Passage: Matthew 25:14-30
Will we receive rewards in Heaven?
As with many of the questions we have been considering over the past month, there are a variety of opinions on this!
By way of general comment, we can certainly say the Bible does speak about rewards in Heaven, as today’s Bible reading shows.
More precisely, some scholars argue that there will be specific rewards for certain areas of service by the Christian. These have been identified as:
- An imperishable crown for living the disciplined Christian life. (1 Corinthians 9:25)
- A crown of rejoicing for those who have led people to Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20)
- A crown of righteousness for everyone who looks forward to the appearing of Jesus. (2 Timothy 4:8)
- A crown of life for those who persevere under trial. (James 1:12)
- A crown of glory for those who shepherd God’s church with willingness and faithfulness. (1 Peter 5:1-4)
There is a school of thought however, which says believers will not be distinguished in Heaven by their rewards, nor is there a hierarchy among them. The basis for this is Jesus’ teaching about the grace of God. No one enters God’s Kingdom apart from trusting in Jesus and His death and resurrection for sin. It does not matter if you accept Jesus early in life or cry out to Him for mercy just before drawing your last breath – God accepts everyone and treats them all equally! (See Matthew 20:1-16 and Luke 23:39-43)
Applying this thought to believers and rewards in Heaven, one author wisely notes:
“We crave hierarchy and status, but God is gracious. In Heaven, we’ll all be gazing equally at God in His glory – not ours.”
One thing everyone agrees upon is the purpose of the rewards: they are not meant to enhance our own status in the eyes of God or others – they are intended to be given back to God and to bring Him more glory, as Revelation 4:9-11 suggests.
In the words of Scot McKnight, “In the final Heaven, all God’s people will be full of joy – and you can’t get fuller than full. God’s generosity will overwhelm any sense of correlation between what we did on earth and any reward in the afterlife. Any crowns (we might receive) deserve to be thrown at the feet of the God of grace.”
It will be enough to hear our Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
What thoughts do you have about rewards in Heaven?