Heavenly Rewards for the Overcomers

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heavenly rewards

Heavenly rewards are not heavenly gifts

If salvation is a gift it can’t also be part of our heavenly rewards.  By definition gifts can’t be earned . . . I know, I know. . . it happens all the time in the real world here on earth.  But with God, a gift is a gift and never a reward and God never rewards a gift to anyone.  God takes His words seriously, and we should also.

The kingdom of Heaven is the period when the overcoming believers will receive their heavenly rewards, this kingdom itself and its administration is the recompense or part of the heavenly rewards of those believers who enter into and grow in the experience of victory.  In the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 5-7, the Lord speaks of the kingdom of heaven.  The Lord’s teachings tell us how a Christian can enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew repetitively speaks of heavenly rewards.  The Lord Jesus mentioned the Kingdom of Heaven three times in the beatitudes.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.  (Matthew 5:3, 10-12)

Heavenly rewards and the kingdom

We need to recognize that the kingdom of heaven itself is the heavenly reward.  These promises show us that the privilege of administrating the kingdom together with Christ is the reward of God.  There is no difference between the two.  In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord mentioned this matter many times, since He is talking about the kingdom.

For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? (Matthew 5:46)

Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise, you have no reward from your Father in heaven.  (Matthew 6:1)

Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.  (Matthew 6:2)

that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly. (Matthew 6:4)

But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.  (Matthew 6:6)

But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.  (Matthew 6:17, 18)

The principal subject of the Sermon on the Mount is the kingdom of heaven.  Jesus brought up the matter of reward in these three chapters several times because the kingdom of heaven is the reward.

“For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.  Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” (Matthew 16:27-28)

God will either reward or discipline a saved person according to his works.  There are two factors here.  First, each Christian will receive heavenly rewards according to his works, and second, Christ will distribute heavenly rewards when He comes in the glory of His Father with His angels.  This will happen at the time when He returns to establish His kingdom on the Earth. Therefore, the Lord will not begin to distribute heavenly rewards until the beginning of the kingdom of Heaven.

Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”  (Revelation 11:15)

The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth.”  (Revelation 11:18)

When the Lord becomes the King and the kingdoms of the world becomes the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, then that will be the time for giving heavenly rewards to the saints, to the small and great.  In other words, the time of the kingdom is the time of reward.  When the kingdom comes, the heavenly rewards will come also.

The reward will be the receiving of the crown and the throne.  What is a crown?  It is not merely a sculptured piece of gold with diamond inserts to wear on the head.  A crown is a symbol.  The crown represents a position in the kingdom and the glory of the kingdom.  When a ruler loses his crown, he loses power that it represents.  The crown and the throne are symbols of the kingdom.

For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? (1 Thess. 2:19)

Paul said:

“Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”  (2 Timothy 4:8)

Paul was not looking to receive anything to put on his head.  He knew that the crown was a position in the kingdom.  To receive it, it is necessary that the believer receive God’s approval.

Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.  (James 1:12)

. . . and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.  (1 Peter 5:4)

Jesus warned the members of the Church in Philadelphia against the risk of losing their crown.

Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.  (Revelation 3:11)

Just as the crown is a reward, the throne is also a reward for the overcomer.  The throne is not just a golden chair.  It is also a symbol of the kingdom representing position, authority and glory in the kingdom.  When we hear that a king of some country loses the throne, in reality he lost his kingdom.  The throne and the crown as objects are not significant; they only exist to symbolize the kingdom.  The bible clearly shows us that the heavenly rewards are simply the privileges of the kingdom.

 




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