salvation and rewards

The Word for today:
1 Corinthians 10:1-11:1

mark this: 1 Corinthians 3:11-15
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 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 Corinthians is absolutely loaded with spiritual answers. At the same time, it raises just as many spiritual questions!

Stand in the Rain has been waiting for 1 Corinthians, because it’s the perfect place from which to launch a series of articles that will (we hope) sort out some of the Bible’s paradoxes.

Ten years ago, I stumbled across a reprint of the original (1909) Scofield Reference Bible. Printed in the back was a lengthy article called “Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth.”

As I read it, so many of scripture’s internal “contradictions” melted away. And so, leaning heavily on Scofield’s original, we present this abridgement to you. We hope, pray, and expect that some concepts which once seemed logically irreconcilable will start to make seamless sense!

***

The New Testament contains a doctrine of salvation for the lost, and a doctrine of rewards for the faithful services of the saved. It is critically important for the Bible student to comprehend the distinction between these doctrines. So carefully note the following contrasts:

1. Salvation is a free gift…

Jesus answered, “If you knew the gift of God, and who is saying to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would ask Him, and He would give you living water.” (John 4:10)

Come, everyone who is thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you without money,
come, buy, and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost! (Isaiah 55:1)

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

It is, remember, by grace and not by achievement that you are saved. It was nothing you could or did achieve – it was God’s gift to you. No one can pride himself upon earning the love of God. (Ephesians 2:8-9/Phillips)

…but rewards are earned by works:

And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward. (Matthew 10:42)

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
In the future, there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)

And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. (Revelation 22:12)

‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’ (Luke 19:17)

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 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 Corinthians 3:11-15)

2. Salvation is a present possession…

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him. (John 3:36)

I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. (John 5:24)

Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace. (2 Timothy 1:9)

And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace. (Luke 7:50)

He saved us– not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:5)

And this is the testimony: that God has given to us everlasting life, and this life is in His Son. (1 John 5:11)

…but rewards are a future attainment:

For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. (Matthew 16:27)

You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just. (Luke 14:14)

And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. (Revelation 22:12)

And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, you shall receive a never-fading crown of glory. (1 Peter 5:4)

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day. (2 Timothy 4:8)

After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. (Matthew 25:19)

***

So, let’s review these essential concepts:

1. Salvation is a free gift…
but rewards are earned by works.

2. Salvation is a present possession…
but rewards are a future attainment.

With these principles in mind, passages that once might have baffled us will now make perfect sense.

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About Stand in the Rain Blogger

Trying to be who God made me, I am wary of my influences. I avoid the culture that surrounds me, for the most part. I soaked up that crap for 40 years. I am trying to replace the word of the world with the unvarnished Word of God.** I like people, but I like solitude just as much. Go figure.** I adore Jesus Christ. I am flipped-out, flamingly and fervently in love with Him. I count it a privilege to draw breath in His universe. All my springs are in Him.** I am crazy about my wife, Shelley. She outshines the sun. I can't help it if I'm lucky.** My heroes are my kids--Caitlin, Gwenlyn, Frankie, & Eddy. I aspire to be like them when I grow up.
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