There are No T-ball Awards in Heaven (Hint: God Doesn’t Give Us All the Same Trophy)
I Corinthians 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. 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.”
This morning I wrote about my curiosity when I think of the Bema Judgment of Christ, which Christians will attend when we get to heaven someday.
I wanted to clarify my post further because I concluded it with the idea that I can trust our Sovereign God to be a Righteous Judge. And I can stop myself from being overly curious about the judgment because it is in His hands.
I didn’t want to leave the impression that He hasn’t told us anything about that judgment. I never want to represent it as ishy-squishy. It is not going to be like a t-ball match between five year old children in which every child is given a trophy that is exactly like all the others, just for showing up at the games.
There will be real rewards and real differences in classification between rewards. Some people will not get a reward at all. I may not be able to explain all of this, because God has not told us all the details in advance, but it is still a real future event.
In fact, God told us upfront, in the I Corinthians passage above, what the criteria for His Judgment will be. He will judge us to see whether the works we performed in His name were lasting and eternal or whether they were superficial.
With that in mind, I can make some pretty distinct conclusions about that judgment. Even being a finite human being, I have a pretty good idea of what superficial means. We may do superficial works in Christ’s name accidentally, because we don’t know better, or we may do them intentionally. Either way, those works will burn when they are tried by fire.
And we will still be saved, in spite of them, which is awesome news.
On the other hand, there will be Christians whose works will endure the trial by fire. Those will be the Christians who truly did their work with eternity in view, led and enabled by the Holy Spirit.
Also, there will be reputations that are resurrected at that judgment.
I am not sure how this will work, because everyone at that judgment will be a Christian, with our sins all under the blood of Christ.
Yet, those who particular sins involved falsely ruining the reputations of others will find . . . that the persons whom they criticized so viciously in this world are up there receiving rewards and accolades from Christ Himself.
Kind of embarrassing to be the person who made up stories, eh? Especially when you are surrounded by the people who heard them when you did it. And they too can hear Jesus praising the person you represented as being diabolical. Not cool!
The fact that Jesus told us there will be such a judgment should motivate us to live in holy awe of Him, as the Righteous Judge. Even without knowing all of the details, we need to trust Him in all of this and live with eternity, and His face at that Judgment, in view.
He will be worth it all. He already is!