Eternal Life vs. Eternal Rewards

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by vaspers, Mar 16, 2004.

  1. vaspers

    vaspers
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    In the "Am I Going To Heaven" thread under General Baptist Discussions, this separate thread got started by me, so I'll move the debate over to here. I was discussing A LIFE GOD REWARDS by Bruce Wilkinson and Erwin Lutzer's books on Heaven and its Rewards.

    You get eternal life by grace.

    You get eternal rewards by works.

    A martyr who sacrifices home, family, all for Christ, Jesus Himself said he'd be compensated in heaven for all that loss.

    A pew potato who refuses to deny self,witness, pray, study Bible, do anything for God--will also be compensated in heaven--with loss of rewards.

    This topic is declared in many ways throughout the Bible: Treasures in Heaven, gold & precious stones vs. wood/hay/stubble/straw, judged according to deeds done in the body, various differences in riches and responsibilities for Hebrews in Canaan, etc.

    Bible readers will know what specific verses I'm referring to.

    Any comments? Is this such a "strange" idea? Not to me it isn't. I've always, since I got saved, heard this taught, that heaven will not be equal.

    Why is this so odd to anyone?
     
  2. Frogman

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    It isn't really strange to me. But I do think the rewards period is the 1000 yr. reign and I am not certain about the extension into eternity (heaven).

    I will not fall out over this with anyone, but if they fall out with me, I will not fall down with them either :D

    This is particularly why I see the distinctions in the church in regards to the family of God (and why I am sometimes called, lovingly I am sure [​IMG] a Baptist Brider).

    Perhaps this 'rewards' for works will be extended into eternity, I dunno.

    I do not disagree with your view of it however and do not find it odd, disturbing nor otherwise nausiating {spelling)? [​IMG]

    Bro. Dallas

    BTW, I am generally a pretty good speller, but there are some words just ain't in the official Ky. Hillbilly dicshunery.
     
  3. Dr. Bob

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    Bible speaks of "crowns" for pastors, martyrs, etc

    Also speaks of what we will DO with those crowns when we see Christ . . .
     
  4. Bro. James Reed

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    Well, I see our rewards as being while here on earth. Thos eof us in the church have the reward of seeing our salvation and have that hope in Christ. Others do not. That is the reward. The kingdom of heaven is here and now. It is the church. Christ is reigning over his kingdom(the church) right now.

    Bro. Dallas, we could get into the 1000 yr. reign, and why most PBs believe it is not literal, but we'll save that for another time. ;)

    If our deeds dictate that type of "heaven" we will be in, would they not also dictate the type of "hell" one would be in? How about someone whi is good in a human standpoint, but was never regenerated by God. Would he be in a hell that's not quite as bad as that reserved for the really bad people?

    I just don't see that happening. The bible says we are joint heirs with Christ. That means we are all equal.

    For example, if you look at it from the point of view of a family. Say, your father, and his sons.

    Well, depending on how good the sons are to the father during his life, he will treat each differently. One son may visit all the time, while the other son may not every speak to him. He may get along great with the one son, but he may have had a falling out with the other. While the father's alive, it will appear that he is giving more love and attention to the son whom he spends all of his time with. However, when the father dies, the inheritance that he leaves will be owned evenly by both sons.

    The Father loves all of His children equally, and I believe with all of my heart that we will be joint heirs with Christ and that none will be greater. Peter as the question, which of us is greater? Did Christ say, you since you obey me and do this and that? No, he said that whoever is greatest is the least and vice versa. That is to say, we are all equal in God's eyes.

    If our "rewards" in eternal heaven are based on works, then we HAVE to say that our destination in the first place is based on works. God does not operate a multi-lane highway with several options of which lane to drive in. Whether we're slow drivers or fast drivers, we'll all get to the same destination via the same route.

    It's not based on our works. That is putting merits on our own works, as opposed to God.
     
  5. vaspers

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    Okay, that's a well thought out response, and I accept your point of view, though I disagree with it.

    Inheritance vs. rewards I need to study more. You got me thinking, and that's good. I'm just looking for the truth, but I tend to agree with Lutzer and Wilkinson and Dr. Bob.

    There do seem to be extra perks for pastors, good deacons, good plain little ole Christians who sacrifice things for the Kingdom, for martyrs, and such. It would not seem fair to reward pew potatoes the same as underground Chinese believers who have death hanging over their heads if they have one page of the Bible in their pocket, yet witness like crazy anyway.

    There will be hierarchies of responsibilities in heaven. He that is faithful in little things will be faithful in much. Faithfual steward of earthly things will be granted stewardship of heavenly things. This life is a test and a training.

    Some are flunking the test and failing the training, though they do not lose their salvation. Even Paul was concerned about how he competed for the prize.

    [​IMG] :cool: [​IMG] :cool: [​IMG]
     
  6. Pete Richert

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    I'm familar with the concept of rewards, I just think many of the passages used arn't refering to rewards beyound salvation but salvation itself. The problem is that evangelicals want to distant themselves so much from any works-righteounss that we must place on top of many passages rewards beyound the acheiving of the ressurection of the dead itself. Basically, it is clear that there is a future judgement coming from based on works (Romans 2, II Corinthinan 5) and in my view this doesn't in any way contradict that justification is by faith since these works are simply faith responding to actual situations in time and space but that is a different subject all together. Now I must agree that many passages do seem to be clear that there is a reward for obedience, and so I have not made up my mind, since to make it fit one scheme I have to then bend these versus as much as I feel the rewards crowd bends the salvation rewards passges. To read a position from the "reward is salvation" crowd see "The Race set Before us" by Schreiner and Canaday (sp?).
     
  7. Bro. James Reed

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    Bro. vaspers (it is brother right?) I am glad I got you thinking. I think we should all think about thinking more often. :)

    You said one thing in this last post that really struck me.

    "It would not seem fair to reward pew potatoes the same as underground Chinese believers who have death hanging over their heads if they have one page of the Bible in their pocket, yet witness like crazy anyway."

    You said it would not seem fair. A lot of things don't seem fair in our eyes. This is the same thing that many people use to justify their belief that all people will be in heaven. Goid has to be fair, so everyone will be in heaven. That ounds akin to God has to be fair, so if you're good here it will affect what kind of heaven you're in.

    I want to say that God is not fair. And, I think him so much everyday that he is not. Fair would be to send everyone of us to hell for the sins we've committed. He is a just God, but we have to define that just sid ein terms of God, not man. The term just to man symbolizes fair. But, just to God is whatever he does. He is God, so what he does is just and perfect.

    If I was going to worry about God being fair, I would worry more about whether he is going to be fair in sending me to hell, than if he'll be fair with me once I'm in heaven.

    Fairness is a concept that is foreign to God because he is perfection. Fairness can not exist where perfection reigns, otherwise it would trump perfection, and we know that can not happen.

    I am jut so glad that he judges me based on Christ's perfectness, rather than man's fairness.

    The bible says that he looks at us through Christ, so would he not see that we are all perfect? Are some in Christ better than others? He's looking at us all through the same sinless body, so he sees us all exactly the same.

    BTW, this is an interesting discussion. It's gotten me thinking too.

    God Bless. Bro. James
     
  8. vaspers

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    You take this seriously, Brother James, and I greatly respect that.

    My Baptist pastor, who led us into the Bruce Wilkinson seminar, A LIFE GOD REWARDS, cautioned us that Baptists didn't cotton to this "rewards in heaven based on obedience to Christ here on earth" that Baptists despised any kind of works and prefer to think everything is pure grace.

    If this is a fair assessment, I don't know. I do know that GOD IS FAIR, and JUST, and MERCIFUL, and COMPASSIONATE.

    It is fair to admit us to heaven, since Jesus paid the debt for our sins. It would not be fair to admit nice atheists into heaven, if they reject the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

    It is fair to keep me out of hell, since I have the righteousness of God imparted to me through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

    It is fair to allow God haters to jump into the lake of fire, since they would hate heaven, all that praising God and peace and joy and love...

    ...they like lies, adultery, hatred, anxiety, depression, fear, witchcraft, racism, all those hellish pleasures of hellish people. They'd be miserable in heaven, craving sinful stuff and not being able to gratify their evil desires.

    But salvation, nothing beyond? I disagree.
    Some even say God gives you a ticket to heaven, when you get saved, but forget about any spiritual power. I disagree. I look at Acts for all church doctrine. They healed and cast out spirits and worked miracles. In my view, that is the divinely ordained pattern until Christ returns to gather us together in the clouds.

    but that's a different thread, isn't it?

    Thanks for replying. Let's both keep thinking.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] :cool: [​IMG]
     
  9. Frogman

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    Bro. Dallas, we could get into the 1000 yr. reign, and why most PBs believe it is not literal, but we'll save that for another time.
    ;)

    thank you Brother James.

    let me do add here however, the idea of the milennial kingdom period is not generally believed extended into heaven.

    Also, and not to get into this here as you state above. But to the extent this may relate to the topic, the discussion provided relating to the fairness and justness of God too can be said of the rewards.

    Now, I don't believe eternal life is a reward or prize of any kind. But where works are found to be judged, I am persuaded both the fairness and justice of God would show levels (in the kingdom and also perhaps in hell).

    But this is what keeps me coming here to the land of the BB; discussion discussion discussion.

    May God Bless
    Bro. Dallas [​IMG]
     
  10. Trotter

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    The rewards we earn here on earth, for obedience, sacrifice, whatever, will not "improve" our conditions in heaven. I do believe that those who were faithful over a few things will be made rulers over many, but I am speaking oft he rewards that we earn.

    As Dr. Bob mentioned earlier, the bible tells what we will be doing with our rewards, or crowns, when we see Jesus. Those things that will be deemed worthy of reward before the bema seat are the very things that we will cast before the feet of Jesus. They have nothing to do with our salvation outside of the fact that without being saved we would have no part in any of it.

    For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Eph 2:10

    We are created in Christ Jesus unto good works at the moment of salvation [2 Thess 5:17]. We earn eternal rewards in heaven for these [Matt 6:19-21]. And we will cast them before the feet of Jesus, since (besides our praise and worship) they will be all that we have to give to the One who bought our redemption with His own blood.

    In Christ,
    Trotter
     
  11. Dragoon68

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    This is an interesting topic about which I've done some study in the last year or two and about which I'll share my thoughts for whatever they're worth.

    Some Primitive Baptists believe that there will not be degrees of reward in Heaven. They often use "time salvation" to account for Biblical references to rewards that can't be explained away in some other manner. Some Primitive Baptists that believe that there will be degrees of reward in Heaven based upon one's deeds here on Earth. I think all believe these rewards have absolutely nothing to do with salvation which is not the result of our work but an unmerited and unearned gift from our Lord and Savior.

    Here are some Biblical verses and commentary for consideration that support my understanding that there will be degrees of reward in Heaven. Get back with me when we get there and I'll let you know if I'm correct in my undertanding!

    - Ecclesiastes 3:16-22 "And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there. I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work. I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts. For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth? Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?"

    - Romans 14:10-12 "But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God."

    - 1 Corinthians 3:5-10 "Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon."

    - 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."

    - 2 Corinthians 5:9-11 "Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences."

    - Ephesians 6:5-9 "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him."

    - Colossians 3:22-25 "Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons."

    Paul reveals in these epistles that all of us will stand before the judgement seat of Christ and give an account of what we have done. This is not to judge whether our works merit salvation because as we know there is nothing we have or could do to earn it. Jesus alone paid for our sins having chosen us to receive His saving grace. This judgement is to lay bare all our deeds to glorify God in that nothing is hidden from Him and to test our works (every thought and every deed) by fire to show what is good and what is bad. We have our salvation but what we’ve done or not done for our Lord since will surely also be measured. Paul also makes it clear that our rewards will be according to our deeds.

    - Revelation 22:12 "And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be."

    These words of Jesus recorded by John clearly state that He will give His reward to every man according to his work. I take that to mean that those saved will be blessed according to what they've done and those not saved will be punished according to what they've done.

    John Gill (1697-1771), an English Particular Baptist Pastor and theologian, wrote this on the subject in Book 7, Chapter 9, titled "Of the Last and General Judgment" in his book "A Body of Doctrinal Divinity":

    - "4g. There is another book that will be opened; and that is "the book of life"; in which the names of some are written, which is the same as to be "written in heaven"; and means no other, than the ordination and appointment of them to eternal life in heaven: this is the Lamb’s book of life, the book of eternal election, in which all the names of all the elect are written; and the use of this book in the day of judgment will be, that such whose names are found written in it, will be admitted into the new Jerusalem, the holy city, and partake of the privileges thereof (Rev. 21:27), and that such whose names are not found written in it; or, as it is expressed in Jude 1:4 who are "forewritten to this condemnation", those shall be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15). Now the "dead" will be "judged out of those things which are written in the books, according to their works" (Rev. 20:12), which must be understood of the wicked "dead", when raised and brought to stand before God who will have sentence pronounced upon them according to their wicked works; between which, and the punishment condemned to, will be a just proportion; "the wages of sin is death"; eternal death is the just demerit of it: but as there is a difference in the sins of the wicked; some more, others fewer; some greater, others less; some more, and others less aggravated; their punishment will be proportioned to them, as will be seen in the next chapter: and so everyone will be judged according to his works, in the most just and equitable manner. Indeed, good men also will be judged according to their works; but not adjudged to eternal life according to them; for there is no proportion between the best works of men and eternal life; "eternal life is the free gift of God through Christ": but upon the judgment of them, the distribution of rewards, or of peculiar and distinguished favors, more or less, in the kingdom state, will be according to every man’s works. This judgment out of the books, and according to works, is designed to show with what accuracy and exactness, with what justice and equity, it will be executed, in allusion to statute books in courts of judicature, to be referred unto in any case of difficulty."
     
  12. vaspers

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    Thanks for taking the time and effort to present all that blessed scripture Dragoon 68.

    God will reward you in heaven for doing that, whereas the lurkers will be deprived. Ha!

    Yes, there is no getting around the fact that even though we are saved by grace, we will be judged for rewards according to our works.

    Otherwise, many would do nothing for God but float on up to heaven when the time came.

    Many who do not believe in eternal rewards earned here on earth, and determining the Quality of our life in heaven, seem to think that God is thrilled that they accepted Jesus as their Lord, like that does something for God.

    Your salvation does nothing for God, outside of allowing Him to show you His love for eternity.

    If you think heaven with rewards is the same as heaven without rewards, you're sure going to be shocked and dismayed at your error when you get there. But then it will be too late to do anything for God.

    Rev.22:12 "to every man according to his works."

    It is plain, it is ubiquitous, it is clear teaching of God's holy Word: work out (demonstrate) your own salvation with fear (reverence) and trembling (intense respect).
     
  13. Kathy

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    Ok thread jacker!! What about my original question? ;)

    Just kidding...this is very interesting!!

    I think I'll go and research the matter (my original question) in my HANDY DANDY MacArthur Study Bible! [​IMG]

    Kathy
    &lt;&gt;&lt;
     
  14. vaspers

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    Kathy: I really like John MacArthur, just wish he wasn't such a cessationist regarding healing.

    Anyway, I listen to his radio program alot and do respect him.

    He is one of the very few evangelicals who issued a warning and a concern about The Passion on his Grace To You web site.

    Let me know what big Mac has to say about heaven, eternal rewards, etc. Very important topic, as you say.

    Thanks sis.

    [​IMG] :cool: [​IMG]
     
  15. dclark14

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    I still like the account of the un-prodigal son. He remained faithful while the prodigal went his own way.Even after the prodigal's restoration, the un-prodigal got "the whole farm"! ("All I have is yours..), while the prodigal probably ended up working for his brother.(Sanctified imagination to illustrate).Restoration is great, but far better is reward.
     
  16. Trotter

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    Kathy,

    Do you use MacArthur's in book form, or on your computer? I am on my second hardback MSB (received my first for free from Grace To You...I was on their mailing list...but I have worn it out). All I can say is AWESOME!

    Have you seen his topical bible? It is based off of the topical index in the back of his study bible. I really like it, especially since it gives the whole verse in stead of just a reference.

    In Christ,
    Trotter
     

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