Countdown to Judgment Part 4: Our Eternal Rewards
Charles F. Stanley
- Introduction: At the judgment seat of Christ, the Lord will examine the works of all believers. But did you know that He will also reward us for our godly choices in life? Through righteous living, we can earn a number of different honors, including special crowns for faithful service.
- The Nature of Our Rewards
- Our rewards will match our good deeds. The apostle Paul wrote that “He who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor” (2 Cor. 3:8). In other words, we will receive according to our own good deeds, not in comparison to what someone else has done. God will reward us even for small acts of kindness, if we acted with the right motivation (Matt. 5:11-12, 10:41-42).
- There will be different degrees of rewards. Since our opportunities vary, so do our rewards. If we are given a greater opportunity, we also have greater sacrifices to make and more responsibility. One who lays down his life because of persecution will receive a great reward (Matt. 5:11-12). It’s even possible to get no reward if we did the right thing but with a motivation of receiving human praise.
- Our rewards will be eternal. Godly lives aren’t always rewarded here on earth. Be careful not to place your hope in material, temporal pleasures when God has promised us eternal, heavenly rewards for our righteous choices.
- The various rewards we can earn include:
- The satisfaction of hearing Jesus say, “Well done.” Imagine if you had performed a heroic act, and the president himself flew to your town to congratulate you and give you an award. You would feel honored and gratified that he acknowledged you. Now imagine how much more special you will feel when Christ Himself praises you for a job well done (Matt. 25:21, 23).
- The privilege of meeting those whom we influenced for Christ. In heaven, we will meet the people impacted by our witness for Christ. Perhaps we didn’t share our faith with them directly, but we supported missionaries and prayed for their success.
- Our assigned position of service in eternity. If we have been faithful to do what God has given us to accomplish on earth, He will give us positions of authority in eternity (Rev. 22:5). The Lord will judge us based on three criteria: 1) How much truth did we know? 2) What talents, skills, and opportunities did we have? 3) What did we do with the opportunities God provided?
- Our eternal, undisturbed, complete intimacy with Christ. When we are conformed to the image of Jesus, we will have total fellowship with Him (Rom. 8:29).
- The capacity to show forth the glory of Christ. The glory of God is the radiance of His holiness, love, and power. The Lord shines in His perfection, and if we were to look upon Him before the judgment, we would be blinded. Once we’ve been purified by the judgment, we will share some of that glory.
- The crowns a person can earn are:
G. The purpose of these crowns. We will take the crowns we ’ve been given and cast them at the feet of Jesus (Rev. 4:10-11). He is the one who enabled us to do any good with our lives, and He deserves all honor and praise.
- The crown of victory, or the incorruptible crown (1 Cor. 9:25). Most of us should receive this reward. It is given to those who face difficulties, hardships, and trials and do not give up.
- The crown of rejoicing, or the “soul winner’s crown” (1 Thess. 2:18-20). Those who were a part of someone else coming to Christ will receive a special crown.
- The crown of righteousness (2 Tim. 4:8). Those who have longed for the Lord’s return and demonstrate that by living godly lives will earn this one.
- The crown of life (James 1:12). People who persevere through tribulation will be rewarded.
- The crown of glory (1 Peter 5:4). Church leaders, such as pastors who successfully shepherd their flocks, will receive this crown. Those who compromise their convictions or preach for the praise of others will forfeit this reward.
- Conclusion: When we meet Jesus, it will be too late to earn spiritual honors for our godly choices on earth. Evaluate your life prayerfully and begin living today with the end of time—and heavenly rewards—in mind.
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