My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.
There are two possible outcomes when we stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ. One possible outcome is rewards. Some Christians will receive rewards. Some people say, “That is not fair. Shouldn’t everybody be treated equally?” It does not work that way in Heaven. We are going to be rewarded for what we have done. In Revelation 22:12, Jesus said, “My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.” God cares what you and I do in this life.
The rewards we receive at the Judgment Seat of Christ are sometimes referred to in the Bible as crowns. There are at least five crowns the Bible talks about as possible rewards in Heaven.
First, there is the imperishable crown. This is the reward for living a spirit-filled, disciplined life. Paul mentioned it in 1 Corinthians 9:25: “Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.”
Second, there is the crown of exaltation, or the crown of rejoicing. This is a reward for those who have dedicated themselves to evangelism and discipleship. It is mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20: “For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? For you are our glory and joy.”
Third, there is the crown of righteousness. This is a reward for those who live obediently in anticipation of Christ’s return. In 2 Timothy 4:8, Paul talked about this crown: “In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
Fourth, there is the crown of life. This is a crown reserved for those who endure specific trials in life without denying Christ or giving up their faith. James 1:12 says, “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”
Fifth, there is the crown of glory. This is a crown that is reserved for pastors who lead their flocks in a way that is pleasing to God. In 1 Peter 5:4, Peter says, “When the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”
Some people believe these are literal crowns that we will wear. Others say we will cast them before the throne of God, as the 24 elders do in Revelation 4:10. But the fact is, people will have different experiences in Heaven. While we are all going to praise God for our salvation, that does not mean everybody’s experience is going to be the same in Heaven.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Will Heaven Be The Same For Everyone?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2016.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.lockman.org)