SALVATION AND REWARDS
The New Testament Scriptures contain a doctrine of salvation for the lost, and a doctrine of rewards for the faithful services of the saved; and it is of great importance to the right understanding of the Word that the student shall comprehend the distinction between these. What that distinction is may be seen by carefully noting the following contrasts:
1. Salvation Is a Free Gift.
Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give Me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water. John 4:10.
Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Isa. 55:1.
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. Rev. 22:17.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom. 6:23.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works lest any man should boast. Eph. 2:8, 9.
But in contrast with the freeness of salvation, note that,
And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward. Matt. 10:42.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness. 2 Tim. 4:7, 8.
And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. Rev. 22:12.
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 1 Cor 9:24, 25.
And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. Luke 19:17.
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man's work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 1 Cor. 3:11-15.
Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life Rev. 2:10.
[Not "life" - the Smyrna saints had this - but a "crown of life." Crowns are symbols of rewards - of distinctions earned. It may be remarked that four crowns are mentioned: that of joy, or rejoicing, the reward of ministry (Phil. 4:1; 1 Thess. 2:19); of righteousness, the reward of faithfulness in testimony (2 Tim. 4:8); of life, the reward of faithfulness under trial (James 1:12; Rev. 2:10); and of glory, the reward of faithfulness under suffering. (1 Peter 5:4; Heb. 2:9.)]
2. Salvation Is a Present Possession
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life. John 3:36.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth Him that sent Me, hath eternal life, and cometh not into judgment, but hath passed out of death into life. John 5:24. R.V.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. John 6:47.
Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace. 2 Tim. 1:9.
And He said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace. Luke 7:50.
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. Titus 3:5.
And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 1 John 5:11.
For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father, with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works. Matt. 16:27.
For thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. Luke 14:14.
And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be. Rev. 22:12.
And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. 1 Peter 5:4.
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day. 2 Tim. 4:8.
After a long time the Lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. Matt. 25:19.
God's purpose in promising to reward with heavenly and eternal honors the faithful service of His saints is to win them from the pursuit of earthly riches and pleasures, to sustain them in the fires of persecution, and to encourage them in the exercise of Christian virtues. See Heb. 11:8-10, 24-27; 12:2, 3; Luke 14:12, 14; Matt. 10:41, 42; Heb. 6:10; Col. 3:22-24; Matt. 5:11, 12; John 4:35, 36; Dan. 12:3; Luke 12:35-37; and 2 Tim. 4:8.
Finally, let us heed the warning. - Rev. 3:11.