. It will be our glory in heaven. It will be like nothing else we could ever have imagined and it will be our reward.

There is another side that should bother us. Many people will stand before the Lord with nothing. They will have nothing to present to Him. They will have no glory.

I believe that those nightmares in which you weren't properly dressed in public, the ones in which you just discovered a class that you hadn't attended all semester, the ones in which you are unprepared for a test you didn't know was coming- none of those things which made you feel so anxious in your dreams will come close to what it will feel like if you stand before the Lord with nothing to present to Him.

The reward will be presenting the things counted as gold, silver and precious stones- a picture of a temple built for His glory. That is what I believe is the reward in heaven.

And it makes me want to have something to represent to Him.

1 Corinthians 3:12-15 (ESV)
12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.


Craig Godfrey said...

I always get a little sceptical with the 'rewards in heaven' thing.

It's always good to remind ourselves to change our focus off material things of the world and onto heaven - so long as it doesn't swing too far in the opposite direction, and it turns into a 'holy pride': "Look what I've done for God, that's another jewel on the crown!".

It takes a big measure of humility to balance this out - after all, who really is the reward for at the end of the day? We may receive a crown for our 'good works', but surely the first thing we would want to do with it is lay it at the feet of Jesus, and declare "it was all for your glory!" anyway?

Anthony Chia said...

Hebrews 6:10 (KJV) - For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

Rev 14:13 (KJV) - And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

The above 2 texts, to me, indicate that our righteous deeds are not forgotten and do follow us! How do they follow us? Here is a text below, which have been interpreted in 3 ways,

Rev 19:8 (KJV) - And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness {righteousnesses} of saints.
Rev 19:8 (ESV) - it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”—for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

The "her" in Rev 19:8 is referring to the Bride, and so, as is commonly understood, is referring to the universal Church. Collectively, we are the church, and so, it is referring to us all, believers. The 3 ways of interpretations are:

1. The Bride, and so, we, are clothed in fine linen, and the fine linen is the imputed righteousness of The Lord, granted unto the saints.

2. The Bride, and so, we, are clothed in fine linen, and the fine linen is our righteous deeds.

3. The Bride and so, we, are clothed in fine linen, and the fine linen is our righteousness from justification and sanctification. In other words, the fine linen is both our imputed righteousness and our righteous deeds we done in our sanctification.

I am tended to believe in the 3rd interpretation. Perhaps, we are clothed with fine linen of righteousness (imputed) adorned with our righteous deeds. Perhaps, our righteous deeds are translated into adornments on our clean and white or bright and pure linen ("translated" from our imputed righteousness). Perhaps, believers are arrayed alike, yet different in specific details!

And it also makes me want to have something to present to Him. I said before, it is not that my God would need anything, but I would like to picture myself bringing a hand gift in the form of a FRUIT basket, when I come to his Heaven. At times, I would pray, "What would you want in the basket".

Anthony Chia, high.expressions