God’s kingdom is all around you and heaven is waiting for you. But did you know that how you live on earth determines how you will spend eternity in heaven? Many Christians are confused about the question of rewards. Heaven is assured for every blood-bought, justified believer in Jesus! But how much you enjoy of the inheritance God has for you – both on earth and in heaven – depends on how you live your life for God.
The Christian life is more than just getting your destination sorted out. God’s kingdom is to be experienced now! God wants you to lay hold of your destiny – and there is more to your destiny than your destination! Thank God every believer is heavenbound and we have assurance in our hearts.
However, while heaven is secured and your destination is assured by the blood of Jesus, your destiny is in your hands.
It depends on how much you give God here on earth. Furthermore, your destiny is not only something in the future life – you have a destiny to rise to here and now! God has a plan for you here on earth and the time to start living it is now because it will be too late when you get to heaven. How you live on earth will affect your life in heaven.
You can’t separate yourself from the love of God
God’s love is so strong that nothing shall separate us from Christ Jesus. Some say, “Neither death nor life nor any other external thing can separate me from God’s love – but that does not mean that I could not slip and fall away from God.” They believe you can separate yourself from God! But when Paul says, “nothing shall separate us” he means nothing – not even himself. Your salvation has been earned and bought by Jesus himself. It has absolutely nothing to do with you – not your efforts, not your righteousness and not even your ability to hold on to God. Your security is in the blood of Jesus Christ.
God’s plan is that we should look at Jesus
By faith, your destination is assured. As you go through life you’re going to need this encouragement. In those final few moments before your soul slips into eternity, there’s only going to be one thing that will comfort you and assure you – Jesus died for you! That’s the assurance and that’s enough! Your destination is assured.
You are saved by faith and not by works.
Heaven is not your reward – heaven is where you will receive your reward, your inheritance. Jesus said, “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven” (Matthew 5:12). Your reward is given to you on the basis of what you have done with your life on the earth.
Remember this, because we are all going to need much encouragement as we live for Jesus in these days. The temperature is hotting up, spiritually speaking. The enemies of the gospel are more and more active, society is becoming more and more secular and godlessness is becoming more and more evident. We need to hold fast the confession of our faith in Jesus. We need to constantly remind ourselves why we should live for Jesus. In the heat of the moment, under the fierce temptations that are coming our way we need to say, “I’m not going to lose my reward. No way am I going to mess this up.”
You can lose your inheritance, but you can also add to it. You can live in such a way that your inheritance in heaven grows. That’s why we should live a life of holiness on the earth. Jesus is coming back and he’s going to bring his rewards with him. If the worst thing that could ever happen to anybody is to miss heaven, then the second worst thing is for us to lose our inheritance! And to arrive in heaven and be told, “Well, you made it, and that’s by the grace of God. But look what you’ve lost!”
It’s time for us to be heavenly-minded
Our life on the earth is a preparation, but heaven is forever! It’s time now for us to be heavenly-minded and to understand that every day we’re laying up treasures for ourselves in heaven. That’s the only thing that makes sense of some of our experiences on earth.
If we suffer with Christ, we’re also going to reign with him. If we crucify the flesh, we’re going to be raised to a higher level in the resurrection. There are degrees of reward in heaven. Some people don’t like that teaching because we’re living in an egalitarian society where everything is supposed to be equal. We’re all equally valued, equally loved and equally saved but in heaven there are going to be degrees of glory coming our way. The Bible does not really spell it out, but, in some real way, there are going to be distinctions in heaven. Some people are going to receive a greater reward, and some people are even going to suffer loss! They will be saved, but their inheritance will be lost!
Don’t let the devil cheat you out of your inheritance!
The devil will lie to you and say, “Oh, this little sin doesn’t matter very much! You can live for yourself. You’re saved anyway, it doesn’t matter how you live. You can get involved in this wrong relationship. God loves you anyway.” Don’t be fooled. If you listen to the lies of the devil and start living like that, you’re letting him eat away at your inheritance. And on that day you will find that even what you had will be taken away from you, forever! And there’s nothing you will be able to do about it!
Rewards are not just about life in the future but also about your present experience, because your inheritance includes an earthly experience. It’s not enough to tell somebody they will have an inheritance when their father dies if they are broke now!
Jesus has died and been raised from the dead. Like a good father he says, “I know you are going to come into this fortune when I die, but I care about you now – you need educating, you need somewhere to live. Here’s a portion of your inheritance now”. He’s given us a slice of heaven now, a portion of our future inheritance now, so that we can live a life of victory and power and blessing!
Your inheritance or your reward is basically future, but you can see it – it is foreseeable! I can’t tell you exactly what it’s going to be like or how it’s going to work. But we know that it’s there and it’s ready for us. In 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 Paul said, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love him. But God has revealed them to ns through his Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.”
A taste of heaven!
Your inheritance in the future is also foreseeable! If you taste something, you don’t eat it all. What a taste of heaven we have upon this earth – it’s not all of heaven, but it’s a bite here on the earth.
The experience of our inheritance is tied to the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3)
A spiritual blessing is a blessing that is activated, and released in our lives by the Holy Spirit – and God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing. There is a sense of fullness here. The fullness we see is only a foretaste in comparison with the fullness that shall be!
In him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14) The promised Holy Spirit is part of our inheritance as a Christian and that’s what we experience on the earth. As we seek him and get filled with him we experience more and more of him. So when we receive the Spirit, we have a deposit that guarantees our inheritance, “Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:23)
We have the firstfruits of the Spirit
That word “firstfruits” is a very interesting word. The firstfruits is that part of the harvest that ripens ahead of the rest and is gathered in first. You know two things when you’ve got firstfruits in your hand:
1.The harvest is COMING! The firstfruits point to the rest of the harvest coming in.
2.It also tells you that what you’ve got in your hand is also real harvest NOW!
So, the Holy Spirit is given to us as part of the inheritance that is yet to come. And we, by the Spirit, taste the powers of the age to come. The Spirit brings a touch of heaven to us. Occasionally, that’s manifested in amazing ways through the gifts and manifestations of the Spirit. These are times when God’s presence is almost tangible, he is saying, “Yes, I’ve got something for you now. And you can taste your future inheritance, now!” When you are born again by the Spirit, your life should bring forth the fruit of good deeds done in faith! It’s important not just for you, but for the unbelievers! James chooses his words very carefully when he says, “You say I have faith, and you have actions. Show me your faith without actions and I will show you my faith by my actions” (James 2:18)
Let others see your faith in action
James is not talking about having a ‘good works competition’ in the church. Neither is he talking about asking yourself, “How many good deeds have I done?” to see if you really deserve to come to God. It’s not like that.
However, when you put our faith into action others see. That’s what actions are for! Your deeds done in faith demonstrate the genuineness of your faith to others. Jesus says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Our inheritance and our reward are conditional. It depends on what we do with what we’ve been given. We are going to be judged before the seat of Jesus. We are going to be judged according to what we have done with what we’ve been given.
The apostle Paul was correcting some worldly thinking in the church of Corinth when he said in 1 Corinthians 3:8, “For to those to whom much has been given, much is required!” These people were very worldly and they were fighting among themselves.
Paul reminded them that one person has one task and another person has a different task. That’s why you have different types of ministry, and you shouldn’t prefer one above the other. You should receive them all. In Corinth Paul was the apostle who planted, and Apollos was the teacher who came along and watered so that they would grow.
Each one will receive a reward according to their own labour
Paul was saying that each one will receive his reward according to his own labour, and then he takes it further, “Each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.” (1 Corinthians 3:13-14).
He is talking here about how you build on the foundation of faith. Each of us as Christians has received a foundation. His name is Jesus. How we live our Christian lives determines the nature of our reward.
So Paul is saying that there are two kinds of people, and they are distinguished by how they build. You can build with things that last – silver and gold and precious stones, so that when the fire comes the silver endures, the gold stays there, and the precious stones are not destroyed. But there is another way of building – with wood, hay or stubble. And, if you build with those building materials, when the fire comes, they will be burnt up. That is to do with the judgement that is to come to us as Christians. It is the judgement of rewards. It’s standing before the judgement seat of Christ to receive the reward for the things done in our lifetime, whether good or bad. And in that day in heaven, when we stand, it will be awesome.
Our God is a consuming fire. If we dare to bring into his presence our works which are done casually, with loose motivation and without the genuine application of the love of Christ, those works will be burnt up. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:15)
Don’t lose your inheritance!
Something will be removed – your inheritance! You shall be saved, but your rewards will be lost. Don’t lose your rewards. Instead, live so that when you get to heaven and you’ve passed the test, you will receive a great reward.
Speaking about this whole issue Jesus said, “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 5:20).
God is calling you to live the kind of life that sees the kingdom of God happen on earth so that you can rise up to lay hold of every bit of your inheritance. He wants you to endure in faithfulness right up until the end, so that when you enter the kingdom of heaven, you will experience the full inheritance that he has purposed for you to receive on that day.
Let’s get rich spiritually so that we can have an abundant inheritance in the kingdom of God! It’s time to lay hold of your inheritance!