Is Heaven going to be Socialist when it comes to rewards?
Each mid-July our ministry sponsors a Bible conference that is held in the Dallas, Texas area. In 2017, our conference’s theme was “Living with Hope in the End Times.” One of the powerful presentations made at that conference concerned what the Bible has to say about the rewards Jesus will hand out when we stand before His judgment seat. The presentation was made by Glenn Meredith, the pastor of the Brookhaven Church in McKinney, Texas. An excerpt of Pastor Meredith’s eye-opening teaching on heavenly rewards is presented below, or watch it on our television program, Christ in Prophecy.
Glenn Meredith: Others don’t think about earning heavenly rewards because they believe to do so would be wrong. They believe getting a heavenly reward is somehow sinful.Misconception: heavenly rewards are somehow sinful. #Heaven Click To Tweet
And yet, the Bible teaches us in 1 Corinthians 9:24-25, “Do you not know that in a race all of the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” Paul is saying that you should be motivated in your life to get the prize. God expects you to be motivated by the promise of rewards. Therefore, run in such a way as to get the prize.
Paul continues, “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” How long? Forever! First Peter 5:5 reveals, “And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”
As you can see, there’s a terrible misunderstanding about our heavenly rewards.
Another misconception people believe about earning heavenly rewards is, “I don’t really care about rewards. They don’t really matter. I just want to make it to Heaven. If I can just get through the Pearly Gates, and they slam the gates behind me, I’ll sure just be glad I made it in.” These people think they’ll be totally cool with just getting by. They think that Heaven is going to be so wonderful, and it is, but that it really won’t matter to them for all eternity whether they have any rewards, because they kind of reason, we’re all going to sort of be the same up there anyway. There’s not going to be any distinctions between believers, so rewards really don’t matter.Misconception: heavenly rewards don't matter. #Heaven Click To Tweet
First Corinthians 3:11-15 disagrees.
“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved — even though only as one escaping through the flames.”
The Bible teaches that at the Judgment Seat you’re life’s work for Christ is evaluated and judged as to whether it was valuable to Him. God reveals your heart, whether you wasted your life doing those things that were not worthy of the Kingdom of Christ. If so, then the Bible says your life’s work could be counted as lost.
So then, do you really think earning heavenly rewards won’t matter to you at that moment? Do you think that there is a genuine believer who could truly stand up when their name is called, and their moment to stand face-to-face and look into the face of their Savior, seeing the nail prints in His hands and His feet, won’t see and recognize what God desired to do through them?
Jesus sacrificed everything! He left all of His glory and became a mere man in order to redeem us. He gave up almost everything for you and me. And so, do you really believe that at that moment you’re not going to care?
Will you really say, “Sure, I took your sacrificial gift of salvation. I was glad to have it. I’m glad to be here. But, I didn’t think you were really worth living for. I didn’t think it was worth sacrificing my ‘me time’ for You.” I think it’s going to be a terrible day for you on that day, to stand there having wasted an entire life living solely for yourself.
Then there are some people who are not motivated by rewards because they sort of have this view that Heaven is going to be Socialist. They think that there are going to be some people in Heaven who were really sold out to Jesus Christ. They lived their life for God. They really made their lives count for eternity. And then there’s going to be others in Heaven who were half-hearted in their devotion to Christ. They believe we’ll get there altogether, and after the casting of the crowns, which will happen once and for all, then all of us are just the same. They honestly believe there will be no distinctions in Heaven for all of eternity.Misconception: heavenly rewards will be doled out socialistically. #Heaven Click To Tweet
How do they reason this? They figure that if we saw somebody who had earned more rewards than they had, then they’d be jealous, and there’s not going to be any jealously in Heaven, so therefore there can’t be any distinctions in Heaven. Now, that’s flawed human logic! It’s certainly not what the Bible teaches.
What is correct is that there will be no jealously in Heaven, but that’s not because there are no distinctions between believers’ rewards. Rather, jealousy doesn’t exist because we will all be motivated by a perfect love by that point. It will be like one of my children becoming very successful, achieving something that far exceeded me in my life. I would be happy for them, not jealous of them, because I love them. We will love our brothers and sisters. When we see someone who devoted their life to Christ, and others who sacrificed their own lives to Christ, we will admire them. We will praise God for them. We will thank them for their service, and in turn, we will be encouraged. We will love them, but we will never be jealous.
Believe me, there will be distinctions made in Heaven.
In the sixth and last segment of this series on heavenly rewards, Pastor Meredith will conclude answering why now matters.