Grace Evangelical Free Church of Strasburg » Rewards in Heaven

Rewards in Heaven

The Bible mentions rewards in heaven multiple times (Matthew 5:12; Luke 6:23, 35; 1 Corinthians 3:14; 9:18). But why are rewards necessary? Won’t being in heaven with God be enough? Experiencing Him, His glory, and the joys of heaven will be so wonderful, it’s hard to understand why extra rewards would be needed. Also, since our faith rests in Christ’s righteousness instead of our own (Romans 3:21–26), it seems strange that our works would merit reward.

God will give rewards in heaven at the bema, or the judgment seat of Christ, based on our faithfulness in service to Him (2 Corinthians 5:10). The rewards will show the reality of our sonship (Galatians 4:7) and the justice of God (Hebrews 6:10). God will give rewards in heaven in order to fulfill the law of sowing and reaping (Galatians 6:7–9) and make good on His promise that our labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).

One reason for the rewards in heaven is the fact that Jesus shares His reward with us. Paul said, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Our lives are “hidden” with Christ, who is seated at the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1–4). We die with Him and we live with Him and we share in His joy (Romans 6:8; Matthew 25:21). In heaven we will dwell with Him (John 14:1–3). Our lives are inextricably linked with Christ’s. The reward He receives is shared with all of us: “If we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Romans 8:17).

Our rewards in heaven depend on the goodness and power of God. Through Christ’s resurrection we gain an inheritance in heaven; on earth our faith is tested and results in praise and glory and honor when Christ is revealed (1 Peter 1:3–9). The things we do in this life are only permanent (that is, carried with us into heaven) if they are built on the foundation, which is Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11–15).

The rewards we gain in heaven are not like the rewards we earn here on earth. We tend to think in material terms—mansions, jewels, etc. But these things are only representations of the true rewards we will gain in heaven. A child who wins a spelling bee treasures the trophy he receives not for the sake of the trophy itself but for what that trophy means. Likewise, any rewards or honor we gain in heaven will be precious to us because they carry the weight and meaning of our relationship with God—and because they remind us of what He did through us on earth.

In this way, rewards in heaven glorify God and provide us with joy, peace, and wonder as we consider God’s work in us and through us. The closer we were to God during this life, the more centered on Him and aware of Him, the more dependent on Him, the more desperate for His mercy, the more there will be to celebrate. We are like characters in a story who suffer doubt, loss, and fear, wondering if we will ever really have our heart’s desire. When the happy ending comes and desire is fulfilled, there comes a completion. The story would not be satisfying without that completion. Rewards in heaven are the completion of our earthly story, and those rewards will be eternally satisfying (Psalm 16:11) and include five Crown Rewards:

The Victor’s Crown: 1 Corinthians 9:25-27  

Self-discipline requires the ability to say “No” when necessary – and not just to things that are sinful.  Often, something ‘good’ keeps us from God’s ‘best’.  Serving God involves narrowing our focus to those things with the highest everlasting value.  Life is full of ‘good’ things which may take our eyes of the best Christ has to offer.  It is up to us to identify and choose accordingly.  Those who exercise such discipline will receive the Victor’s Crown.

(Think about how you spend your time, money and talents.  Do your habits reflect service to God or do they indicate other priorities in your life?)

The Crown of Rejoicing: 1 Thessalonians 2:19

This crown is awarded to those who bring others to Christ, often called the Soul-Winner’s Crown, given to those who reach out beyond themselves to lead others to salvation.

(When was the last time you talked about Jesus to someone who wasn’t a Christian?”

The Crown of Righteousness: 2 Timothy 4:8

Many Christians become so caught up with earthly activities that they forget heaven is their true destination.  This crown is for those who long for Jesus’ return and conduct themselves accordingly.

(Take inventory of thoughts and actions: do they reflect righteousness to those around you?)

The Crown of Life: James 1:12: Revelation 2:10  

Believers who maintain their love for Christ in the midst of persecution, temptation and even martyrdom receive this crown.  Any believer who has kept the faith when it was costly to do so – anyone who has suffered, endured, persevered and encouraged others receives this crown.

(Are both my testimony and lifestyle devoted to acknowledging the reality of Jesus in my life regardless of the cost to my reputation, stigmatization or worse?  Am I supportive of others called out in this way?)

The Crown of Glory: 1 Peter 5:4        

This crown is given to faithful shepherds of God’s people: pastors, elders, deacons, Sunday school teachers, etc.  It rewards those answering God’s call of ministry and leadership. (Have you answered God’s call?)

About the Author
Grace Evangelical Free Church is based in Strasburg, VA, Tony Raker is the Pastor and author of these articles. Rob Moses is the IT Manager and Media Lead. We are a small bible-based church preaching from the word of God. Scott Tucker is the backup IT support tech.

Leave a Reply


captcha *