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.”
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