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Do believers earn rewards in Heaven?

Quick Answer: Many teach that believers will receive rewards in Heaven because of good works performed in this life. However, this concept is absent from the New Testament. Instead, the Bible teaches that all believers receive the same reward (singular): the reward of the inheritance in Christ (Colossians 3:24).

Diving Deeper: Will some believers have more square footage in their mansion or more “bling” in their heavenly jewelry? The truth is there’s no mention of believers receiving rewards – plural – in Scripture. Instead, we will receive a reward (singular) – “the reward of the inheritance” (Colossians 3:24).

This is illustrated in Matthew 20:1-16, the Parable of the Vineyard Workers. In the parable, some of those workers got started early in the morning, while others started with only one hour left in the day. Yet, all received the same wages. Apparently, God is an Equal Opportunity Employer! Now, we might be tempted to think this is not fair, and that’s correct. It’s not fair, it’s God’s grace!

What about the supposed loss of rewards in 1 Corinthians 3? It’s true that Paul speaks of something burning up during judgment (1 Corinthians 3:13). However, the passage is not about loss of a believer’s reward. It’s actually focused on false teachers and loss of their work (no result). Their work is destroyed and not celebrated by God.

Paul makes the statement that those who teach a message built on a foundation other than Christ will see their work destroyed (even though some of them might be saved). So, this passage is addressing the fruit of a false teacher’s labor being destroyed. After all, why would there be anything to celebrate about the teaching of false doctrine? Surely, it will not stand the test of time!

However, when a believer arrives in Heaven, they will not be lacking in anything. They will not be disappointed that they didn’t do “enough.” There are no levels of Heaven and no levels of reward. Revelation 21:4 assures us there will be no tears, no sorrow, and nothing but pure joy in seeing our Father face to face. This is the truth that sets us free!

Let’s Make It a Conversation!
1. How have you understood the concept of rewards in the past? What do you think now?
2. How does the Parable of the Vineyard Workers speak into the equality of reward?
3. How does the expression “the reward of the inheritance” in Colossians 3:24 bring clarity? (Hint: Why does one receive an inheritance?)
3. React to this statement: Jesus Himself is our great Reward.

 

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