7 Principles About Eternal Rewards

Jerry A. Collins


The Houston Post carried the story of Timmy. a boy severely hampered by cerebral palsy. He announced to his mother that he was going to run in a local marathon. She tried to discourage him but he wanted to run. On the day of the race Timmy was at the starting line. As the other racers took off he began the race slowly, favoring his good leg while nursing along his unsychronized right leg as best he could. The winner of the race finished in 32 minutes and 23 seconds. Timmy crossed the line in 2 hours and 6 minutes--dead last. The headline in the paper that day read Ďthe real winner came in lastí. The life that wins in the race toward the goal line spiritually is the one that finishes. It is not the life that everyone notices, receives all the glory here on earth or looks successful. It is the life that is continuously aware of and motivated by the prize of God and future rewards God promises to the faithful overcomer. What are these rewards and how may we assure ourselves that we receive them? Letís learn 7 principles about eternal rewards from the bible.


Our sin was judged at the cross and when we were saved we passed from spiritual death into eternal life. While our sin has already been judged, there is a second judgment for believers not related to our eternal salvation. This judgment is described in 2 Corinthians 5:9-10 and says Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Romans 14:10 states But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. This judgment is a family evaluation after this life, a time when Jesus evaluates our lives and our faithfulness to Him, not for condemnation but as a basis for rewards. At this judgment seat our judgment will be placed into the hands of the ideal judge, Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 4:1). He has ultimate knowledge, perfect wisdom. His judgment will be perfectly just and not according to outward appearances or subject to bribes or compromises (John 7:24; Romans 2:2-3).


Romans 2:5-6 declares that Godís judgment will take into account our deeds God...will render to each one according to his deeds. Then specifically referring to the judgment seat of Christ 2 Corinthians 5:10 says For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Concerning our words Jesus said in Matthew 12:36-37 for every idle word men may speak they will give account no it in the day of judgment. for by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned. Behind every word and deed are the thoughts and motives of our minds and hearts. To Jesus everything is visible. Hebrews 4:12-13 says For the word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit and of the joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. Our thoughts and our motives will be revealed and displayed by Christ at our personal judgment. The idea conveys the thoughts deep in the mind, of deliberations, insights and perceptions. There is nothing about us that will be ignored by Christ. Everything about us will be revealed for Christ to judge and to reward. It will be a full and complete assessment of what is worthy to be rewarded in our lives by Christ. It is not what I think or others think should be rewarded but only that which is worthy of reward and only Christ knows the difference.


1 Corinthians 3:10-15 says according to the grace of God which was given to me as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each ones work will become manifest; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each ones work of what sort it is. If anyones work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyones work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as by fire. The fiery eye of Jesus Christ will disclose the true value of our lives and ministry. The real issue is whether the outcome of my life has any lasting, eternal value associated with it. If there is, than Jesus will reward that. So the value of our lives and ministry is based not on our limited human perspective but on what God considers to be truly valuable.


Heavenly rewards are significant because they have eternal value. Christ said to the Pharisees who loved to pray on the street corners and get recognition of people that they have their rewards (Matthew 6:2). They cashed in their chips as it were in this life. If you go for rewards here and now God says Paid in full. For instance, Jesus taught us to lay up treasure in heaven not upon the earth Matthew 6:19-20. 1Corinthians 6:9-10 mentions believers who inherit the kingdom referring to those faithful who have a share in the rule of the eternal kingdom. There is the divine commendation reward of Matthew 25:21 where Jesus will say to the faithful well done good and faithful servant, you were faithful mover a few things, I will make you ruler4 over many things. There are the overcomer rewards in revelation 1-3 where Jesus promises special rewards for those who endure until the end as faithful servants. There are also wreath-crowns that are emblems of victory band include the crown of righteousness for those who anticipate. look for and love His appearing 2 Timothy 47-8. The crown of life for those who hang in there and persevere righteously under difficulty James 1:12; Revelation 2:10. The crown of joy for those we have led to Christ and served 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20. the crown of glory for shepherding the people of God 1 Peter 5:2-4. We need to look at life from the standpoint of eternity and the race we want to win. The prize we want to receive.


Paul was anxious that he not become morally disqualified in his intense race toward the end of his life and the judgment seat of Christ 1 Corinthians 9:27. he exhorted Timothy to be diligent to present himself to the Lord as a workman who does not need to be ashamed 2 timothy 2:15-23. The apostle John warned believers to keep their lives pure unless they face Christ with shame at his coming 1 John 2:27-3:3. When the Lord evaluates our lives he will be concerned about our sin because he expects us to walk in holiness and purity. It is not only what our lives accomplish but what kind of lives they were that will effect our judgment and rewards. It is not just what we doing but what we becoming that is significant eternally.


2 Corinthians 5 says we will be judged according to what he has done whether good or bad. Hebrews 10:31 says it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. God wants us to realize there is a serious and fearful side to the judgment seat. While our eternal condemnation is settled by Christ, Jesus will require a family reckoning. One way we can lose at the judgment seat is loss of rewards. 1 Corinthians 3:15 If anyones work is burned he will suffer loss but he himself will be saved. Foolish earthly minded believers will be without the rewards announced to others. Failing to persevere Hebrews 3, becoming stagnant in walk with God and lack of godly character 2 Peter 1:5-11 will forfeit eternal rewards. Those who tuned their back on Christ and some who started well but gave up when it got tough will discover lost inheritance in Gods kingdom Hebrews 10 and 12. Others will forfeit special crown rewards thru unwillingness to serve the Lord or because of brief moments of selfish indulgence 1 Corinthians 9:26-27. Following false teachers, squandering wealth, talent, opportunity will find much of their eternal honor and responsibility diminished Matthew 25:14-30. causing divisions, hurting other believers will loss reward 1 Corinthians 3:16-17.

7. WAY TO SERVE GOD IS TO WORK FOR OWN REWARDS (For ourselves/Future v Present)