One of my favorite Bible teachers and minister, Alstair Begg, recently chastised us for being more concerned with our IRAs (Individual Retirement Accounts) than our IEAs (Individual Eternity Accounts). That brought to mind a WordBytes teaching I had written a few years ago. It still has relevancy for those who have “an ear to hear.” I hope you enjoy it.
“If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.” 1 Cor. 3:12-15 (NIV)
Net worth is a financial term used to describe the total value of all possessions minus all outstanding debt. It reflects what is earned for personal benefit. If we apply this financial term to spiritual things, eternal net worth is the value of one’s works that will be accounted to the believer for reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ. How comfortable are you with your eternal net worth? Here are some factors for consideration as you answer this question.
The Day will bring it to light. The Day refers to the time of the Judgment Seat of Christ or the Bema Seat (1 Cor. 3:13) where each believer may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done whether good or bad. (2 Cor. 5:10). It is appointed to man once to die and then the judgment. (Heb. 9:27) We will not be judge for our previous sins since Jesus Christ paid that price on Calvary. It is here where believers will receive their eternal rewards.
Fire will test the quality of each man’s work. At the Bema Seat, before issuance of eternal rewards there will be a “testing” of the worth of the believer’s completed works. The quality of the work is judged on its eternal value. Works of eternal value result in expansion and extension of God’s kingdom on earth. (Isaiah 61:1- 3)
If what he has built survives, there is reward. One of God’s moral qualities is justice. It is here where He will fairly evaluate not only the end result of the believer’s works but also the motives and the attitudes behind them. (Rom. 2:16) To receive reward, the believer’s work must pass the holy scrutiny of God’s evaluation. (1 Cor. 3:14)
If what he has built is burned, there is loss. The salvation of the believer will not be loss but how sad it will be for them to see their worthless works burn in the holy fire of God. They will leave God’s throne with no rewards. They will have no crowns to cast at the Savior’s feet. (Rev. 4:10)
Faith and action work together; faith without deeds is dead. (James 2:22-26) While our works are not redemptive in nature they do reflect our obedience and submission to God’s plan and purpose for our life. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field. (1 Cor. 3:9) What is your eternal net worth?