Eternal reward in the next age
Many if not most teachings today in the Church seem to focus on either seeking after God’s blessings and help in our lives on earth, or how to trust in God’s grace so that despite our persistent weaknesses and failures we are assured of eternal life. By contrast, relatively few contemporary teachings focus on how to receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of God.
2 Peter 1:10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
If our works for the Lord do not stand the test of fire at the Judgment Seat of Christ, they will be burned up. Consequently we will lose our eternal reward. We will “get into heaven by the skin of our teeth.”
Why should disciples of Jesus Christ be satisfied with that instead of receiving a rich welcome into the next age?
But isn’t God’s power made perfect in my weakness?
2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
We misunderstand what “weakness” refers to here. It does not refer to lack of faith or weakness of character in the apostle—rather anything but. Rather the context clearly focuses on Paul’s outward weaknesses in terms of physical deprivation and persecution as a result of his fruitful preaching of the gospel to the lost. That is proven by the very next verse in that chapter:
10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
“We confess we are prone to wander”
One contemporary song has lyrics which have us “confessing that we are prone to wander.” Thus we are encouraged to ask God to “keep us from falling.” But such songs emphasize weaknesses in our personal character which are not pleasing to the Lord. Instead of asking the Lord to keep us from falling, why not ask him to make us strong in faith and works resulting in “a rich welcome into the kingdom” for us?
1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
We are told to run the race in such a way as to win the prize—our eternal reward in the next age when Christ reigns. We are not encouraged to stumble and fall across the finish line with only our salvation intact. There are some like the thief on the cross who in his final moments on earth acknowledged Jesus who will fall into that category. But should we encourage it?
Acclaimed scientist predicts the end of the universe – as did Peter
2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.
Fox News: Stephen Hawking: ‘God particle’ could destroy the universe
Stephen Hawking … now has another dire prediction – the Higgs boson, or “God particle,” might destroy the universe. In a preface to a new book, Hawking describes his concern that if the particle became unstable, the “universe could undergo catastrophic vacuum decay,” according to the U.K.’s Sunday Times.
…According to Hawking, the vacuum decay “could expand at the speed of light” and that this could “happen at any time and we couldn’t see it coming.”
Interestingly, the Higgs boson is also called the “God particle.” Is Stephen Hawking echoing the words of the apostle Peter who warned us that the terrible day of the Lord will come like a thief?
But faithful and fruitful disciples who walk in holiness can look forward to that day. We will be determined to win the race like the racehorse Secretariat who in 1973 won the Triple Crown at Belmont by an astounding 31 lengths. Like Secretariat, we can win the race going away!
And we will hear from our Lord, “Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into the joy of your master.”
1 Peter 1:17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.
1 Timothy 4:16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Philippians 3:14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.