Protecting Our Heavenly Rewards

Protecting Our Heavenly Rewards

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

Not only does obeying God protect us from consequences in this life, but obedience also protects us from the loss of rewards in heaven. A. J. Gordon has written, “I cannot think of a final divine judgment which shall assign the same rank in glory, the same degree of joy, to a lazy, indolent and unfruitful Christian as to an ardent, devoted, self-denying Christian.” One of the greatest misconceptions Christians have about heaven is that it is going to be the same for everyone. It is not. The Bible says there are degrees of heaven dependent upon our faithfulness to Christ in this life. In 2 Corinthians 5:10 Paul wrote, “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.” Our entrance to heaven is secured by the blood of Jesus Christ, but our enjoyment of heaven is dependent upon our faithfulness to Christ in this life.

When Disneyland first opened up, you could not ride everything as many times as you wanted to. Instead, you would buy a little booklet of tickets that allowed you to ride a certain number of rides. Within the basic booklet, I remember there were quite a few tickets for the rides nobody wanted to ride, like the merry-go-round. But you only got one or two tickets for those super-duper thrilling attractions that everybody wanted to ride. Everybody who bought that basic booklet was excited to be in the happiest place on earth. But those who were willing to buy more tickets enjoyed a little more happiness than everybody else in the park.

Heaven is going to be like that. The Bible says that when we get into heaven, we are all going to be thrilled to be there, but some people will enjoy heaven more than others. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 3:14-15, “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 so as through fire.” If your life is built upon things that count for eternity, you are going to receive a reward. If you have spent your life eking out as much pleasure as you can, your work is going to be deemed worthless in God’s eyes. Yes, you will be saved, but you are going to suffer real, measurable loss. You see, Satan cannot rob you of your place in heaven, so he wants to keep you from enjoying heaven to the fullest. There is going to be regret among some Christians in heaven as they see what could have been theirs had they been more obedient to Christ in this life. But here is the good news: you do not have to enter heaven with any regrets, because there is time right now to make a change in your life. There is time right now to say, “God, I want to start obeying You. I want to put on that breastplate of righteousness so that I have no regrets when I meet You one day.” Obedience to God prevents the loss of future rewards.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Stopping The Barbarian At The Gate” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.

A. J. Gordon, as quoted in Erwin W. Lutzer, “Your Eternal Reward” (Chicago: Moody, 2015), 18.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org;