In many different verses the scriptures tell us that by the grace of God, Christians will be rewarded for seeking Jesus. What exactly does that mean or not mean. My hope is that as we search the scriptures for an answer we can be sure of what our reward is and when we shall receive it. Matthew 6:6
"But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you openly."
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does,
I see and hear these verses preached many times in sermons implying that God will reward us with earthly possessions if we do these things, robbing God's children of their true rewards.
For a moment lets look at the life of our Lord Jesus, the only begotten of the Father: Who said, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." He received no favor from this world nor was he lavished with any material possessions, as some desire. At 33 years of age he says "foxes have holes, but the Son of Man has no where to lay His head." Rejected by His family, Neighbors, His country and the world He created. Yes, the Lord Jesus came to be crucified and punished for our rebellion against God on the cross. Yet the life He lived was an example for us, to seek the things of God and not the things of this world. If anyone who ever lived should have been rewarded it would have been Jesus. Perfect in His Fathers eyes yet we see no earthly rewards given Him nor desired by Him.
What about the prophet Moses? Who gave up His material possessions for the reward of knowing Christ Jesus.Hebrews 11:26
Moses regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.
What about the Apostle Paul? Who gave up his place in Judaism to follow Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:22-27
What anyone else dares to boast about--I am speaking as a fool--I also dare to boast about. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham's descendants? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.
Stephen was declared by the scriptures to be a believer full of grace and truth. He was stoned to death for His obedience to the Lord Jesus. Where was his reward?
The early believers sold their property and possessions and brought the money and laid it at the feet of the Apostles to distribute among those who had needs.
If earthly things are our reward for following Jesus than these people sold their reward. So the question is what is our reward and when will we receive it?Colossians 3:24
since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Our inheritance in Christ is our reward which the Lord Jesus has declared that we who believe in Him have inherited eternal life, His Kingdom, and a new heaven and earth. We are co-heirs with Christ of the new creation. Jesus, Peter, John, Isaiah and many others proclaimed, the new heaven and the new earth that God will create is the inheritance of the saints. Jesus promised those who follow Him eternal life and a kingdom that will never end. Paul declared in various ways that we are not to seek the temporal things of this life but rather to seek the eternal things of God by faith in His promises.
If God's rewards were the things of this world than our rewards will be destroyed when Jesus returns and the things of this world perish. Jesus said to lay up treasure in heaven where it can not be destroyed. Peter said our inheritance in heaven is incorruptible. John said not to love this world or the things of this world because it is perishing. In revelation John declares that this heaven and earth will be destroyed and God will create a new heaven and earth and we who have overcome this world and followed Jesus will inherit God's new creation. Paul in Hebrews says the current heaven and earth shall be shaken once more meaning they will come to an end, but our eternal inheritance cannot be shaken or destroyed.
So when will we receive these rewards? As we can see the people previously mentioned who gave up everything to follow Jesus received nothing in this life, but they all died in faith, with the hope of something better in Christ.Matthew 16:27
For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to what he has done.
"The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great- and for destroying those who destroy the earth."
"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done."
Jesus second coming is when we will receive our reward. Death is swallowed up in victory at our resurrection into heaven. This is when we are given eternal bodies that will never die nor be corrupted by this world. Jesus says in that day when He comes in His Glory with His holy angels He will separate us unto Himself and take us to His kingdom in heaven which He is preparing for us as we speak.
Please do not confuse our eternal rewards with physical needs. Our Heavenly Father promised to meet our physical needs if we seek His Son with all our heart, mind and soul. Jesus said, seek first the kingdom and His righteousness, and all the physical needs will be provided. Do non-believers ask God to meet their physical needs? NO... As believers we should give thanks to our Lord Jesus for meeting our needs but we do not need to seek our needs. God knows that we need such and provides them even for non-believers who never thank Him or acknowledge His Son who came to save us from this world.1 Timothy 6:6-11
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
By the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus we have been redeemed from sin and by His grace we have been offered eternal rewards that will never see corruption, if we hold on to our faith in Jesus and seek the things He has promised us by faith we can truly be free from this world. Hebrews 10:35
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.Praise Jesus!!!