The Irony of Performancism

28 Aug


We are commanded in Scripture to “be separate.” We are admonished to live holy lives. We are called out of darkness to walk in light and in love. These are all found in the Bible and should not be ignored. When God gives a command, He expects complete obedience. If we are not careful, though, we can begin to worship the life-style more than the Life-Giver. It is when our pursuit of personal holy living becomes the center of our spiritual lives, that we fall into the idolatry of performancism and self-worship.

“Pride is at the root of performance Christianity. Pride drives performancism. It puts me at the center of my life and my identity gets wrapped up in my performance. My sanctification takes center stage in performancism and I start to think that my sanctification is the focus of the Christian life. In performancism, I find my identity and worth in myself and how I’m doing at any given moment, instead of in God. In performance Christianity, my sanctification is at the center of my Christian experience.Building my identity and sense of worth on my performance and sanctification instead of on Jesus and his grace, is idolatry. It’s putting something other than Jesus at the center of my life and finding my identity there. It’s allowing my performance to measure me instead of resting in the finished work of Jesus in my place. It’s turning John the Baptist’s words on their head and insisting instead that “I must increase” (John 3:30). Performancism is prideful self-idolatry.”

When our eyes get focused on us instead of on Christ, we begin to “turn in upon ourselves” as Luther described. This is often an attractive idol to us because it looks like consecration. We can find our glory in how close to Jesus we can walk. What this invariably leads to is pride when we succeed or despair when we fail. But the ramifications of building idols in our own image don’t stop there. In fact, our stunted sanctification may be the least of the tragedies.

Every false religion of the world is centered on self. Whether it is a Buddhist depriving himself to find enlightenment or a Mormon living more and more like God so that they can one day be a god, religion always centers on what I must do or not do. This was true in Jesus’ day. The Pharisees and Sadducees were the religious leaders, and they taught strict adherence to the Law as the way to God. Of all the encounters with Jesus in the Bible, no one is treated as harshly as theses religious men. Jesus message was different. It was not “do” but “done!” Christianity is the opposite of self-reliance or self-worship; it is all about Christ-Dependence. Jesus said, “I am THE way” (emphasis mine). In the Gospels, we see Jesus fellowship and eat with Harlots, Thieves, and the lowest of men. He treated them with love and grace. It was only the self-reliant for whom He showed little patience.

The truth is, when we turn Christianity into the idolatry of self, we liken it to every other religion and crush Gospel advancement.  This is the true irony of Performancism; In trying to be separate from the world and its false religions, we have become identical, and have removed the appeal of true Christianity – Christ.

Remember, When presented with the fruit, Eve initially had no interest. But, when Satan said that she could be “like God”, she partook. There are many do’s and don’ts in the Bible, but all of them boil down to a choice; self, or Christ? Choose Christ!

22 Responses to “The Irony of Performancism”

  1. matthew September 16, 2012 at 1:37 AM #

    Sounds like an excuse to get away with sin. What does the Bible have to say?

    Jas 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
    Jas 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
    Jas 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
    Jas 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
    Jas 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
    Jas 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
    Jas 1:7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
    Jas 1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
    Jas 1:9 Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:
    Jas 1:10 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.
    Jas 1:11 For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.
    * Jas 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
    *Jas 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
    *Jas 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
    *Jas 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
    ***Jas 1:16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.
    Jas 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
    Jas 1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
    Jas 1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
    Jas 1:20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
    *Jas 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
    Jas 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
    Jas 1:23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
    Jas 1:24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
    Jas 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
    *Jas 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.
    *Jas 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, **and to keep himself unspotted from the world. **

    • Josh Savage September 17, 2012 at 10:08 AM #


      Thanks for the comment! It was definitely not my intent to use this article to excuse sinful behavior. I will, however, admit to being an amateur writer, and am open to critique. What did the article say that led you to say, “Sounds like an excuse to get away with sin.”? What phrasing could I change/make clearer in the article? Thanks again for your input!

      • matthew September 20, 2012 at 2:40 AM #

        Performanced Based Matthew 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

  2. Mary Gardner Martin September 20, 2012 at 8:10 AM #

    Matt, you are somewhat younger than me but maybe you can remember being taught a “fill in the blanks” principle in Sunday school (which came from several Bible verses). Christ didn’t come to destroy the law, He came to (fill in the blank) *fulfill* it. That principle seems to be one (like election) where people can get caught on the definitions of other people and end up spinning on a strawman rather than on an actual, articulated position drawn from the Bible.
    When the positions are actually articulated, usually they are not too terribly far apart. When my Calvinist (not hyperCalvinist) friends explain their interpretation of election, I always see that they are not the enemy many perceive them to be. They have some shades of difference, but are not diametrically our opposite on how God elects. Not at all.
    The same in the law vs. grace “conversation,” I think.
    We will be having this conversation on here a lot, though, and I am glad you are staying tuned and getting your voice involved. We need that.
    Today’s post gives some more information. Also, “Grace is Better” gives an example that I like to remember. How did Jesus fulfill the law? By going well beyond it, so far beyond it that no one could ever dream of keeping it, except through Him and His grace.
    The law said “forgive three times.” Peter thought *he* could go beyond the law in his own strength and he offered seven times. Jesus set that on its ear with *seventy times seven.* Unlimited forgiveness, the way we have been forgiven. Such grace!
    Hang in there with us, Matt–we are going to have some good subjects come up and we will be circling back to some good ones we have already hit.
    Maybe you can be a guest writer for us one of these times??? Take care and kiss those baby girls of yours for me!

  3. matthew September 21, 2012 at 12:56 AM #

    Salvation is not performance based, but our rewards when we get to Heaven ARE performance based:
    Mat 6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
    Mat 6:2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
    Mat 6:3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
    Mat 6:4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
    Mat 6:5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
    Mat 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
    Mat 6:16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
    Mat 6:17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
    Mat 6:18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
    Mat 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
    Mat 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
    Mat 6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
    Mat 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
    Rev 2:10 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.
    1Pe 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
    1Pe 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
    1Pe 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
    1Co 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
    1Co 9:25 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.
    1Co 9:26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
    1Co 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
    1Co 3:7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
    1Co 3:8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
    1Co 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.
    1Co 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
    1Co 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
    1Co 3:12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
    1Co 3:13 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.
    1Co 3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
    1Co 3:15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
    1Co 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
    1Co 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

    Where did this law vs. grace controversy come from? Tullian T.?

    • Mary Gardner Martin September 21, 2012 at 7:13 AM #

      Matt, I think I understand what you are trying to say, but I need to check. Is the issue that, if we say the Holy Spirit is, say, 99.9% responsible for our good works, then it is unfair for God to reward some people more than others on Judgment Day? Is it the same way that people object to too much Calvinism because it makes salvation 99.9% about the Holy Spirit, too, and makes it seem unfair that some get saved and others don’t? I will admit that the Holy Spirit’s work is one of those huge mysteries that I don’t think anyone will be able to fully describe till eternity, perhaps not even then. I think that the extreme elements of Calvinism and Arminianism both do it violence in thinking they can use finite words to sum up the work of an infinite God. Yet Romans makes it very clear that God (the potter) has the right to “love Jacob and hate Esau” or to use Pharaoh as an object lesson for all of human history. I don’t get that, but I accept it because He is God and I am not . . .
      Is the objection to Tullian Tchividjian because he is Presbyterian/Calvinist, too? I am reading a couple of his works and find them very God-honoring. I do that in the same way I fellowship with a couple of my friends who are Calvinist. We just emphasize the Lord we have in common.

      • Mary Gardner Martin September 21, 2012 at 7:18 AM #

        By the way, one reason I read a lot of Presbyterians is that Presbyterians write a lot of scholarly, well-researched books on the Bible (they use the Greek and Hebrew meanings of words, etc.). Pastor knows that I often wonder why we Baptists don’t do that more. If there were more scholarly works by Baptists, I would accept them with open arms. Instead, we most often just use our forums to bash Calvinism. We don’t write books about how dispensational theology results in praise and worship to God, just books that bash the beliefs of others. I think it is not acceptable to be known for this, and it is something we need to change. Thus the impetus for this blog. I think you sense that it is about honoring our Baptist traditions but suggesting that some of them could be made stronger. And you are right.

  4. Josh Savage September 21, 2012 at 9:24 AM #

    Because I am pressed for time today I wanted to excerpt a piece by Tony Warren on the subject of rewards in Heaven. Read it and let me know your perspective. (Full Article –

    Surely, some things are hard to be understood, but the seeking of rewards for our works on earth is borne of carnality. It’s what kept the Jewish people (in part) from understanding true Grace. To not look at ourselves for what we are, but to think highly of ourselves is not a virtue, but pride. The truth is much more simple than visions of self respect. We deserve no profit, we are responsible for no increase, we merit no crown, God alone deserves the glory, and will receive it. What then would we be rewarded for? Only for what Christ has done ‘for’ us. This truth delineated in the Words of our Saviour:

    Luke 17:10

    “So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do”.

    For “this” is the truth. We are unprofitable servants. We have done nothing worthy of any merit. We have done nothing worthy of the glorious reward that God has in store for us. We have worked nothing which would garner any profit! Indeed we ‘are’ unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do. We have done what God ‘Himself’ has moved us to do. This is the humility so present in the Apostles which so many Christians of our day seem to lack. Humility and the certain ‘God Given’ nobility to receive what the scriptures say about the true condition and nature of man. When we take this humble attitude, then are we in fellowship with God, and are assured that we are on the right track. When we start dreaming about our ‘own’ good works, and what rewards we’ll merit, we are in a place where no Christian should be. A prideful, arrogant, vain, unbiblical place. The merit system is antithetical to Christianity except it be in Christ. It is contradictory to all that the Bible declares concerning our works. The Lord God alone should have all the credit, praise, and Glory in heaven for the increase.

    Those who claim Christians will receive rewards in heaven for imperfect “good” works are deluding themselves. While they insist the works are necessary to prove the genuineness of professed faith, but are not required for earning heaven, they fail to understand that works are an evidence of genuineness of professed faith, not a proof of it. I’m sorry to say I believe the whole doctrine is contrived and contradictory. As in saying that post-justification works have sin in them, and yet also saying that they still can merit reward because the guilt of sin has been removed. But what they fail to address is that if the guilt of sin is removed, the works are then ‘perfect.’ So how could one’s work merit more than another, when they are both perfect? It is vain and circular reasoning in confusion and contradiction, because it’s not true.

    We all need to grasp the true concept of the word “Grace.” The ‘basic’ definition of Grace is ‘unmerited favor of God’ upon us. But indeed that is really far too simplistic. UNMERITED favor of God just doesn’t get the whole story across. We should understand that if we merit it, it cannot be Grace, it’s a debt. All these scriptures presented are not untrue, nor taken out of context, nor abused. And if they are not, then we cannot merit rewards. If rewards are by works, then God says it’s not Grace. I didn’t say that, God said that. So then, let God be true and every man a liar. It cannot be both Grace and Works except our Grace be in the work of Christ.

    Romans 11:6

    “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work”.

    God says we cannot have it both ways. If we merit it by works, then it’s not Grace. And if it’s by Grace, then we cannot merit it by works. Need He say more? It’s not a riddle and it’s not ambiguous and it’s not written in symbolic language. It’s clear and unmistakable. It’s confusion to say we are on the merit system for our labours, and then say we are on the Grace system. If we get a reward for working, then it’s not Grace, but a debt that God owes us for work. Because “GRACE” is unmerited favor of God because of the work of Christ. So man can talk about our good works and how the merit system works all day long, but God Himself is very clear on the matter. Even though many cannot see it. His truth doesn’t depend on man recognizing it, it is still true whether man agrees with it or not.

    Do we have such a hope and expectation as the glorious picture God paints of the Kingdom, and our reward there? Do we expect to enter the Kingdom and be crowned with everlasting glory by the Grace of God through the blood of the Lamb? If so, let us cast aside all notions of merited rewards and crowns given out dependant upon labour. Let us worship God in the doctrines of true Grace and works by motivation of the Holy Spirit, not of crowns of Glory.

    Romans 12:3

    “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”

    Any faith we have more than another is because God dealt that measure to us, and not because of ourselves. Any work we do greater than any other is because God worked within us more than another. We deserve no rewards, no merit, no crowns that we may boast, for it is all of God. Rather than ask ‘what rewards we shall get,’ we should ask, ‘what does God will for us to do.’ And when we have done it say, ‘we are unprofitable servants.’ Abandon pride and as the certain poor widow who threw in two mites, surrender ‘all’ to our Lord. Everlasting Life is all the reward we need. As in the parables of the talents and pounds, we have a stewardship to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom. Let us pray that we will stand before our Lord and be rewarded on the basis of Christ’s faithful works, that we may also hear our Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” In this we can Glory.

    • Josh Savage September 21, 2012 at 9:26 AM #

      The original article is long and chocked full of scripture. If you have the time, it is worth the read!

      • Mary Gardner Martin September 21, 2012 at 1:12 PM #

        Matt and Josh, I am going to throw a flag on the play at this point and say that I think you are both using cut-and-paste to talk past each other. I can’t tell in either case what you are really trying to say. Matt, it is great to bring the relevant Scriptures to bear, because all three of us are looking to interpret the Word of God accurately, but the only thing that was from you was the statement that there will be a judgment for rewards in heaven. I Corinthians 3 lays that out beyond dispute. Was that the only thing you were trying to say or is there more?

  5. Mary Gardner Martin September 21, 2012 at 1:17 PM #

    You see, I could cut-and-paste the entire Bible as the response to anything anyone wrote and it would be completely correct (the Word of God is always true). But . . . it is hard to figure out what someone is trying to emphasize when they quote an entire body of Scripture. There is obviously something in your mind you are trying to get across but I don’t think you drew the lines from the Scriptures to that point you wanted to make, except that there will someday be a judgment for rewards. I Corinthians 3 says that. I think we may not all agree on all the details of how that judgment will transpire (and God has not told us a lot about it, so some of it is still a mystery), but we all have to agree there will be one.

  6. Mary Gardner Martin September 21, 2012 at 1:24 PM #

    Now, Josh, I can’t tell whether you agree with the man you cut-and-pasted or not. So your point remains murky, too. He almost goes to the extreme of implying there will be no I Corinthians 3 judgment for rewards. If he means that, he is wrong. I don’t think anyone, dispensationalist or Covenant theologian, disputes I Corinthians 3 as a real event. We can differ about the Holy Spirit’s role in our good works but we can’t differ on the fact that God will judge our works at that judgment. This is where I refer to mystery. Somehow God is almost totally responsible for my salvation and for the good works He has foreordained for me to do (Ephesians 2:10) yet I get to reap the reality of everlasting life and the rewards for any of my works that don’t burn up at the judgment. Can I explain why God has chosen me to be the beneficiary of such largesse? No. Do I believe it is mine? Yes. Am I better than someone who is sent to hell or someone who gets fewer rewards? No, not really. The article is right about humility. The minute I start to think I am all that and more, I lose . . . (probably the rewards, too).

  7. Mary Gardner Martin September 21, 2012 at 1:27 PM #

    I know you can’t tell tone in e-mail. This is very gently stated, all of what I just said. I tried to put smileys in, but WordPress took them out. I love this discussion, I really do.

  8. Josh Savage September 21, 2012 at 2:20 PM #

    The point that I took from the article is not that there will be no rewards, rather that the rewards we receive will be of grace, not merit. This may seem to get a little abstract, but bear with me: Our works are all of Christ. When we are able to faithfully labor for the Lord, even the ability to do so is a gift from God, purchased by Christ. Our works, minus Christ are worthless. So, any reward we get for such works will not be of our own merit and owed to us, rather will be of Christ and a gift of grace. I Cor. 3:7 states that our part in service is nothing. God is the One doing the actual work.

    So, should we work for Christ? Of Course? Should we love what He loves and hate what He hates? Yes! Should we live our lives holy in the sight of God and man? Absolutely! The purpose of my post was never to say these things don’t matter; only to warn against making them the crux of our Christianity.

  9. Mary Gardner Martin September 21, 2012 at 2:48 PM #

    Understand. I agree that Ephesians 2:10 seems to say God has already determined, from eternity, what good works each of us will do. So it is more getting with His program than anything we can do on our own!!!

  10. Mary Gardner Martin September 21, 2012 at 2:50 PM #

    Here is a question to toss out there. The article you pasted seemed to have another flaw, IMNSHO (ha!). I don’t believe competition, by itself, is evil. It can be, in context, but I don’t think it is inherently so. And so the parables of the talents, with 10/5/1 talent being parcelled out for the servants to see how they could do with them intrigues me. I have a pretty healthy competitive spirit for a girl. And I believe God has built even more of that into most men. I think we negate that at our peril.

  11. Mary Gardner Martin September 21, 2012 at 2:53 PM #

    And again, this is a very great mystery, how God can use our efforts to work for Him while having ordained those very efforts since before the world began. So we are a team with Him somehow but can still feel the urge to excel, always knowing that the excellence comes from Him, not from us. I believe He will explain all that to us someday.

  12. Josh Savage September 21, 2012 at 3:08 PM #

    What you are saying sounds fine, except that I do not believe that competitiveness has any place in service. I think it can only be carnal. By carnal, I do not mean sinful, only “not spiritual.” The Olympics has lots of competitiveness and while they are not evil, they are performed for prestige, fame, notoriety, etc. This idea is borne out, I believe, in the passage you referenced from Matthew 25. While the servants received different resources, they were rewarded evenly. Pass or Fail; Joy of the Lord or outer darkness. It would seem by the context of the passage both preceding and following that this is referring to Justification in the day of Judgement rather than heavenly reward.

    • Mary Gardner Martin September 21, 2012 at 3:31 PM #

      There is another parable in which the rewards are different. Even to the extent of a different number of cities being awarded to someone for his governance. It is not something I can explain, which is why I keep referring to mysteries, but it is there in the Word. I don’t think there is any place for pride. I don’t think there is any place for showy (false) humility. I just think that God, who made us, knows that we are competitive because He built that part into us. Don’t ask me to explain it (smile). I don’ t think it is a competition for awards in the traditional sense of competition. But I don’t think competition is thrown out of the window either.

      • Josh Savage September 21, 2012 at 3:34 PM #

        So how do I know if I’m winning? 🙂

  13. Mary Gardner Martin September 21, 2012 at 5:21 PM #

    Josh, LOL! I am going to take a guess that it might be in partnering with God in the “unknowingness.” Meaning, having the attitude, “Lord, You and I are going to work together to advance Your Kingdom in this world and . . . I might be first or I might be last, but the fact is that You are my very great reward (as He once said to Abraham, “I am your reward”). So however this goes, it is going to be a wonderful experience and we are going to try to bring as many people to salvation, and maturity in salvation, as is possible in one lifetime. I trust You, Lord, for the results or for any rewards You see fit to give me.”
    For a man, with much natural competitiveness, that kind of attitude would be a beautiful balm of Gilead on everyone around him.

  14. matthew September 22, 2012 at 12:54 AM #

    2Ti 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
    2Ti 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

    1. The crown of righteousness is a performance based award.
    2. How to claim reward: answer is in vs. 7 and end of vs. 8

    1Co 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
    1Co 9:25 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.
    1Co 9:26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
    1. The incorruptible crown is a performance based award.
    2. Vs. 24 implies that if we aren’t running, we definitely won’t obtain.
    3. Vs. 25 Every man that striveth for the mastery (prize) is temperate (self-controlled) in all things. I know several Christians who lack self-control; according to vs. 25, they are not temperate, therefore, they will not receive.
    4. Paul’s motivation here was to obtain an incorruptible crown…

    Jas 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

    1. Crown of Life (also martyr’s crown) is a performance based award.
    2. He that endures temptation shall receive the crown of life.
    3. The Lord has promised the crown of life to them that love Him.
    a. How do you love God? Glad you asked!
    b. Joh 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
    Spoken to Philip
    c. Joh 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
    Joh 14:22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?
    Joh 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
    Joh 14:24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

    1Th 2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
    1Th 2:20 For ye are our glory and joy.
    1. Physical crown? I don’t know
    2. The ‘Crown of Rejoicing’ (also known as soul-winners crown) is implied to be/be because of the believers that they had won to Christ
    3. But either way, work was involved to witness
    4. I know several Christians who aren’t willing to spend the time or energy to tell others about Christ; therefore, they won’t have a crown of rejoicing
    5. The crown of rejoicing is a performance based crown

    1Pe 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
    1Pe 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
    1Pe 5:3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
    1Pe 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
    1Pe 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
    1Pe 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

    1. Spoken to the elders
    2. Vs. 2-3 tell how to obtain a crown of glory
    3. Crown of Glory is a performance based reward.
    4. Added bonus for this passage (still speaking to elders):
    a. God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble
    b. Humble yourselves therefore [why?]
    c. That He may exalt you in due time
    d. By humbling yourself (performance), He will exalt you

    Rev 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
    Rev 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
    Rev 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
    Rev 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
    Rev 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
    Rev 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
    Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
    Rev 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
    Rev 3:22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
    1. Written to believers
    2. Vs. 21 To him that overcometh (conquer/prevail) will I grant to sit with Me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne.
    That’s sounds like a reward based on performance to me.
    3. To those (Christians) who aren’t motivated to serve Christ… vs. 16 & 19

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