Lesson Five – The Reward of the Faithful

The Reward of the Faithful

Lesson Aim:  To identify the blessings that will make Jesus’ return a joyous occasion for faithful Christians.


From his prison cell John the Baptist, sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the Coming One, or shall we look for someone else?”  Matt. 11:3.  After Jesus gave John information proving He was indeed the Messiah, Jesus said, “And blessed is he who keeps from stumbling over Me.”  Matt. 11:6.  Jesus is the stone of Zion to all people one way or another.  We will build our lives upon Him or stumble over Him while we attempt to build elsewhere.  Jesus warned, “And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.”  Matt. 21:44.  In Lesson Four we learned about the fate of those who stumbled over Jesus.  In this lesson we will study about the rewards at Judgment for those of us who now use Jesus as a precious corner stone (I Pet. 2:4-10).

If indeed God’s design of mankind is consistent with His purpose for creating us, then our rewards at Judgment will satisfy all the needs we will have as we live eternally in our resurrected bodies.  We have already learned our bodies will change significantly in kind (I Cor. 15:37).  For instance, our stomach will not be a part of our resurrected body; therefore, we will not have a hunger drive (I Cor. 6:13).  Since there will be no marriages in heaven, contrary to Mormon doctrine, we must conclude we will have no sex drive (Luke 20:34-36).  Our drives that will not be affected in our body change will be our need for achievement, social acceptance and security.  In this lesson we will see how Jesus will satisfy all of the inherent needs faithful Christians will have after our resurrection.


In order to have everything work out right for Christians in the resurrection and on Judgment Day, we must leave this world in fellowship with the Holy Spirit.  Paul told the Roman Christians, “If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.”  Rom. 8:11.  The Holy Spirit is also the earnest or pledge of our inheritance (Eph. 1:14).  Christians’ fellowship with the Holy Spirit began immediately after we were cleansed by the blood of Jesus in baptism.  He will stay with us until we die physically – or spiritually.

Because we are all under the sentence of physical death, we should put our trust in God who raises the dead (II Cor. 1:9).  Our faith and patience is that we “serve a living and true God, and to wait for Him from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come.”  I Thess. 1:9, 10.  Our first clue after our death that everything is going all right is; we are allowed to sleep in Christ until the end of time (I Thess. 4:14).  Of course, we will not be aware of this clue but if we awake in the Hadean torment we know we will be in trouble at Judgment.  If we die the death of a martyr we may go directly to heaven.  When the fifth seal was opened, John saw those who had died for their faith under God’s altar in heaven (Rev. 6:10).  They were asking, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, wilt Thou refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on earth?”  Whether faithful Christians are alive or dead when Jesus comes, there will be a grand and joyous meeting in the air after our resurrection or change (I Thess. 4:15-17; I Cor. 15:51-53).  At this meeting we will “not shrink away from Him in shame,” but we will glorify Him and marvel at Him with the other saints (I John 2:28; II Thess. 1:10).

God’s grace “in Christ” has brought salvation to us; therefore, God is purifying “for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”  Tit. 3:11-14.  Faithful Christians will be recompensed for our good deeds at judgment (II Cor. 5:10; John 5:29; Rom. 2:6).  Our judgment will be based upon the works we are now doing as a result of our spiritual growth.  The formula we learned in Lesson Three, OA + T = G, will be adequate for the occasion.  This equation will be used by Jesus to judge our works.  It may be difficult for us to understand that today in Christ we are saved by grace through faith, but our rewards at judgment will be based on our works.  Let us understand how it will happen before we proceed with our study of our rewards at Judgment.

The Apostle Paul appears to counter the foregoing hypothesis when he said “If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.”  I Cor. 13:3.  From this statement we might be led to believe our Judgment will be based on the quality of our love.  In reality it will be, but for Jesus to evaluate our character, His Judgment will be on our works.  In other words, we do certain deeds because of the love we learned “in Christ.”  The blessings “in Christ,” our present grace, allows the love of God to come into our hearts by the work of the Holy Spirit in our sanctification (Rom. 5:5).  Our deeds of love neither seek a return for ourselves, nor do they “take into account a wrong suffered.”  They are motivated by love, agape (I Cor. 13:4-8).

We remember the “sheep” in Jesus’ parable were not aware of doing the good deeds for which they were being rewarded (Matt. 25:34-40).  They had served mankind, and therefore Jesus, because of their new self (Eph. 4:24).  Their works revealed their traits of faith and love in their new “self” (Jas. 2:17).  Good deeds done for purely selfish motives will not help our case at Judgment.  This is Paul’s point in I Cor. 13:3.  In summary, let it be said the purpose of God’s present grace is to redeem us from sin and give us peace with Him (Rom. 5:1).  This will give us freedom to conform to the character of Jesus.  Our Judgment will be on the behavior being performed by our “new self.”  Jesus’ behavior will be the criterion for our Judgment.  Now let us see what our rewards will be after Jesus says “well done.”

Our adoption as sons, which started at our new birth, will be finalized after we are redeemed from our physical bodies (Eph. 1:3-5; Rom. 8:23).   Although sonship is a great and wonderful blessing in and of itself, it puts us in a position for more blessings.  We are now heirs.  Paul told the Christians in Galatia:  “Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”  Gal. 4:7.  He told the Colossian Christians he was “Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.”  Col. 1:12.  When Paul stated the terms of his commission to the Gentiles, he said he was authorized to offer them an inheritance (Acts 26:17, 18).

What then is a faithful Christian’s inheritance?  Actually, Christians enjoy two inheritances.  First, we are heirs of the promise God gave to Abraham (Heb. 6:17).  We are now enjoying the blessings in Christ because we are children of Abraham (Rom. 4:13-16; Gal. 3:16-29).  These blessings let both Jew and Gentile Christians be “heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”  Tit. 3:5-7.  The new covenant is for all who will accept.

And for this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, in order that since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. Heb. 9:15

The inheritance we received because we are Abraham’s children is now helping us to obtain our eternal inheritance at Judgment.  We have an inheritance waiting for us because we are sons of God.  Peter said it is “an inheritance undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.”  I Pet. 1:4.  This inheritance was preached by the apostles and other first century preachers along with the forgiveness of sins.  It serves Christians as a positive motivating force for becoming and remaining faithful children of God.  It is very important for us to have a strong positive motivating force to help us remain strong Christians until we take our last breath, or Jesus appears.  In fact, it is so important we know we have our inheritance that God has given us a special relationship with the Holy Spirit.  We need a clear eschatological view of ourselves with our inheritance for our present encouragement.  Our fellowship with the Holy Spirit serves us as a pledge from God that He will redeem us from the grave and give us our inheritance.

In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation – having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.  Eph. 1:13, 14

Because we are sons of God we will inherit eternal life and the kingdom of God.

And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, shall receive many times as much, and shall inherit eternal life.  Matt. 19:28, 29

Then the King will say to those on His right, “Come you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  Matt. 25:34

But to which of the angels has He ever said, “Sit at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet?”  Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?  Heb. 1:13, 14

The angels of heaven are now ministering to Christians.  Salvation means safety; therefore, to inherit salvation means we get for our own the safety of our souls.  A concept that we will merely avoid hell and go to heaven is not enough to motivate Christians to “be faithful until death.”  Consciously or subconsciously, from our birth we have been seeking ways and means to satisfy our needs.  The safety of our soul is one of our needs.  Since we are still seeking, our eschatological view must include a plan to satisfy our inherent needs; otherwise, we will turn away from God and look elsewhere.  Satan will be waiting at our first wrong turn to offer us a phony plan.  In the following scripture Paul associates the salvation in Christ Jesus with our eternal glory.

For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.  II Tim. 2:10

To obtain glory means we will achieve a position in which we will be accepted socially, and therefore, viewed favorably by Deity.  Eternal means our position will not end – age outlasting.  We will attain a position that will satisfy our need to achieve and we will be accepted in the position by others.  The combination of achievement and social acceptance gives glory.  It is secure because it will not end; therefore, eternal glory.  This is an eschatological extension of salvation in Christ Jesus.  This will satisfy our need for achievement, social acceptance and security.

We will discuss exactly what it means to inherit eternal life and God’s kingdom in the following lessons.  Let it suffice to say at this point; our glorious resurrected body and the finalization of our adoption as God’s son along with our inheritance will surely satisfy our inherent needs of security, social acceptance and achievement for our spirit that came from God (Heb. 12:9).  We do have an inherent need to get back where we came from and stay there eternally.

The following blessings are from John’s Revelation.  The Spirit says each Christian who overcomes will receive all of them.  By putting them all together we have a composite picture of our inheritance.  In this picture we find a clear goal for the satisfaction of the innate needs we will still have after our resurrection.  At this point in time we need a goal on the other side of our physical death, resurrection and Judgment for our security, social acceptance and achievement in God’s kingdom.  Many people are looking to the scientists to produce a program that will satisfy these needs.  It has not been found, and will not be found, in time in this physical world.  It is passing away (I Cor. 7:31).

To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.  (Security).  Rev. 2:7

He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.  (Security).  Rev. 2:11

To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.  (Achievement).  Rev. 2:17

And he who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, I will give authority over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father; and I will give him the morning star.  (Achievement).  Rev. 2:26-28

He who overcomes shall thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels.  (Social acceptance).  Rev. 3:5

He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.  (Security, achievement and social acceptance).   Rev. 3:12

He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.  (Resurrected sons of God with our inheritance). Rev. 3:21

This great inheritance is promised by God to Christians who overcome Satan’s temptations to cause us to lust (Rom. 13:14; Col. 2:23).  Christians overcome by our faith in the blood of Jesus.  We overcome by the grace of God and because of the word of our testimony and we do not love our lives unto death (Rev. 12:11).  We must overcome!

Questions for Discussion

  1. How is Jesus the stone of Zion to all people?
  2. Who must Christians be in fellowship with when we die, if we expect to have a successful resurrection?
  3. What will be our first clue after our death that everything will be right at Judgment?
  4. Why should God’s people be zealous for good works?
  5. Explain how Judgment of our deeds will reveal the quality of our love.
  6. What will be finalized for faithful Christians at Judgment?
  7. Because we are sons of God what other blessings will we qualify to receive?
  8. Describe the inheritance Christians are now enjoying.
  9. Describe the inheritance we hope to receive.
  10. How important is it for us to be aware of our eternal inheritance?
  11. What do the scriptures specifically reveal about what faithful Christians will inherit?
  12. Who are the ministers for the present heirs of salvation?
  13. What does the word “salvation” mean?
  14. How is salvation in Christ associated with eternal glory?
  15. How does eternal glory relate to our inherent needs?
  16. Write a paragraph from John’s Revelation summarizing the blessings for those who overcome.

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