Spiritual return in heaven
Our recent study on eternity has awakened a sensitivity in me as to how I spend my time and resources. Are the things I’m doing adding to the glory and honor of my King and His Kingdom? Or am I only concerned with what’s relevant to life right now?
Alstair Begg, noted preacher and theologian, added to my concern by questioning me (indirectly of course) as to whether I was more concerned with my IRAs (Individual Retirement Accounts) than my IEA (Individual Eternity Account). Do I have an eternal net worth?
Net Worth by any other name
Net worth is a financial term used to describe the total value of all possessions minus all outstanding debt. It reflects what we earn 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 our reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
What’s with the fire?
The Apostle Paul, in writing to the church of Corinth wanted them to be aware that the works done on earth would have a direct impact on the rewards they would later receive in heaven.
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)
The Day refers to the time of the Judgment Seat of Christ or the Bema Seat (1 Cor. 3:13). It is there where we will receive our reward for the things done in the body, whether good or bad. (2 Cor. 5:10).
As the writer of Hebrew stated: 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, however, where we will receive our eternal inheritance (1 Pet. 1:4,5).
A test by fire
At the Bema Seat, before issuance of eternal rewards there will be a “testing” of the worth of our completed works. The quality of our 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 we have built survives, there is reward. One of God’s moral qualities is justice. It is here where God will fairly evaluate, not only the end result of our work, but also the motives and the attitudes behind them (Rom. 2:16). To receive reward, our work must pass the holy scrutiny of God’s evaluation (1 Cor. 3:14).
Loss of rewards
If our works are burnt by the fire, we will suffer loss. Our salvation will not be loss but how sad it will be for us to see our worthless works burn in the holy fire of God. We will leave God’s throne with no rewards. We will have no crowns to cast at the Savior’s feet. (Rev. 4:10)
Our works, though not redemptive in nature, will however, reflect our obedience and submission to God’s plan and purpose for our life. Let us remember that we are God’s fellow workers and His field (1 Cor. 3:9). I leave you with this question. Are we creating worth for God’s kingdom? What is our spiritual net worth?