Salvation and Rewards: Part Two
There is a great difference between salvation and rewards, and it is just there that some Christian people get mixed. You boys and girls can understand from this lesson what it takes some people many years to learn. There are two great differences between salvation and rewards. The first is that salvation is free, and rewards are earned; the second is that salvation is obtained now and that rewards are for the future. You cannot do anything to deserve salvation.
You could work all your life long, and yet you could not earn it. The only way to be saved is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31; John 3:16). Over and over in the Bible we read that salvation is a gift (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9). If I gave you a nice Christmas present, you would not come to me and say, "Thank you for the gift. I have brought you a pound to pay for it.” If you paid for it, it would not be a gift any more. So you cannot pay for salvation. It is a gift, and if you tried to pay for it, it would not be a gift any more. All you can do is just to receive salvation freely. It is "not of works” (Ephesians 2:9). You are saved by what the Lord Jesus did when He died on the cross, not by anything that you can ever do.
Rewards are just the opposite of salvation. They are not a gift, but must be earned. Christians, that is, those who have been saved, may earn the rewards by the work they do for the Lord. Every time the Bible speaks of rewards it shows that the rewards are given for doing something. Do you remember some of those things?
So we can surely tell the difference between salvation and rewards in this, that salvation is a free gift, and that rewards are always earned by good works.
The other great difference between the two is that we have one of them now, but must wait till we get to Heaven for the other one. Which one do we have now? Salvation, of course. There are many verses that show that we have eternal life right now. (Look up 1 John 5:11; 2 Peter 1:3; Titus 3:4-5; 2 Timothy 1:9; John 3:36; John 5:24; John 6:47). Because we have eternal life now, we can say that we are saved, not that we will be saved when we get to Heaven.
We cannot have our rewards until we get to Heaven. They will be waiting for us then. Note that every one of the verses that speaks of rewards speaks of the future. It is not that we have rewards now, but we shall have them in the future. The verses speak of receiving rewards in Heaven, too, and that is not now, as we very well know (Read the following verses to see the future in each one: Matthew 10:41-42; Colossians 3:22-24; Matthew 5:11-12; Daniel 12:3; 2 Timothy 4:8.)
It is wonderful that we have our salvation now. It makes us very happy to know that we are saved, and can never be lost. And we can look forward happily, too, to the time when God will distribute the rewards to us in Heaven. What a day of rejoicing that will be if we have been faithful and have earned rewards which we can receive at that great day. We must be diligent now, however, and never forget that it is in these days that we earn the rewards. When we get to Heaven it will be too late.
- How is salvation free if I didn't do anything to deserve it?
- What is the difference between a gift and a reward?
- Why must the Christian wait for his reward if he is saved now?