This topic is adapted from the PursueGOD Men YouTube channel. See also The Treasure Principle: Discovering the Secret of Joyful Giving by Randy Alcorn.
The idea of “rewards” in heaven seems to go against the main thing Christians teach about pursuing God: we start by trusting Jesus, which means our salvation is based on nothing but our faith in Jesus’s sacrifice on our behalves. If we’re saved because of Jesus alone, not because of anything we do, how can there be rewards in heaven? Isn’t this contradictory?
Grace that Works
How is there grace if we are being judged on account of our choices? And aren’t we forced into legalism by holding to this view? Not at all! The plain biblical truth is that Christians are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) but we are saved so that we can do the good works God has set before us (Ephesians 2:10). God does not save so we can do whatever we please, and if we live this way there is a good chance we are actually not saved!
2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.
The Judgment Seat
The judgment seat of Christ as it pertains to Christians is not about who is “in” and who is “out.” Because of Jesus all Christians are “in.” Rather, it is about examining how we lived in the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Did we help other people pursue God (Matthew 28:19-20)? Did we live our lives honoring God (Romans 6:1-4)?
We will give an account to God for how we spent our time, money, energy, and other resources. We will give an account for the sins we committed as well as for the good things we should have done but didn’t (Proverbs 24:11-12; James 4:17). Jesus saves us to bring us to himself, but also so that we will help bring others to him in this life.
Written content for this topic by Daniel Martin.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- Do you live your life knowing you will give an account of your life before God? Explain.
- Does God’s grace contradict receiving rewards in heaven? Explain.
- What is the proper relationship between God’s grace and our good works? Explain.
- Read 2 Timothy 4:8 and 1 Corinthians 9:24-25. What are the the rewards of a faithful life?
- In what ways can you better live a life knowing you will give an account of it at the judgment? Explain.
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.