Some of God’s people will qualify to receive special rewards in Heaven. You can be one of them if you fulfill the conditions laid out in God’s Word.
Scripture tells us that Christ will give out special rewards based on the good works we do while living on earth (1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 22:12). Good works cannot save us. Instead, they are a by-product of salvation. We are saved to do good works (Ephesians 2:8-10).
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
When we show love to God and to people, this is evidence that God has started the process of transforming us to become like Christ in character. God has given us His Holy Spirit so that we can live a holy life and do good works that bring Him glory. We are to “do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Our good works and the “fruit” that comes from them are of great importance to God. The apostle Paul prayed that believers would please God in all respects and bear fruit in every good work (Colossians 1:10).
Examples of good works include seeking God through prayer, caring for our family, helping the poor, and serving in church. The Bible lists some specific examples of “fruit”: living a godly life (Hebrews 12:11); demonstrating holy attitudes (Galatians 5:22-23); praising God (Hebrews 13:15); leading people to Christ (1 Corinthians 16:15); and giving money (Romans 15:26-28).
Jesus spoke much of the need to “abide” in Him so that we would be able to bear much fruit for God’s glory (John 15). We abide in Jesus by living a life of prayer and obedience to His Word.
“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing…My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples…You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain.”
We may do many good works, yet have little fruit that remains. Christ will test the quality of our good works before He gives special rewards. We should pay close attention to His warnings.
1 Corinthians 3:10-15
“…But each man must be careful how he builds on [the foundation, which is Jesus Christ]…Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”
1 Corinthians 4:4-5
“…but the one who examines me is the Lord. Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.”
God can see into our hearts. Our final reward will be based on more than just outward service. It will be based on our attitudes and motives.
The apostle Paul told the Corinthian believers, “Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:9-10).
The “judgment seat of Christ” will not be a place for judging our sin. God takes care of that at the time we repent and place our trust in Christ. The “judgment seat of Christ” is where the worth of our works will be judged and we will be recompensed for what we have done on earth. As athletes receive awards, so we will receive rewards for those works that pass the test of being of eternal value.
What are the special rewards? Scripture doesn’t tell us in detail. We know that they will be imperishable, undefiled, and unfading (1 Peter 1:4). We can trust God to give us special rewards that are precious and valuable, and that will bring us joy.
1 Corinthians 2:9
“…Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.”
In light of these truths, what should be our response? The apostle Paul said, “Therefore we also have as our ambition…to be pleasing to Him” (2 Corinthians 5:9). We please God when we pray and ask Him what good works He would have us do today. We please Him when we seek to understand and obey His Word.
As we do good works, we should examine our motives. Are we doing good works to receive praise from people, or from God? Do we seek to bring glory and honor to ourselves, or to God?
Jesus said in Revelation 22:12, “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.” Will you be ready? Will you qualify to receive a special reward in Heaven?
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