Monday, March 09, 2009

Crowns in Heaven

You might have a reward waiting for you in heaven! It sounds like a spam email. But it's true. The Bible makes it clear that while Jesus is preparing a place, he is also planning to present a reward.

Consider this text:

"Rejoice and be extremely glad, because your reward in heaven is great!" Matthew 5: 12

Consider this text:

"Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of people in order to be noticed by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven." Matthew 6: 1

Consider this text:

"Stop storing up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moths and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but keep on storing up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where moths and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal," Matthew 6: 18

Consider this text:

Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go and sell what you own and give the money to the destitute, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come back and follow me." Matthew 19: 21

Consider this text:

"Don't be afraid of what you are going to suffer. Look! The devil is going to throw some of you into prison so that you may be tested. For ten days you will undergo suffering. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the victor's crown of life." Revelation 2: 10

Those passages indicate something that some are given as a reward in heaven. It can clearly be great, it can be absent, it is secure, it can be from selflessness, and it can be from faithfulness.

But what it is?

Insofar as this reward, we know it is not equal. Everyone doesn't get the same thing or the same portion. But in heaven there is a shared reward. Jesus Christ is the reward. And, in a sense, he is all we really need. Our "goodness" which may result in reward will be so clearly a result of Christ's love, we won't bear to claim it. Throwing our crowns at Jesus' feet will be very easy.

But don't forget, we know something else about Jesus.

To him, people are very important. He cared enough to die for them. And in heaven, when we are regenerate and of a truly renewed mind and heart, people will also be very important to us.

Finally, for those whose salvation in which we played some role, we will receive a tremendous pleasure in their salvation and presence also in heaven. That may very well be the nature of our reward for obedient service and faithfulness to Jesus Christ on earth.

If it is, I am satisfied.

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