Friday, January 7, 2011
Honours Reward - John Bever Chapter 1. "Our actions have consequences for eternity"
I think the biggest thing that really stood out to me in this first chapter of Honours Reward is that every action has a consequence for all of eternity.
That there alone is enough to ponder on for a long time. It is also a very humbling thought. Even though we are forgiven our sins when we confessed Jesus as our Lord and are saved from eternal damnation, the very fact that each choice we make here and now affects how we spend eternity with Christ, is quite frankly a scary one.
This is the couple of paragraph which really stuck out at me:
"Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward." (2 John 8)
Notice John says "That we may receive a full reward." While I meditated, the word full jumped off the page. I thought, If there's a full reward, then there's a partial reward, and even a no-reward scenario. (Remember we are not talking about salvation here, but rewards.) Upon further meditation I concluded there are two applications to which John is referring. The first is the Judgment Seat of Christ. Paul states: "We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:8).
We know immediately Paul is not addressing all humanity, for when an unbeliever is absent from the body he is not present with the Lord; rather he is in hell. This may sound harsh, but its the truth. Jesus didn't come into our world to condemn it, quite the contrary, to save it. The world was already condemned because of Adam, who sold us over to eternal death (see John 3:17-18). Only those who receive Jesus the Christ by committing their lives completely to Him will be present with the Lord when they leave behind their earthly bodies. Paul continues to address the believers.:
"Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:9-10)
Every believer will stand before Christ's Judgment Seat. On that day each of us will receive according to what we did in our short time on earth. The Today's English Version states, "We will each receive what we deserve."* Our sins will not be judged, for the blood of Jesus eradicated the eternal punishment ascribed to sin. Rather, we will be rewarded, or suffer loss, for what we did as believers. Our deeds, words, thoughts, and even motives will be inspected in the light of His Word. The temporary things on which we built our lives will be devoured which will result in loss, and the eternal will be purified into everlasting rewards."
I think that for me, this is the beginning of an understanding of the weight that our Father in Heaven puts on each and every little choice we make.
*Its funny how when we hear that said in the religious or spiritual terms we get all upset as if some sort of right has been taken away from us. Yet in our natural world and judicial system we see it as only fair and right that a person receives either punishment or reward for their various actions.