On what basis will Christ judge us for eternal rewards? Are there conditions to receiving our heavenly rewards?
(This post is part of a series on eternal rewards.)
Our rewards are conditional based upon our works done in service to Christ according to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Consider the following passage:
1 Corinthians 3:10-15 (NKJV)
10 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. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
Our opportunity to receive a reward is dependent on the Gospel – Jesus is our foundation upon which to build. Thus, we receive the reward only for the works we perform by faith for the glory of Christ, yet this still presents a wide array of possible ways we could receive rewards. eternal rewards
Paul explains using an analogy of a construction project in which we may build using different types of materials. In his analogy, the construction project is comparable to our life of serving Christ, while the types of construction materials represent the various kinds of works we perform in service to Christ.
Some works are truly valuable to Christ (i.e., gold, silver etc.) because they were ordained by Him and led by the Spirit. such works are worthy of reward, as pictured in the analogy by precious metals surviving a fire that tests their quality. Other so-called “works” were of no value, however, because they were done in the flesh and for our own gain. Such works were comparable to worthless materials like hay or wood, which could not withstand the testing fire. Paul says that in such a circumstance, the person “suffers loss” because they have lost an opportunity to be rewarded, nevertheless Paul goes on to state explicitly that this does not adversely impact the person’s relationship with Christ: such a person will still be saved by their faith alone. eternal rewards
The “testing” in Paul’s analogy refers to the judgment seat of Christ when the Lord evaluates believers’ works for the purpose of assigning individual reward. The Greek word for test is dokimazo, which means “to test, examine, prove, scrutinize, (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), deem worthy.” Paul explains this moment in 2 Corinthians 5:
2 Corinthians 5:9-10 (NKJV)
The Judgment Seat of Christ
9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 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.
This moment will determine how we are rewarded, and every believer will stand before Christ in this way.
What does Paul mean when he refers to our “bad” works in 2 Cor 5:10? The Greek word for bad here is phaulos, meaning worthless, of no account. Therefore, Paul is not speaking of sins, but rather worthless deeds done in the flesh and of no value and without reward.
“The author’s biblical interpretations and conclusions presented in this document rely on original teaching used by permission of Verse By Verse Ministry International (VBVMI). The author’s views may not represent the views of VBVMI, it’s Directors or staff. Original VBVMI teaching may be found at http://www.vbvmi.org.”
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