Contributed by our dear friend, John
In my day-to-day discussions with professing believers, I have found several that have never even heard of the doctrine of rewards (the Judgment Seat of Christ). When I have tried to explain the concept to them, responses have ranged from mild skepticism (“why haven’t I ever heard of this”) to outright rejection (“that doesn’t sound right”).
The doctrine of rewards is clearly taught throughout scripture, including in 1 Corinthians 3:8-15:
Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. 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. 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.
Following are the top ten reasons I can think of as to why someone might object to the doctrine of rewards:
- Ignorance – most churches don’t teach it.
- Disbelief in the doctrine of Grace – the doctrine of rewards is in direct conflict with Lordship “salvation.”
- Disbelief in eternal security – works must be done to stay saved.
- Disbelief in the doctrine of assurance – works are viewed as either the primary or supplemental basis of assurance.
- Belief in the Calvinistic tenets of “irresistible grace” and “perseverance of the saints.”
- Belief that good works are automatic in the life of the believer.
- Misunderstanding of the two natures of the believer.
- Confusing the judgment seat of Christ with the Great White Throne judgment or the Sheep and Goats judgment.
- Belief in a social gospel – the thought of differential rewards for believers may offend the sensibilities of someone with a socialist perspective.
- Confusion between scriptural passages dealing with the gift of eternal life vs. rewards for faithfulness – belief that heaven is the reward (see number 2).
From Clear Gospel Campaign:
“We believe that history unmistakably demonstrates that the lack of a clear understanding of the doctrine of the Judgment Seat of Christ leaves a theological vacuum on the question of human works and divine judgment, and that this vacuum is invariably filled by a corruption of the gospel of grace with some form of salvation by Christ-plus-works. Accordingly, we believe that the teaching and preaching of the judgment seat of Christ, although not in any way part of the gospel message, is nevertheless essential to the preservation of the purity of the gospel message.”
Eternal Life Free For You <click
RAS – praise God and congratulations for the job, and I pray the Lord will send the right people to train and help you as you work as unto Him. May they see something different in you.
When I had 4 little ones (37 mos. and younger), I went from an art dealer to learning to do cad/cam programming for our ‘machine shop’. My husband was a machinest, but I knew NOTHING and I mean looking at an X-Y-Z axis, huh? And I had to learn the CAD program out of the book, while taking care of babies, art brokering, then learn tool offsets, types of tools, materials, and center drilling, how deep you could go with certain tools on certain materials, all while taking care of the babies and trying to work on the phone and computer at the same time. Many times, I just cried, (not suggesting that for you lol), I was too stupid to learn this, no way, it was not my strength AT ALL. I was NOT happy, but I prayed a whole lot and took a paragraph and read it over and over again, and learned simple things. I would read up on definitions outside of the book when I didn’t understand, then do it over and highlight and underline, and try and fail and try and fail…. there was nothing in the software to tie in the machines (I had no idea what a CNC milling machine was) to the computer CAM (computer aided movement) program. Then I didn’t know what feed rates were etc., what a MESS. Many times I ‘rapid-ed’ across the part (I also had no idea what that meant) except if I had seen it, it meant the tool when flying off the part and machine and ruined the material 🙂
But it’s sort of like the Word of God, you need the right teacher, the right attitude, and a willingness to learn or unlearn things and re-learn the right way and just keep getting up when you fall down. I don’t know why I segueyed off into all that, but just to encourage you, I know you can do it! One little thing at a time with His help. Pray and keep your eyes on Him! Once again congratulations!
Since coming to this site, I have mentally linked John and the Gospel.
I mean to link in conversation the mental link was immediate. So hard to talk
Thank you John, that means a lot too. The woman’s name is the Spanish word for light “Luz”. The guy running the machine line I was on his name is Jesus. Incredible signs to me to overcome 90 decibels and earplugs to link Jesus and Light. My mind (and ears) was hummin.
RAS, great story, great illustration!
Congrats on the new job.
I started a new job this week, I needed one badly, God provided. The job is blue collar (assembly line) which fits me because I am also blue collar. New jobs can cause anxiety…can I keep up, will I be bored out of my mind, who are these people and all that stuff. Today was my third day and the first two I got very little training or feedback. This is my first real factory job with the ear plugs, hard hat and safety glasses and all that (btw how do they expect to properly train you on the job when the job requires earplugs?…can barely hear a thing between the machine drone ad earplugs).
The point of my comment is that today I was paired with an incredibly energetic Latina woman who knows the job very well. She told me more than once that for my first week I did I great job. It meant a lot to me. “Well done” from her (especially with earplugs and loud machines) is not exactly “well done good and faith servant” from the Lord and if the feeling of hearing “well done” from a person I don’t even know for a job of little consequence how much more “well done good and faith servant”. People mock rewards as “meritocracy” I just don’t see it that way…now more than ever.
Phil, I think so too.
I think it is good to discuss rewards for the saved believer. I believe after Christ comes for the dead and living saints at the rapture we will receive awards and crowns for our good works. As we look forward to Heaven, we should go through each day striving to do what we can in thankfulness for His grace allowing the Spirit to work through us. It may be just the little ordinary things of everyday life that might not seem significant, but to God our everyday lives and those little things–even routine things–are important because we are important to Him and we will be with Him forever. Our rewards at the Judgement Seat of Christ can be both for heroics and just the ordinary things in everyday life. We all want to hear, “well done.”
Oh interesting RAS. I had quite an unpleasant conversation with Slick when I was on a certain group and he came in to trouble people. I was straightforward but used the Word and asked some questions also about his daughter (having gone into atheism) and related Jack’s story being brought up in Calvinism sending him into atheism. Let’s just say he was not very kind after, but he showed his colors to the hearers hopefully.
The famous Calvinist I spoke of thought he was clever but he was only Slick if you know what I mean.
RAS – sigh… The famous arrogant chuckle. I think on how Voddie Bauchum was going through Romans 9-11, years ago someone sent it to me to listen to. I’ve learned to FF to the end, or 3/4 of the way, because once they have their audience hooked in and roped into a little pasture, they often come right out with it. His thing was he didn’t love Israel and pray for them because THEY were Israel (the church). Ironically even if that were true, he made it known he didn’t love the church even though they replaced Israel 🙂
Good article: I hadn’t see this one yet.
I believe that the “Covenant of Grace” lens causes conflation of the Bema Seat and the GWT just as it makes the Biblical covenants to be one covenant, the Church to be “Spiritual Israel” and the gift to be a reward.
I was recently directed to a video of a famous Calvinist who used 2 Corinthians 5:14 to “prove” limited atonement. His reasoning went like this— “who’s the first ‘all’ in the verse? Same as the second ‘all’ right? Are you saying unbelievers died with Christ? Can’t be, the ‘all’ is the elect only” —Whoever he was speaking to was silent and this famous Calvinist began to gloat and laugh “you’ve got nothing…nothing… (chuckle chuckle)”.
Both men ignored v10 which tells me neither of them has a place for rewards in their system.
I think that so many churches skip over the Bema seat for believers which is a shame. This is a good article for understanding why Calvinists and loadship churches don’t really preach on it. I know that Rick Warren’s church, if you look it up and search his site the word rapture will not come up one time (at least the last several times). And you can search the gospel, it’s the same thing, it’s not about how to receive the free gift of eternal life. Even search Revelation (Warren calls it us being so ‘heavenly minded’ that we’re ‘no earthly good’). Search tribulation, millennium etc., it will not be there. Search for your ‘purpose’ there will be lots of articles…
Understanding the end times is important, not only for explaining how the church gets from point A to point B etc., but for understanding future prophecy and how it WILL play out. Believers are raised, bad or fleshly works burnt and left behind, only gold remaining, we receive our new bodies, (how it exactly works, not sure — how quick we stand at the judgment seat with so many of us, not a clue, might just be simultaneous or beyond my thinking, I don’t know if I see that explanation in Scripture). But then there is point B heaven, with raptured and risen from the dead believers in Heaven during the tribulation, and then point C, riding down with Him at the end of the tribulation and then the elect (Israel the physical living remnant — how I understand it right now anyways), is gathered from the four winds of the earth back to Jerusalem.
None of the reformed would likely agree with most of this, and I remember asking one if they were raptured at the end of time, then who was repopulating the earth during the Millennial kingdom, he could not answer. He was not one who believed we are already in the Millennium (which baffles me they somehow see Satan bound with mankind getting more evil by the day, and spiritualize 1000 years to mean something different)…
cristopher, welcome and thanks for your comment.
We believe that the Bible teaches differential rewards for believers at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Also, the rapture may be a description of an event, which, if so, would be the evacuation of the church prior to the Great Tribulation.
im new here…
i believed the coming reward but on the basis of his grace not of our duty..
i believed rapture not as an event but a description of an event. (1 Thes.4)
Godbless us all
I think the bible through out scripture does in fact show Gods children being raptured before tribulation.
All though it doesn’t say that like the word rapture is not in the bible but many scriptures are that talk about it. 1Thess 4:17
So through out the bible there is type and shadow just as there was type and shadow.
The bible when it talks of end times brings up as the world being like the days of Noah.
1. Lot and his family who where delivered by God before the destruction of Sodom
2. Noah and his family who where delivered before the world was flooded and destroyed
I think these point to God rescuing His children before destruction came, they did live in times of peril and sin and trail as we do and will.
Just my thought God bless
Hey, I know the comments were closed, but I had an “aha” moment and so I am only discussing Scripture, so I hope this will be o.k. (If not, do not post it, it will fine with me)
My thoughts have always been when those who have believed that the seals being opened are not judgment when all judgment and all execution of judgment is committed to Christ. And I believe Jesus is the Judge standing at the door spoken of in James and seen in Rev. 4. But the “aha” was this portion of Bruce’s Scripture, starting with vs. 15 (there are others that say we come with Him) but this part struck me from his commentary below, about “to judge all the ungodly….”
Jude 14 [Oldest prophecy in the Bible—pre-flood]: “Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: ‘See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15 to judge all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way,” Rev. 19:1-14:
“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.”
Then it also came to me (for those many times who say it’s angels riding with Him), nope, because we judge the world….the ungodly… the angels…
Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? I Cor 6:2a)
Sorry, if it’s just something little, or if it seemed like I wasn’t honoring the discussion being closed.
I have loved studying the many aspects in Scripture which show that there is a pre-trib rapture, just tons and tons of Scriptures, love it! And I love it when someone shares theirs and it spurs another thought, and another Scripture comes to mind. Thank you.
In Jesus Christ, Jack
Sue and all,
I am genuinely thankful for this blog and its participants. It and you all are a true blessing! Most of all, thank God for His wonderful, wondrous free grace!
You are consistently a blessing to us here at ExP.
God bless you and your family!
I have noticed that a false view of eschatology causes a ‘domino’ affect across ALL doctrine. A serious failing is the confusing of Scripture, such as Matt24, intended for physical Israel and the Millennium Kingdom on earth, is falsely claimed for Christ’s Body/Bride, the Church which is ‘heavenly’. The Church is NOT promised a Land at all. For this reason. I consider it a serious error to accept anything other than the Pre-mill and Pre-Trib stance while making a clear distinction between Israel and The Church.
The doctrine of rewards and crowns are brought into doubt by any other view. My Emergent son has said the Church is not judged, so if that’s the case, there can be no resulting rewards for works done in the Holy Spirit during sanctification. Scripture meshes together as one consistent whole and that teaching defies God given consistency.
To clarify, I understand it to be a serious error to excuse any false doctrine. Eschatology changed, changes everything into confusion.
I have tried to write this graciously, to be factual without causing unnecessary offence. Please forgive me if I have failed. May God bless you Matt.
[Editorial note: the topic of Pre Trib vs. Post Trib is officially closed please. See Expreacherman.com for comment rules]
I think the Reformed view of enabling is a bit different then the free grace view. This can be seen when man’s so called “total inability” comes into play and their system then makes God have to do things for them such as grant regeneration then the gifts of repentance and faith. I don’t see how Augustine’s quote is far off from that kind of idea. There are also other outside of Reformed theology who hold to this kind of view regarding works in the life of a believer. Some will say that it is Christ that essentially lives His life through us and doing His works for us in a sense.
Thoroughly enjoyed reading, and I too came too late to clarify that I am fully prepared to leave imminently, and to comfort you all with those words 🙂
Hey Bruce, I love how you tied in the Bema seat with the crowns on the elders which were the redeemed from every tongue tribe and nation. Some good reading here, sure was a nice end to just my reading of the evening, to see what you all were doing. God bless you all…
why are my coments not posted?
[Please see Expreacherman.com “Comment Rules.” The editors and advisors at Expreacherman.com have closed this topic for discussion.]
To clarify, I was merely stating the post-trib VIEW and some of its reasoning even though it might ultimately be historically and doctrinally erroneous. The main point of my discussion regarding rapture timing was that I BELIEVE that people can have reasonable differences in eschatology and still agree on essential doctrine of FREE grace. I agree this matter should be closed.
So basically the doctrine of rewards doesn’t square with the sovereign ultra-deterministic view of God that some Reformed and or Calvinists put forth. It is really makes sense that Reformed theology is indeed something else altogether. I wonder why people like to cozy up to it as much as they do. Much of their whole system is flawed and twists the meaning out of scripture in far more ways than just at the gospel level. I guess it is like a house on a sand foundation. The whole thing is suspect and headed for collapse. Sadly much of the so called church today is built upon and around the wrong foundation.
By the way, thanks to Tom Cucuzza for the last phrase in my last post. In his booklet “The Permanence of Salvation”, Tom wrote the following:
“And so the truth becomes clear. If a person is not saved by performance, then whether he lives faithfully or not has no bearing on whether he will go to Heaven. Yes, of course, the believer ought to be faithful, but that is not the issue in salvation. Your salvation is totally dependent on GOD’S faithfulness–not yours. If you are depending on your good works to get you to Heaven, then you are trusting in your faithfulness for your salvation. If you are struggling to “hang on”, you do not understand that Biblical salvation is a gift. It is not something to be achieved, but rather it is something to be received by faith.”
Jim, I can think of at least three reasons why the doctrine of rewards is in conflict with LS.
The first is along the lines of what you said – that faith, and it’s resulting works, both come from God. Therefore, there is nothing rewardable.
Second, LS folks often believe that good works automatically result from someone becoming a believer. If that were the case, there would be nothing rewardable, as works were merely the automatic by-product of being a believer.
Last, LS proponents often confuse words like “prize” and “reward” with words like “grace” and “gift”, because they think that salvation is achieved, not received.
Jim, that is the reformed (really, the augustinian) view of rewards. Since they maintain that nothing good can ever be done even after salvation, then the person is a robot in coming to salvation and living after salvation.
Which makes one wonder why the reformed position would harp so much on whether the person is “living up to the right standard” or not. Consistency of view is not a strong point of reformed theology.
“So basically one way Reformed theology views good works is that they are enabled (done) by God.”
13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
Done by God? No. Enabled? Yes.
It looks like there is one possible reason. I just found this quote from someone, “However, rewards are simply, as Augustine has stated, “God crowning His own achievements”. If all our righteous acts are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), even our best deeds are tainted with impure motives and sinful desires. Rewards should motivate us only to the extent that we recognize that God will be glorified in the thing that earned the reward, because He ordained and enabled it.”
So basically one way Reformed theology views good works is that they are enabled (done) by God. I thought regeneration before faith and faith being the gift of God was bad enough. I guess it just stands to reason that some continue that thought out through the life of the believer – that is essentially made out to be the life of a puppet.
I am curious to know if there are any other reasons for point 2.
I think it would be intersting to discuss John’s point number two. “Disbelief in the doctrine of Grace – the doctrine of rewards is in direct conflict with Lordship “salvation.””
I have often wondered exactly how the doctrine of rewards (Bema Seat) conflicts with Lordship salvation. There has to be something more to it than just differnce between covenant and dispensational systems. I mean why is it really that Lordship proponents dislike the idea of the Bema Seat rewards?
Thanks for your comment with which I agree. I see you wrote your comment before my request was posted.
As I mentioned, this discussion of Pre-Post Trib is closed.
In Jesus Christ eternally,Jack
Thanks for your comment — with which I agree in principle.
I know you sent your comment before I posted my answer to Matt, however, as I mentioned to him:
Henceforth, please, the discussion of Pre-Post Trib is CLOSED.
Otherwise, everyone is welcome to discuss John’s article outside of the Pre-Post Trib Rapture topic.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Well, I AM dogmatic based on Scripture and not influenced by Pre-Trib writings.
Your use of the word “alleged“in the “chain of influence:…” bothers me and infers doubt or suspicion or maybe; “I don’t want to commit myself to that statement.”
You said, “Such parallelism to a reader not influenced by pre-trib rapture writings, can reasonably conclude that the rapture of believers and second coming of Christ happen in the same time period.”
In that theory, what time period separates the Rapture and Second Coming; days, months years, decades?? Pure speculation. There is NO comfort in that philosophy! The Seven year Tribulation separates the Rapture from the Second Coming. I will quote John from a previous comment:
I agree with John and do not believe the difference between Pre and the false Post-Trib to be inconsequential in any way, but vital to the proper study and understanding of Biblical eschatology.
This discussion has becoming non-productive therefore, please, this topic of Pre-Trib vs Post-Trib is CLOSED.
I am interested in the source of your quote:
Is this quote referring to the Roman Catholic Church? Matt, please communicate this information to me personally via my email address. Thanks.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
I have read the Church fathers and they were confused between pre, post and partial. Their main goal in The Holy Spirit was to make sure of the Doctrines of Salvation and the Trinity be established .
A man called Dave MacPherson, who is a charlatan, has made a lot of money selling his books falsely by accusing Darby of getting the Pretrib from a young girl Margaret MacDonald. Yet there is no mention of a pre-trib rapture in MM, so called ‘prophecy’. It is a garbled muddle claiming Post and Partial Rapture, not Pre-trib anywhere. Darby’s only link with the young girl was to rebuke her for her nonsensical prophetic utterances. The final prophetic utterance was Jesus giving John the Revelation. All mimics are adding to God’s written word and forbidden – it is apostacy. Darby has been treated very badly by the Postie fabrication.
What is very apparent is that the Apostles were all expecting Jesus to return for them imminently.
The plentiful use of personal pronouns makes that very clear, One such example of this is in 1Thes4:15 “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that WE which are ALIVE and REMAIN unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.” Paul included himself to be alive when Jesus comes. Look at all the Rapture verses, personal pronouns of WE, US, OUR, makes it abundantly clear that the Early Church was definitely expecting Jesus to return for THEM, still alive and looking for His return.
Matt, your arguments are all water under the bridge, they are scurrilous and have been show to be false over and over and over again.
Matt, please receive this in love. 🙂 It is ironic that you are saying that a position about the timing of the rapture, cannot be a dogmatic position. Yet you are very dogmatic about the supposed history of what everyone might have believed at each period of time. You say with dogmatic sureness that the “early post apostolic church practiced post-tribulation premilleniallism”. How can you be so sure that is true? It sounds like an assertion from a book somewhere. And if the book is not the Bible, what makes you so dogmatic about its truthfulness as a statement?
Same with the supposed history of those that held the pre-trib view over time. Who is to say if your outline of the history of the pre-trib view, is true at all or not?
This is why again the Bible must trump supposed history. Supposed history is in the hands of man. You are relaying to the board here, things you got from a supposed history lesson/book. But what if they are not true at all? You must certainly consider that possibility, that they’re not true at all.
So then we are left only with that which the Lord intended in the first place. We have to read Scripture alone, right now and right where we are (sans supposed history), and determine from Scripture alone, what is true and what should be the content of our faith (Romans 10:17). Supposed history can’t be elevated to that level. Otherwise then we are falling into the “church fathers” error, just of a different flavor.
Regarding the timing of the rapture, I believe one should not be overly dogmatic. The theology is complex unlike the simple message of FREE GRACE eternal salvation.
The early post apostolic church practiced post-tribulation premilleniallism.
Follow the pre-tribulation alleged chain of influence: The Catholic Jesuit priest Ribera’s PRE-tribulation rapture writings influenced the Jesuit priest Lacunza (writing under the assumed name of Rabbi Ben Ezra, supposedly a born-again Jew in 1812). Lacunza influenced Irving (a leading figure of the Catholic Apostolic Church of England, who translated Lacunza’s book into English in 1827). Irving influenced Darby (a Calvinist). Darby influenced Scofield (who produced a widely circulated (millions of copies) Scofield Reference Bible and VERY influential in the evangelical movement. Scofield and Darby influenced D.L. Moody. Moody influenced the Pentecostal Movement.
Notice the parallelism of the following sections of scripture:
 “IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE TRIBULATION of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING on the CLOUDS of HEAVEN with power and great glory.  “And He will send His ANGELS with a great sound of a TRUMPET, and they will gather TOGETHER His elect from the FOUR WINDS, from one end of heaven to the other.
1ST THESSALONIANS 4:15-17:
 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive [and] remain until the COMING of THE LORD will by no means precede those who are asleep.  For the Lord Himself will descend from HEAVEN with a shout, with the voice of an ARCHANGEL, and with the TRUMPET of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the CLOUDS to meet the Lord in THE AIR. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
Such parallelism to a reader not influenced by pre-trib rapture writings, can reasonably conclude that the rapture of believers and second coming of Christ happen in the same time period.
In 2 Peter 3:10-13, the “Day of the Lord” coming is as a “thief in the night”. This idea of IMMINENCE, according to the post-tribulation view, only applies to the wicked and the spiritually unprepared people that are still alive before the Return of Christ.
In summary, while I presently lean toward a pre-tribulation rapture, I am not dogmatic about it.
I’m seeing how LS is used as the path to Rome, it is a road to roman catholicism. Rick Warren and John Piper (both strongly LS), both said they applaud the new choice for pope of roman catholicism, which is the most pervasive force of LS in the world.
Thanks Matt for the expounding of those truths.
THANK YOU for your prayers. It is nearly four o’clock, hours after my request. The Lord has mercifully lifted me to new hope. That is the answer to this suffering, keep hoping for our future in Him and Christ’s imminent return.
To alleviate insomnia, I use earphones to listen to my Bible Study through Dr. Robert Dean. For some reason I decided to change my course onto the most recent teaching on Sunday last.
Glory, until it was playing, I had no idea it was on ‘my’ Romans 8:28, the very verse I cling to. I had also forgotten to take my ‘sleeper’ meaning I just had to hear the message cos I couldn’t sleep. Now I am so strengthened in my spirit that God IS in control and He WILL get us through, whole and complete, and better than ever, especially if Jesus comes imminently.
“… “Hope” is an absolute, a guarantee without a doubt. It is the Greek word “elpis” meaning “to expect or anticipate with pleasure…”
“…The Hope of Heaven is not a maybe — but an absolute and definite guarantee by the Word of the Truth of the Gospel…”
‘Hope’, will make a difference to our rewards as it aids us in our Faith to take God completely at His Word to become Son’s.
Thank you Jack
Maranatha and Praise The Lord!
Thanks for your comment. However I disagree with your statement, “One can easily favor a premillennial, POST-tribulation rapture, and be FREE GRACE as well.”
That is not based on scripture and seems a tad wishy-washy. I understand you are Pre-Trib so you and I agree — but it seems unlikely that an ardent free Grace student of the Bible could “easily favor a premillennial, POST-tribulation rapture and still be FREE GRACE as well.”
John’s excellent statement about the immanency of the Rapture precludes any idea of the Rapture after a seven year long Tribulation.
Bruce’s discussion from Scripture should be sufficient to convince even the most ardent Post Tribber.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Paolo, you said: “i think you are wrong by labeling people who hold to the post trib rapture as being calvinists or lordship salvationists”
My comment: most of the LS people I know believe in the pre-tribulation rapture. My article did not mention belief in a post-tribulation rapture as one of the reasons someone might object to the doctrine of rewards. I was simply agreeing with Jim that someone who hold a post-tribulation view of the rapture might object to the doctrine of rewards, primarily because their mistaken view of the sequence of events in the end times might cause them to fail to distinguish between the various judgments.
The imminence of the rapture precludes it being a post-tribulation event. The rapture can occur at any moment. If the tribulation were a prerequisite to the rapture, then the rapture could not be imminent.
I agree with the “Statement of Faith” from this website, which states:
“We believe in the personal, pre-tribulational and pre-millennial return of our Savior, The Lord Jesus Christ. This return of Christ at the Rapture (taking away) for His Church (every believer in Jesus Christ) occurs just prior to the Tribulation Period on earth. I Thessalonians 5:9-11; I Thessalonians 1:10; II Thessalonians 2:1-8; Revelation 3:10; Luke 21:36; Titus 2:13; Isaiah 26:17-21; Isaiah 27-1; Revelation 4:4.”
Sue, I have prayed for you and your family.
I don’t accept the outer-darkness theories either. Imo, Christ’s Bride will function together as a whole. Some will have greater qualifications for works than others. A dustbin (trash can?) isn’t a vessel of honour, but it still has a task to perform to keep a household working well; so I have been wondering if these Scriptures describe the Church functioning in eternity? This seems to be faithful believers as gold and silver vessels and the carnal functioning in more primitive roles or lesser positions, but together make up the healthy whole Body of Christ in eternity.
2Tim2:19Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
20. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
21. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, [and] prepared unto every good work…
I really appreciate hearing about the rewards. It seems surreal to most believers who know about them but don’t realise they are the result of the judgment of believers WORKS. The Bema Seat and the rewards are sorely neglected because it suits the enemy to keep the Church in the dark as long as he can imo. Once I came to that knowledge, it made such a difference to my blessed hope and what follows.
May I take this chance to ask for prayer for me and my family; ‘things’ keep getting worse. I am believing Romans 8:28 but my health is not good. I realise there is a reward in this for me somewhere Praise The Lord.
Excellent Pre-Trib defence. I didn’t think I could be blessed with anymore Biblical proof that the Rapture, when Jesus comes for His Bride, is BEFORE the 70th Week, the time of JACOB’S Trouble (Israel) can begin. There is absolutely and totally NO Biblical evidence whatsoever of the Postie theory unless you take Matthew 24:31 (which concerns saved Israel) way out of context = a pretext. I have done battle royal with Posties over that for muddling Israel with The Church. The Mid-trib theory is just strange.
When Jesus returns to the earth, ALL the unrighteous will be slain at His coming, and all the living believers will go into the Millennium and repopulate Israel and the nations. IF the Rapture is AFTER – that means ALL believers will be changed to immortal in the twinkling of an eye.1Cor15:52 There would be no living believers left to repopulate earth if all the wicked are slain and all remaining believers are changed to become the Bride??? The Church will be like the Angels not marrying and not having babies so they won’t be able to oblige.
John14:2,3 Has Jesus coming for us and taking us UP to heaven, not down to earth. 1Thess4:17 confirms it’s UP into the air to be with The Lord in heaven where He is.
Titus 2:13 tells us present tense to look for His coming called the blessed HOPE. Posties are fibbing if they aren’t fearful of first trying to survive 7 years of cosmic disasters; there is no hope in waiting for that lot to come first.
We, the Church, are already citizens of heaven seated in heavenly places from where we are looking for Christ. Eph2:6; Phil3:20. We are more than half-way there already I reckon!
Premillennial believers disagree about the timing of the rapture. While I tend to favor a pre-tribulation rapture, there are also strong arguments asseted for the post-tribulation rapture. One can easily favor a premillennial, POST-tribulation rapture, and be FREE GRACE as well.
Provocative catchy rapture quotes:
“Pray for the Pre and prepare for the Post.”
“Be prayed up, packed up, and ready to be picked up.”
Regarding REWARDS, here’s a helpful outline:
Being a gift, I am NOT saved BY good works before or after salvation. Rather, I am saved FOR good works. God desires good works. We “should” produce works (Ephesians 2:10; Titus 3:8). They provide a profitable and “visible” witness to other people (James 2:14-26; Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 2:12). God urges us to do so (Romans 12:1-2). Good works which will be rewarded (1 Corinthians 3:8; Colossians 3:24; 2 John 1:8). Lack of works does, however, produce a loss, but not a loss of eternal salvation (which is a free gift), rather a loss of profitable rewards (1 Corinthians 3:12-15, 2 Corinthians 5:10).
So true Pearl, that “Millennial Exclusion” theory is the worst I’ve seen yet I believe. Insightful comment also about it only producing works from fear, and never love.
That’s really surprising to me, that so many are ignorant of the Bema seat judgment; but then again, I wasn’t caught up in reformed theology.
Then there is the teaching that at the Bema seat, carnal Christians shall be banished during the millenial reign into outer darkness (the protestants’ purgatory if you will), and the “overcomers” shall reign with Christ. That horrific teaching can only trigger works stemming from fear, never love, as well as produce a life of ghastly misery.
Hello Paolo. Thanks for writing. My response comes from a class that I taught in Eschatology a few years ago. I apologize in advance for its being lengthy, but you made such a blanket statement about the rapture that I felt needed to be responded to.
Evidences for a Pre-tribulational Rapture:
· Revelation 4: Verse 1-2: “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it [Christ]. V. 4: Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty four elders [picture of the church in heaven]. Notice: you will not see the church mentioned in chapters 6-18, the Tribulation period. In chapter 5, you see the church already in heaven before the Tribulation begins in chapter 6. Then you don’t see the church mentioned again until chapter 19, again, pictured as the multitude in heaven shouting “Hallelujah!” to the Lord.
V. 10: The twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: [The believers have already appeared before the judgment seat (bema) of Christ—2 Cor. 5:10; sadly, some won’t receive any or many crowns—1 Cor. 3:12-15] 11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” What crowns? A. Ornate ones [a description, not a type of crown] (“like jewels in a crown,” Zech. 9:16); B. Crown of Rejoicing (1 Thes. 2:19); C. Crown of Righteousness (2 Tim. 4:8: for Paul and all who have longed for Christ’s appearing); D. Crown of Life, for those who have persevered under trial because of their love for Christ (James 1:12); E. Unfading Crown of Glory for faithful church leaders (1 Peter 5:4); F. Crown of Life [Martyr’s Crown] for believers faithful to Christ even to the point of death (Rev. 2:10); G. A Crown that needs to be held on to (“I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown” Rev. 3:11; cf. 1 Cor. 3:14-15).
· Revelation 3:10: “Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from [Greek, ek, meaning “out of”] the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.”
· 1 Thes. 1:10: “and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from [again, ek, “out of”] the coming wrath.
· 1 Thes. 5:9 in the context of vv. 1-3 (the Lord’s coming as a thief in the night): “For God did not appoint us [Christians] to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” [Note: John uses the same term for “wrath,” orges, to speak of God’s wrath outpoured in the tribulation: Rev. 6:16, 17; 11:18; 16:19; 19:15].
· 1 Thes. 4:16: “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up [harpazo, meaning, “snatch, seize, i.e., take suddenly and vehemently;” the Latin translation (Vulgate) is raeptius (also rapio, rapiere, or rapturo) from which we get our English rapture”] with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.
· How will the Lord return? Bodily in the clouds. See Acts 1:9-11: “After he had said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.’ ” cf. Luke 24:39
· Who will come with the Lord at his return?? 1 Thes. 3:13: “May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when the Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. Jude 14 [Oldest prophecy in the Bible—pre-flood]: “Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: ‘See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15 to judge all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way,” Rev. 19:1-14: “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.”
· 2 Thes. 2:3: “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs [KJV “falling away comes first;” Grk. apostasia, whose root meaning is “to lead away,” or “to depart from”] and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.
· 2 Thes. 2:7-8: “For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way [“He” refers to the church, the true believers, who are taken out of the way at the rapture; “he” is not the Holy Spirit for the Holy Spirit being God will never be taken away]. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.
· Why is there a necessity for an interval between the Rapture of the Church [immediately prior to the tribulation] and the Second Coming of Christ [at the end of the tribulation]??
A. There must be time for the judgment of the Saints and rewarding of the crowns.
B. The readying of the Bride of the Lamb—Rev. 19.
C. There must be an interval of time for many to get saved during the Tribulation and to go into the millennium in non-glorified bodies; if all the righteous are glorified before the Millennium and all the wicked excluded from the kingdom, who populates the Millennium?
D. There must be a interval of time between the rapture of the Saints and their return back to earth; otherwise, what is the purpose or logic of having a rapture at all?
E. Also, the destination points are different: the destination of the Rapture is heaven; the destination of the Second Coming is earth.
· 1 Corinthians 15:51-52: “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will all be changed.”
· John 14:1:1-4: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Welcome to you Jerry, and greetings to your wife!
We appreciate your insights from the perspective of a former “insider.” I hadn’t heard the term “Seven-point Calvinist” before, but it seems to be an apt description of the “New” or “Neo” Calvinist movement. Yes, I agree that the hard-core Calvinist consistently views the Bible through skewed Calvinist filters.
Thanks again for dropping in. Do come back again.
Thanks Bruce for that understanding.Believers are not perfect, but some sins disqualify us from any kind of service. Even the most mature men and women of faith can become a “castaway”—unfit to serve— by yielding to the desires of the flesh.
i think you are wrong by labeling people who hold to the post trib rapture as being calvinists or lordship salvationists
i myself am a defender of the gospel of grace as you are, but came, after a long study to the conclusion, that the pre trib rapture theory is wrong and unbiblical.
there is absolutly no biblical evidence that our Lord comes to rapture his church before the start of the seven years tribulation and no evidence whatsoever that the tribulation period is the day of the Lord or His time of judgement upon unbelievers.
i absolutly agree with you about the rewards God has prepared for his people
My wife and I were 7 pt. Calvinists for over 25 years. That’s right. We believed everything taught by Reformed theology, plus the teachings of John Piper and John MacArthur, hence the two extra points.
I can’t speak for all Calvinists or those whom God has helped out of this theological quagmire but the list is missing an important fact. It is absolutely impossible to ignore the doctrine of rewards when the believer is persuaded of the literal, grammatical, historical method of interpretation otherwise known as the consistently literal method. (I call it the great corrective.) When I tell people that I’ve come to understand and read the scriptures this way, it’s because God has performed “vision correction” on me. I can now see the teachings of scripture clearly whereas before, it was a muddy mess. Now I’m able to distinguish literal statements from the figurative and symbolic. The Calvinist is either unwilling or unable to submit to this model because it is a threat to their “branded theology”.
You are wise to affirm the eternal security of the believer (John 10:27-30; Romans 8:37-39)—the Bible clearly teaches it. Keeping that in mind, Paul has to be referring to the issue of rewards given out at the Bema Judgment of believers (2 Cor. 5:10). In context, 1 Cor. 9:27 speaks of running a race, one of Paul’s favorite metaphors for living out the Christian life. Paul likens his life to a runner who should work hard and train well to win the prize. Can a Christian be disqualified for the prize? Yes, if you are referring to rewards, NOT salvation; 1 Cor. 3:10-15 affirms this. 2 John 8 warns believers, “Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.” Yes, a Christian could lose some of his or her rewards at the Bema Seat judgment. Solomon, for one Bible example, undoubtedly a believer, slid into idolatry toward the end of his life. Could this have caused him to lose some of his potential rewards at the Bema Judgment one day? God only knows.
Thanks for the question.
Can someone elaborate on 1 Cor 9:27. Is Paul here referring to being disqualified for rewards.This verse is very troubling and am battling to get a clear understanding of it with regards to rewards. I know and believe that the Apostle Paul firmly taught in eternal security so what is he meaning here? Thanks.
Jim, that’s a great point regarding the post-trib view. The lack of understanding of dispensational theology is another contributing factor.
I wonder also if some don’t reject the judgment seat idea because they also reject the rapture and take a post-trib sort of view. Some Reformed Calvinists say there will be no rapture and that we should be looking for the second coming and the kingdom. Seems to me that you are right in that many Calvinists that I have met have been light on the teaching about rewards/crowns in heaven and heavy on trying to prove our salvation by our works.
I have found that the LS position, in all its flavors, basically teaches that “every verse in the Bible is about salvation”. When you get right down to it, they really do believe that absurd position.