– Randy Alcorn
The Rewards of Works
None of us can be saved by works (Ephesians 2:8-9), but a person who is saved will do good works because of his or her salvation. A person is not saved by works, but a person who’s saved will do works of righteousness for Christ’s glory. That explains the meaning of James writing that “faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17). Anyone who is truly born again will desire to do good things for God and for His glory, but if they’re done only to be seen by others, then that’s the only reward they will have, which is why Jesus said, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 6:1). If you tell others, you’ve received your reward, which is the praise of others. If you tell no one, your reward awaits you in heaven. Now which do you prefer?
The Rewards of Souls
I don’t think we’ll even realize how many people we have impacted on this earth until we see them in heaven. I believe that the faithful witnesses who frequently share the faith will see many in heaven on account of their evangelism. What greater reward than to have someone come up to you in the kingdom and say, “Hey, I remember you. Back in the ’90s you told me that if I stepped out of this life without Christ, I’d be separated from Christ forever. I never had the chance to thank you since I lost touch with you.” I think that might be one of the greatest rewards there will be. As Solomon wrote, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who is wise wins souls” (Proverbs 11:30).
The Rewards of Eternity
Eternal life may be its own reward, and all who trust in Christ receive this precious free gift from God (John 3:16). For me “a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere,” and “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness” (Psalm 84:10). Do you see my point? I hope to meet many of you there someday for the very first time but certainly not for the last.
Let’s think about this today. He or she who lays up treasures in heaven looks forward to eternity in more ways than one. I look forward to meeting you there, too, someday and all of those whom God has justified by faith in Christ. Part of that reward is recorded by Daniel: “And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:3).