Monday, April 1, 2013

Our rewards in heaven!

We get rewards you know.

We do.

And it is OK to talk about them.

I'm looking forward to the rewards, but whenever I bring that up, I get the stink-eye from people. They mentally wag a finger and intimate that if I was a REAL Christian, I wouldn't even mention the rewards, because after all, Jesus is plenty for a reward. I must be greedy or something. "Well, seeing Jesus in person is more than enough for me," they say.

Well, of course He is enough for me. Salvation is a gift that never ends and enlightens my every day on earth. It is a gift that I never tire of thanking Him for. I am grateful for it every day. I can't wait to see Jesus and I pray every day that today will be the day of the rapture.

But the doctrine of rewards IS in the bible and of Paul was excited about it then I'm excited about it.

The Bema Seat of Christ is what the rewards ceremony is unofficially known as. The bema is from Greek and it meant the raised platform from which athletic victors were given their wreaths. It also was where judicial acts occurred- arguments spoken by lawyers to the judge, and orators addressed the people from it also.

After the rapture, while the Tribulation is going on, is the rewards ceremony. Paul describes it in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15,
According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 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. 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.
We stand before Jesus but we are not judged. Make no mistake- this is not a judgment. We are evaluated, not judged. It is a massive final exam. We are co-heirs, adopted sons, and cleansed of sin. Justified and declared righteous. But we were a work in progress. Did we work for Him? Did we rely on the Spirit to bear fruit? Did we bring Him glory by working out our salvation with fear and trembling?

We will stand before Him and He will display our works. Some that I think were for Him I am sure will be revealed to have had selfish motives and will be burned up. Other works, many I won't even remember doing, will have been kept in the books by God and emerge as diamond. But it all will be laid bare. Ouch.

Even though it is not a judgment I am sure I will squirm!

In this essay by Bible.org titled, The Doctrine of Rewards: The Judgment Seat (Bema) of Christ, they write,
In 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20, the Apostle Paul drew courage and was motivated by the fact of rewards at the return of the Lord for the church which he mentions in every chapter in this epistle and becomes the primary subject of 2 Thessalonians. The Lord’s return and what this means not only to the world but to us individually is a very prominent subject of the New Testament.
It is a very big subject! Please read the thorough essay at Bible.org. Now we read this from (Matthew 10:41)

"The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward."

"Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Matthew 5:12)

"Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets." (Luke 6:23)

“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done." (Revelation 22:12)

"knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ." (Colossians 3:24)

And don't forget the crowns!

"Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him." (James 1:12).

"Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life." (Revelation 2:10)

"And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory." (1 Peter 5:4)

"Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever." (1 Corinthians 9:25)

"He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward".  (Heb 11:26)

I'm not a huge Chuck Missler fan, but he speaks of the Bema Seat in this clip between 11:00 and 14:00. What he says there makes sense to me. I'll summarize it below.



Missler says, "I think a lot about the Bema seat every day. It is not an academic concept. The bible talks about how God will wipe the tears from our eyes, twice in Revelation, this puzzles me. There is no sickness, no death, Everything is good in heaven, why are there tears. I think what we are going to grieve over at the seat of Christ are not our sins. He paid it all, those were over and done with at the cross. I think what will grieve us is when we review our lives before our King and we see the wasted opportunities. Remember Schindler's list at the end, he said "I could have saved one more" [Missler cries here] What will upset me are the things I could have done. Those moments when I wasn't quite bold enough to challenge someone with the Gospel, or I wasted time on silly trivia instead of the King's business. How diligent was I with the opportunities He put before me? How often I wasted away wasted opportunities, that will get to me."

Our God is gracious...imagine even then, ministering to us, wiping our tears when we cry over the times we let Him down! And He rewards us who are His children, His lambs. Oh, yes, Jesus IS enough.

But I think I'll look good in a crown. Maybe a tiara.

There is a reward, brethren. The good times are coming. They are almost here, maybe even at the door...

Dr. Todd Pylant, image- creative commons license free to use

15 comments:

  1. I think about the rewards too and I teach my children about them...I agree that it is not spoken of enough in church. I remember a good sermon my pastor once gave that spoke to this and he said that God tells us to expect reward in heaven so by looking forward to it, we are actually putting our faith in God's promises that He will do what He says He will do.

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    1. Hi Sarah,
      Thank you so much! This helps me incredibly!

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    2. My opinion is, when you live by the scripture, "want nothing of this earth" you show your true heart to the Creator by living so. this is the proving grounds here. anyone who can make it threw life here by faith, will surely never trun on the Creator as the 1/3 did. what you give up on earth is many different treasures in the new heaven and earth. we know the earth has been destroyed and rebuilt many times, commen sense shows us that there is someting better than man that done this. I think common sense goes along with faith.

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    3. Common sense:
      "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

      The earth has not been destroyed and rebuilt many times. Where do you get THAT? It has been created once and will be re-created once more after Revelation concludes.

      Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

      Revelation 21:1, "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more."

      Your position isn't biblical.

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    4. Sorry, I ment the surface of it, like the dinasaurs and and such, in the old testament I know I read before that god is the maker and destroyer of worlds. maybe thats why in Hebrews 11:3 it says Through faith we understand that the "worlds" were formed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. Also Hebrews 1:2 He also made the worlds. Again the world that HE destoyed before the flood was only the surface. I have the dead sea scrolls and some other lost books of the Bible that hit on why the other worlds were made and destroyed. Even God knew we would need the oil for these last days, He plans way ahead. (:

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    5. Dont know if it helps but in Matthew 6:21 Christ says, For where you treasue is, there will your heart be.) When one knows what the meaning of true love is, and understands why Christ said its most important, Its a great treasure to back in line with God like as before the first sin ever happened. we all need things in life to keep going on, but we dont need to treasure them to a point that they keep us from our goal.

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    6. It seems in Psalms 112:1-3 That it hits on the commandments as treasures to get what it says in verse 3. when it says forever, I think it means it. Jerry.

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    7. I read the scriptures you posted and agree. the problem with sites is, you cant really express yourself very good like one can face to face, because of the missunderstandings, people have to go back and forth with what do you mean by that? my meaning in the common sense is, A child believes with faith that there is a santa or easter bunny. we know that when we get older they are lies, thats what I ment by common sense goes along with faith. even the book of Romans hits on this, Romans 2:13-15. and I think good common sense is part of wisdom that God gave most of us, but its lost for most because of the fairy tale lives and the things of this system. what Im saying is, one should use common sense before placing faith in false things.

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  2. I hate the whole idea of heavenly rewards. I feel it is a subtle form of eternal shame for everyone else who didn't receive one in heaven, or for everyone else in heaven who didn't receive the very best position (sitting at the right hand of God). The whole idea makes me wish annihilation over heaven, if I could choose that over hell.

    Being subtly reminded of what you failed to do on earth by the simple fact you are not #1 in God's eyes makes heaven seem not so heavenly. It seems like the merciless, competitive, "get rid of the weakest link" type thinking characteristic of the fallen world. If I am labeled a "weak link" over someone else, how is that not shame, even in heaven?

    So, if I (or anyone else for that matter) doesn't get that one top spot in heaven, then we all will have something to regret for all eternity, since we are all losers compared to that one special person. Only that person will logically have zero to regret in heaven, while everyone else will be subtly reminded how they could have done better, but didn't, as a consequence of God giving any rewards at all in the first place.

    Taking orders from someone else over you in heaven who got a position you didn't is a subtle reminder of your own failures here on earth, since you would have been above them had you not failed. You are being subtly branded a LOSER, even if it is never termed that way in heaven. Otherwise, why give rewards at all if not to tear down and degrade some while elevating others at everyone else's expense?

    It is stated that all our sins are covered, but how can that be when you are being eternally judged as less than someone else due to sin (concerning what you failed/didn't do here on earth) by failing to get the best reward?

    Sin means "to miss the mark," and not receiving a reward is exactly this (even though for this kind of sin you cannot lose your salvation). So, shame really does continue on in heaven, even if it is not termed that way.

    The Bible acts like rewards are eternal, so the shame of not receiving one is likely eternal, too. The odds of me receiving a great reward may be slim, so what's so great about a heaven where you are subtly living eternally in shame (even while this shame is not spoken aloud nor said directly, but indirectly in simply being a lesser person in heaven?) Being a failure for ever makes me want to not exist at all.

    I have had two "Peter" events, in failing to witness to those I should have witnessed to at the last minute (though I did witness to them at other times), and I cannot change it.

    I feel like this shame now will NEVER go away, not even in heaven in the form of rewards (or rather, lack thereof). I may not feel ashamed and the shame may not be spoken of, but it will still be eternally there due to the simple fact I lost rewards.

    Also, concerning Peter, people always bring up his denial of Jesus, and later on how he wanted the gentiles to live like the Jewish, in denial of the gospel, to show how lame he really was. I feel like even his sins and shortcomings are still being remembered, even though this isn't heaven. I am not Peter, but I feel like him. Peter likely lost rewards because of this, though, and in this way, his sins will always be remembered. Has anyone else felt this way?

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    1. You wish for annihilation over heaven, which means you'd rather go out of existence than spent eternity with Jesus?? Be careful now. Think of what you're saying.

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  3. Also, what do you think of Randy Alcorn? He wrote answers to questions about eternal rewards in heaven here:

    http://www.epm.org/resources/2010/Mar/2/questions-randy-alcorn-about-eternal-rewards/

    I read the question in that article, which asks, "Is there regret and guilt in Heaven? Is Heaven only a step up from hell for some people? Isn’t it wrong to imply that Heaven is not going to be very joyous for many who enter it?" and I was NOT satisfied with Mr. Alcorn's answer.

    I know Mr. Alcorn thinks that only our fallen nature causes us to be "jealous," and that the regret of not being the best will cease shortly after the judgment seat of Christ for believers. However, heaven still will be less "heavenly" for some than for others, even by his own reasoning (which makes sense because of the whole concept of rewards in heaven to begin with).

    I am still bothered by this. I feel like being annihilated then due to my failures (if it could be an actual option) because of God's subtle and eternal judgment of my failures since I didn't receive the best reward. God is telling me what a LOSER I am for ALL eternity! Otherwise, if I weren't a **LOSER** in His eyesight, **I** would have received the reward, NOT someone else!

    I feel like even God believes, "second place is a waste of space!" as only ***ONE,**** even according to St. Paul, receives the best price! It makes me feel bitter and resentful toward Him. Some Christians will ALWAYS be pitted here on Earth against others to earn the reward over and above them! Competitiveness, to me, belongs in the mindsets of those who are fallen...NOT holy!

    To win, someone MUST be kicked underneath you by default, even if you are not purposefully setting out to do it that way -- even if they fall underneath you by their own failures! Why would God do this? It does pit people against each other by default on Earth, and some must be forever shamed so that others get to be more special in heaven!

    God IS saying they are better and more valuable than you are by default -- otherwise, why give rewards? So, if God had to choose between them and you based off the same reasoning He uses for rewards, you don't mean jack squat compared to that special person!

    Heaven doesn't seem quite so heavenly under this scenario!

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    1. Yes. Heaven will be heavenly. You're focusing on yourself and forgetting the most important word. Justice.

      God is just, He repays to each according to what they have done. If some arrive in heaven by the skin of their teeth and others are granted a kingdom to shepherd or rule, that is because we store up treasures according to our works and our obedience. If you arrive in heaven and see that your works and obedience was a lot less than you thought, that is your own fault, because whatever Jesus gives you is PERFECT in its fairness and justice.

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    2. Catholic doctrine is false. Don't ask Mary to pray for you, because she can't hear you. Don't pray the rosary. Don't confess your sins to a priest, but confess your sins to God instead. Following the 7 sacraments won't get you into heaven. You are not born again after water baptism. You become BORN AGAIN when you REPENT of your sins and TRUST in Jesus! This is when the Holy Spirit enters you! Don't listen to the pope. He is a liar. Turn from your sins and TRUST JESUS!!

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    3. AMEN to every word about that, Anonymous! I wish all Catholics would see the light on that! Also, I love the topic of Heavenly rewards. I have always wondered, though,if a reward will be greater if you've done kind things for total strangers, as opposed to helping your kids, friends, etc. (people you already know). Maybe I'm over-analyzing this and it just boils down to simply storing up our treasures in Heaven, and that the motive to do good was out of love and and a spirit to help, no matter what your relationship is with them. Thoughts?

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    4. I believe some of the degrees of rewards are given based on obedience, suffering, and self-sacrifice (selfless motives).

      If indeed degrees of rewards are done on those bases, a mother who sacrifices herself for her children in various ways, or a father who is obedient to the command of scripture to lead his family in certain ways, are working toward differing degrees of rewards. People can be obedient to God within their family structure as well as outside of the family structure. So I think rewards would be based more on the one Whom one is obedient rather than the type of person on earth you're helping.

      Matthew 16:27
      For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and will then recompense every man according to his deeds.

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