CHAPTER 22-SALVATION AND REWARDS #Eph 2:8-10 Re 22:12
There is a necessary distinction between salvation and rewards. To ignore this distinction will lead to confusion and perversion of the gospel. Salvation is for the lost; rewards are for the saved. Salvation is for believers; rewards are for workers. Salvation is by grace through faith; rewards are for faithful service. Salvation is common to all the saints; one will be no more saved than another, rewards are proportioned to the work done. "And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be (#Re 22:12). Salvation is a present possession; rewards are a future blessing. Salvation is received on earth; rewards are to be received in heaven. "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you" (#Mt 5:12). Salvation is based on the sufferings of the Savior; rewards are based upon the suffering of the saint. Salvation is the result of Christ's suffering for us; rewards are based upon our suffering for Him.
I have been both surprised and disappointed at the little literature on the subject of rewards. I searched here and there for some book in my library dealing with the subject and found practically nothing. I think first of all that we need the RIGHT ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE SUBJECT of rewards.
Some deny the doctrine, claiming all Christians will be equal in heaven. One will have no more than another. But this is to flatly deny the scriptures. If rewards are based on works, and they are, then the works of all would be the same if there is no difference in rewards. If rewards are based on works and suffering, what believer is there today who can expect the reward of the apostle Paul?
Some ignore the doctrine, do not deal with it, simply neglect to say anything about it. This is evident from the small amount of literature on the subject. Some despise the doctrine, having no interest in rewards. Salvation is all they want. Keeping out of hell is as far as their interest goes. They will be satisfied to be saved by the skin of their teeth.
Others say the doctrine of rewards is inconsistent with the motive of love in our works. They say we should work from love and not for pay. But if our Lord promises pay or reward we would not love Him much if we did not appreciate and strive for the reward he offers. Is it inconsistent with love for its father, for the child to appreciate and strive for reward offered by its father? I think not. Is the father afraid the child will not love him if he offers reward for faithful service? I think not.