The resounding Answer is YES! If….
“10 Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have–Jesus Christ. 12 Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials–gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. 13 But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. 14 If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. 15 But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.” – 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 NLT
Because we speak of rewards so rarely, when we do speak of them, it’s easy to confuse God’s work and man’s. We may, for example, mistakenly believe that heaven is a person’s reward for doing good things. This is absolutely not the case. Eternal life is entirely “the gift of God” (Romans 6:23). In going to heaven, we don’t get what we deserve. What we all deserve is hell. Heaven is a gift, not a reward. Even our faith itself is God’s gift (Ephesians 2:8).
I once sat on a plane next to an incense-smelling 28-year old Buddhist monk dressed in his full-brown robed garb☺. It was fun. In our hour-long conversation I asked him how he purposed to reach “nirvana,” the Buddhists closest concept of heaven?
He lifted up both of his arms in a scale-balance type posture and said. “ I need to make my good deeds outweigh my bad deeds.” He illustrated the measuring scale by lifting and lowering his arms accordingly. I asked him a simple question—”how do you know you have achieved enough good deeds?”His haunting answer…“I don’t know.”
I proceeded to tell him of the grace of God through the Lord Jesus Christ and that I knew for certain that I had eternal life based on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I also explained that the just and holy God, Yahweh of the Bible, would reward those who practiced good deeds and that God will pronounce condemnation on those who refuse to acknowledge Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
As an aside, about 5-7 people in the surrounding seats were leaning toward and listening to our conversation. Sometimes we are having a conversation with more than one person☺!
Here are some comparisons with regard salvation versus rewards:
Salvation is about God’s work for us—It’s a free gift, of which we can contribute nothing (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5).
Rewards are about our work for God (Ephesians 2:10; Titus 2:14).
Salvation is dependent on God’s faithfulness to his promises and on his mercy.
Rewards are conditional and dependent on our faithfulness to our Lord Christ (2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 2:26-28; 3:21).
Belief determines our eternal destination…. where we’ll be (John 3:16).
Behavior determines our eternal rewards… what we’ll have (Proverbs 13:13 KJV).
Works do not affect our redemption [Romans 3:24 KJV]
Works do affect our reward (Titus 3:8 NLT).
Just as there are eternal consequences to our faith—”Many of those whose bodies lie dead and buried will rise up, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting disgrace” – Daniel 12:2 NLT
So, there are eternal consequences to our work— “For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body”- 2 Corinthians 5:10
Should one be eager to work for God?
Once again the answer is a resounding yes!
14 “He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed (zealous KJV) to doing good deeds.” – Titus 2:14 NLT
You would think that I ought never have to ask this question! Yet a major tragedy in the American Church is that many, many Christians would answer this question with a NO. They answer no for many reasons but the greatest reason is: “I don’t have to work for God as I already have eternal life.” This is grievous for the answer is filled with ingratitude, mis-understanding about grace, indifference, ignorance of the Scripture, and probably the worst part: a lack of motivation to do good works that promote God’s reputation and please Him.
9 “So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him.” – 2 Corinthians 5:9 NLT
The word “zealous” from Titus 2:14, means to burn intensely with the eagerness to do good deeds that bring attention to Christ. The word is also used of God who is jealous of any rival that would attempt to take control of what is rightfully His (Exodus 20:5). Oh my, this is staggering! When was the last time you or your Christian friends aggressively sought out to do good works that would please our Master?
The following are four types of suggested questions we might ask each other in order to stimulate us to love and good deeds…“…lets us consider how to spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24
• What are we burning to do today that will honor our Lord Jesus Christ?
• Where is the Holy Spirit disturbing your spirit to become assertive in your obedience to Him?
• This past week how were you motivated to do acts of righteousness?
• Would you write down five acts of obedience you did this last week and share the results with us?
By way of Action Steps:
#1 Go back over this teaching by musing over the verses and jot down what you sense the Holy Spirit is saying to you.
#2 How would you have dialogued with the monk?
#3 This week make a concerted effort to practice good deeds in the name of Jesus Christ. Record them for your own encouragement.
Attempting to build up our Lords character with you,