Heavenly Incentives with Earthly Images

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by asterisktom, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. asterisktom

    asterisktom
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    Heavenly Incentives with Earthly Images

    I remembered reading "In Harm's Way", the story of the sinking of the Battle Cruiser Indianapolis in the last two weeks of World War Two, and the subsequent ordeal of drifting for four or five days in the ocean, mostly raftless, in some cases even without life-vests. By the time they were rescued only one-fourth of the crew was alive. Over 900 had died, either in the initial torpedo attack or due to the later ordeal of shark attacks, exposure, dehydration, succumbing to wounds, and other tragedies.

    When help finally came, many, amazingly, could not be coaxed onto the rescue crafts! They thought they were the enemy, that it was some kind of trick. So the rescuers had to do some quick thinking. They said that the sailors were being invited to an "ice cream party". They need to get in line for this. In other cases they used other incentives.

    This reminded me of the incentives that God uses when He speaks to us of heaven, He refers to a Supper, a Wedding, to receiving Crowns and Rewards. It seems to me that these are all incentives to those whom he has called, to associate earthly desires - the better kinds - with an essentially unspeakable heavenly reward.

    It is unspeakable because we have no frame of earthly reference. Perception and understanding, after all, are built largely from experience and observation. (Yes it is true that, as Christians, we have the mind of the Christ, the Spirit of Christ enlightening for us all the riches we have in the Savior. "We have the mind of Christ.")

    However, getting back to those earthly images: There are many who focus too specifically on those images used (crowns, supper and so on) and don't see the underlying truth. For instance there are some who speak of one type of crown versus the another, not seeing that all of these crowns (sic) are all just referring to our being glorified in Heaven. This mistake comes from overvaluing the "Golden Rule" of hermeneutics, imposing a literal grid over certain truths that are better taken spiritually.

    God uses these incentives because many are way too comfortable with the familiar sin-infested waters of this present age and don't realize the pressing need to change our thinking and all of our energies to our Heavenward calling. There are other ways that God changes our desires, of course, but this method used here seems to be one of them.
     
  2. asterisktom

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    A Second Look at all of those Bible Crown Rewards

    Many of the passages and themes of the Bible are more familiar than understood. A case in point is the issue of the crowns we are said to receive based on the outcome of various levels of obedience. Who has not heard a sermon - probably more than once - of how we, though we receive these crowns, will throw them back at the Savior's feet?

    What is wrong with this picture? Several things. For one, it ignores Biblical usage of terms. Let's take a look at some actual "crown" verses.

    1. Crown of rejoicing (1st Thess. 2:19)
    2. Crown of righteousness (2nd Tim. 4:8)
    3. Crown of life (James 1:12)
    4. Crown of glory (1st Peter 5:4)

    These are actually different names for the same reward - etrnal life - just described different ways.

    Or are we to assume that there will be some gloomy, inglorious Christians who have crowns 2 and 3, but lack 1 and 4?

    To speak of a Crown of [fill in the blank] is just a way for the bible to describe our reward under different aspects. This is a common mode of expression in the Bible.

    Consider "spirit". How many Spirits of God does the Christian have helping him? By this same thinking we would have to have several:

    Spirit of truth
    spirit of holiness
    Spirit of life in Christ Jesus
    Spirit of adoption
    Spirit of the living God
    spirit of faith
    Spirit of promise
    Spirit of grace
    etc.....

    But there really is only one Holy Spirit.

    So the crowns are the very same thing.

    Here are the crown verses.

    1Th 2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not
    even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?

    2Ti 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness,
    which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and
    not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

    Jas 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is
    tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath
    promised to them that love him.

    1Pe 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a
    crown of glory that fadeth not away.
     
  3. Old Union Brother

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    Amen! Way to many people but nature going to heaven and try to attribute top many naturaly things in heaven but the scripture clearly points out:

    Not to make it any better what you have written.

     
  4. John of Japan

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    Hard to tell where to start here. No offense, but you've not really done much study here, have you, just as I suggested in the other thread. Your study of crowns is incomplete.
    This is a great mistake, both linguistically and theologically. The word "reward" occurs 35 times in the KJV, from 6 diferent Greek words. Not one sngle time--not one single time--does "reward" referr to eternal life. So your premise is flawed from the start.

    Theologically the mistake is that somehow eternal life is earned, because a reward is always earned. The noun misthos is the most common word for reward in the NT, translated 28 times as "reward." Misthos means compensation for a work, so sometime it is translated "wages." This is very clear in 1 Cor. 3:14, "If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward."
    I'll answer that with a question. Are we to assume that God is so unjust that the thief on the cross receives the same Heaven as the Apostle Paul who gave his entire life to the Lord, was tortured often, and died a martyr's death? If that were true, God would not be a just God.
    Ths is an invalid comparison of the Spirit of God (real) with what you say is a metaphor--crowns.
    Note that the crowns are usually to specific parties: those who love Christ's appearing in Tim., those who endure temptation in James, a faithful elder in 1 Peter. So how could they refer to eternal life, available to all who believe?

    And you missed Rev. 2:10, those faithful to death. Work harder at this if you love the Word of God. :type:
     
    #4 John of Japan, Mar 24, 2012
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  5. asterisktom

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    Are we to assume that those laborers of one hour cheated the all-day laborers? Was God unjust with giving out the identical pay?

    What is it we are wanting from God? Is eternal life eternally with God, the blessedness of forgiveness and all things ineffable - what can top that? Do we want to mess that up by presenting to God a tally of what we should get? (I know what I should get!)

    Or do we, no matter how carefully we obey - or think we obey - merely come up to the level of "unprofitable servants"?

    If we start thinking of rewards as wages (which is really what you are doing, John, sorry to say) we need to remember that there are two sides to that coin.
     
    #5 asterisktom, Mar 24, 2012
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  6. asterisktom

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    Amen. I would much rather just follow what the Word says here.
     
  7. John of Japan

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    Um, no, it is not me who decided that "rewards" are "wages." I hope you'll go back and actually consider what I wrote instead of simply reacting. In particular, note that:

    (1) Once agan, the word "reward" in the Bible never, ever refers to eternal life--that's only you. As you wrote to OUB, "I would much rather just follow what the Word says here."

    (2) The Greek word misthos is tranlated BOTH as "reward" and "wages." So how could I be the one to "start thinking of rewards as wages" when that is exactly what the Greek NT teaches?

    I wrote a lot more, but surely this is a start for you to actually debate on instead of patting yourself on the back. :smilewinkgrin:
     
  8. asterisktom

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    "11 He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.”

    12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.

    13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”
    - Rev. 22:11-13

    What is being given out here. What is the reward [singular]? The verse before and after give us very helpful context.
     
  9. percho

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    I believe the crowns are references to eternal life also. I do not think they should be construed as rewards but as gifts. Is the house form heaven of 2C5:2 also eternal life?
     
  10. John of Japan

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    I've not been talking about the man side of this issue but God's side. Of course we deserve eternal Hell, and I constantly thank God for the privilege of serving Him. But from God's side:

    "For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister." (Heb. 6:10)

    "And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward." (Matt. 10:42)
     
  11. John of Japan

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    Come on, Tom, this is basic exegesis. The reward is "according to his work," not "accordin to his faith." God rewards the believer according to what he does. But God gives eternal life to the believer based on what Jesus did. Surely you don't believe in works salvation, do you?
     
    #11 John of Japan, Mar 24, 2012
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  12. John of Japan

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    It is clear from the context that "house" in that passage is a metaphor for "body," so the Heavenly "house" we will receive is a glorified body.
     
  13. asterisktom

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    I agree wholeheartedly with your first statements. I need to think more on your question, and look it up in context. This requires more time than I have now. For now, I tend to agree with John's comment.
     
  14. asterisktom

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    I don't believe in works anything.

    "Basic exegesis"? No, it is an imposed system on a contrary text.

    You still haven't answered about the all-day workers. According to your system, it seems, your hard-working life-long missionary should get more than that one denarius.
     
  15. percho

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    I agree so what is it that is dead that needs be clothed, the "we"? Is it not the mortal soul?
    So just when does the mortal soul, the soul that dies from sin, put on, be clothed with that house from heaven, that mortality (the soul) might be swallowed up of life? Eternal life?

    For sure while we (souls) are at home in the earthly house of tabernacle we are absent from the Lord. Will we (souls) have to be clothed in our house from heaven in order to be present with the Lord?

    If we (souls) are not so clothed will we not be in his presence as naked?
     
  16. asterisktom

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    The reward is based on faith. That is why I quoted the previous verse. Those are the two classes of people, the righteous and the unrighteous - which, when you look closer, is merely faith and unbelief being manifested.

    The reward which is with Christ is with those two classes in mind. The one gets the reward of eternal life, the other the reward (wages, actually) of sin.
     
  17. asterisktom

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    And I quoted that last verse for a reason, seeing that it is part of the thought. The first and the last has a special significance with those first-century Jews. The very same phrase comes up in this same context of talents and rewards in the Gospels.

    There is a reason for this.
     
  18. John of Japan

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    Okay, let me make sure I have this straight. You are using a parable where the lord gives wages (Gr. misthos) to prove that our Lord Jesus does not give rewards (Gr. misthos). Is that right? :smilewinkgrin:

    The thrust of the passage is not that the Lord does not give wages/rewards, but that when He does He is absolutely just in it. "Whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive" (Matt. 20:6). Also, the passage teaches that it is not elapsed time that determines the value of work for God.

    You know as well as I do that we do not use parables to determine doctrine. So your idea that this teaches God does not give rewards is out in left field.
     
  19. John of Japan

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    I'm sorry, I don't understand where you are going with this. What does it have to do with the OP?
     
  20. John of Japan

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    Once again you have the pre-opinion, unproven, that "reward" in the Bible can mean eternal life. You simply cannot prove this Biblically. Again, nowhere in the Bible does "reward" mean "everlasting life." It is nothing more than your spiritualization. And you should realize that even when you spiritualize the Bible you can't change the meaning of a word. Every first grader knows that you have to do something to receive a reward. But you do nothing to receive salvation. It is a gift of God.
     

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