Week 26 – Payday: The Believers Reward
“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.”
One of the closing verses of the Bible is from Jesus: “Behold, I am coming quickly, and my reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.” (Revelation 22:12) We all shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ where we will receive the judgment of our actions that we will live with throughout eternity:
“For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall give praise to God.’ So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God. For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.’ And again, ‘The Lord will judge His people.’” (Romans 14:10-12)
There are at least four areas in which we will be judged in the day of judgment.
What We Do and Don’t Do
Some will be greatly rewarded for lives well lived, others will not merit many rewards because they disobeyed God. Faithfulness to our calling will be examined on that day (Matthew 25:14-30) as well as our stewardship over our time, talents, and finances. Our lives will be examined in light of our faithfulness and obedience. Paul wrote that our reward depends on building our lives wisely and according to God’s reliable Word:
“Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet as through fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:12-15)
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)
Pastors, teachers, and church leaders will be accountable to God for their work in the local church: “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment” (James 3:1). These leaders will incur a stricter judgment because of their prominent place given by God before the people of God.
What We Say
The Bible is clear about the power of the tongue, both for good and evil. Especially in the books of Proverbs and James, the Bible gives examples of both poor and good use of the tongue. Jesus will hold us accountable on the Day of Judgment for what we have said in this life. Every idle word that we speak will be judged. This should help us to watch our tongue and continuously confess our sins of speech to God. According to Proverbs 18:21 “Life and death are in the power of the tongue.” God desires us to use our words to give life.
“But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.” (Matthew 12:36)
“But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops.” (Luke 12:2-3)
All the secrets of our hearts will be manifest on the Day of Judgment. God looks beyond our mere words and actions and into the depths of our hearts, evaluating our motives. One of the critical concerns Jesus addressed in His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) was the primacy of heart motives. In this “inaugural address,” Jesus made it clear that God, the righteous judge, looks beyond the visible sins to weigh those things He alone can see — the hidden malice, the furtive drooling lust, the sneering disdain for our neighbor. For this reason we must guard our hearts and keep that invasive corruption out.
“…on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.” (Romans 2:16)
“Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.” (1 Corinthians 4:5)
Our Treatment of the People of God
God gives us daily opportunities to show His love to the needy around us. God specifically has put a premium on us showing love and concern for the “household of faith.” Are you loving, kind and sensitive to the needs of others? Practically, this can be worked out in the local church context. The local church is truly God’s provision to mature us and use our gifts to bless His Body.
“The King will answer and say to the, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to me.’” (Matthew 25:40)
Additional Verses for Study: Galatians 1:6-10, 1 John 3:14, 4:17
- What happens when the believer stands before the judgment seat of Christ?
- In what four areas will we be judged? Give a short explanation of each area.