The Berean Expositor
Volume 45 - Page 10 of 251
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The Nature of Reward for Christian Service
pp. 178 - 180
The need to distinguish between salvation (the free gift of God) and reward or prize
has often been emphasized in our writings, and there is obviously a great difference
between living with Christ and reigning with Him. All believers will "live", but the
additional "reigning" is conditional upon their faithfulness and endurance.
A |
If we died with Him, we shall also live with Him.
| If we endure, we shall also reign with Him.
| If we deny Him, He also will deny us.
A |
If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful,
for He cannot deny Himself (II Tim. 2: 11-13).
Terms  "A"  "A"  deal with life given to those who have died with Christ (the
position of all believers, identified with Him in death and resurrection--cp. Rom. 6:).
It cannot be lost through the unfaithfulness of a believer, for that `life' depends upon His
faithfulness, not the believer's.
Terms  "B"  "B"  speak of something over and above ("also" verse 12) which is
earned by faithfulness and endurance. This is "reigning", but it will be denied to those
who deny Him by an unfaithful witness.
But what of the `nature' of the reward, and what does `reigning' imply? It may seem
at first rather fleshly for a believer to even contemplate gaining a reward for Christian
service, for however much is done for Him it can never repay what He has done for us,
let alone be deserving of a prize. The believer's attitude ought surely to be:
"We are servants and deserve no credit; we have only done our duty" (Luke 17: 10
If we yield our bodies as living sacrifices it is but our "reasonable service"
(Romans 12: 1), for we can surely do Him no favours?
Yet does Paul employ the figure of a race for the Christian walk, and at the end of it
stands the possibility of gaining a prize (I Cor. 9: 24-27; Phil. 3: 12-16; Heb. 12: 1, 2
and cp. Col. 2: 18). Even "Jesus" is looked upon as enduring the cross "for the joy that
was set before Him" (Heb. 12: 2). Was this the "mind in Christ Jesus"?
Also, it seems strange that Paul could exhort believers to be concerned with the things
of others in Phil. 2: and yet occupy his own attention with gaining a prize in the next