A deception has been foisted upon the church. The deception says that all Christians are equal before the Father. They will all share the same resurrection, the same reward, the same destiny. This is entirely untrue. Many have confused the remission of sins, which is given freely and in the same measure to all who believe, with sanctification and reward.
Being born of the Spirit is a free gift. It is a gift given equally to all who trust in Christ Yahshua for the forgiveness of their sins. It matters not how long you have trusted in Him, nor how faithfully you have walked before Him. This salvation is a free gift to those who believe. This is the subject of the following parable of Christ.
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the market place; and to those he said, ‘You too go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ And so they went. Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did the same thing. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing; and he said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day long?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You too go into the vineyard.’ And when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last group to the first.’ And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each one received a denarius. And when those hired first came, they thought that they would receive more; and they also received each one a denarius. And when they received it, they grumbled at the landowner, saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day.’ But he answered and said to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go your way, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’ Thus the last shall be first, and the first last.”
The pay that all receive equally is the salvation of which we speak. Whether one lives his whole life in obedience to Christ, or whether one comes to trust Him while on his death bed, the pay is the same. Salvation belongs to the Lord and He can dispense it as He wishes. There is no basis for complaint concerning this.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.
In the area of reward, however, there is a great variation between what different believers will receive.
“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.”
Not all saints walk with the same degree of faithfulness and worthiness before the Father. Their reward will therefore be different. The apostle Paul tells us that each man’s work will be tested with fire. The quality, or worthiness, of each man’s work will be revealed.
I Corinthians 3:10-15
According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But let each man be careful how he builds upon it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Yahshua the Messiah. Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire.
It seems that Christians today have given little thought to the issue of reward. There are many who live carelessly, pursuing the things of the carnal nature. Many believe that salvation is enough, that having obtained it, there is nothing else that God requires of them. They therefore walk in oblivion, ignorant of God’s voice and His desire for them.
Consider again the parable of the stewards from Luke 12:42-48. The Lord indicates that there are some who will be found faithful and waiting. These are called blessed. Additionally, there are those who will say in their heart that the master delays and they will begin to carouse and act wickedly, mistreating others. These will be cut to pieces and assigned a portion with the unbelievers.
There is another group, however. This group is those who were ignorant of their master’s will. They did things worthy of a flogging, but they received fewer stripes because they were unaware of their master’s will.
Without a doubt, it is desirable to be among those who are faithful. It is better to receive praise and reward than a reprimand and stripes. Many will suffer loss, whether their disobedience springs from wicked carnality or ignorance of God’s will. As we will see, this loss extends even to whether the saints of God will be counted worthy to be among those who are called the Bride of Christ.
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