The Bible teaches that rewards are available to the believer from God as recognition of that believer’s faithful service.
Some Christians question the existence of these rewards and others consider it selfish to even discuss them. In order to begin to clear up confusion and establish doctrine we need to identify the differences between the issue of eternal salvation and eternal rewards.
Four basic differences exist concerning salvation and rewards: God offers the lost salvation through faith in Christ.
1) God offers the believer rewards for faithful service.
2) Salvation is described as a free gift. Rewards are earned by works.
3) Salvation is a present possession now in time. Rewards will be possessed in the future and given at the Lord’s return.
4) Salvation can not be lost. Rewards can be lost.
From this list you can begin to see how people can get Bible verses about salvation and rewards confused and develop some of these false concepts:
A) Salvation is worked for or maintained by faithfulness
B) There is equality in heaven. Everyone receives rewards.
Our rewards will be determined by our actions on earth. It is possible to spend your life thinking you are serving the Lord only to find out you have few rewards. (1 Cor.3:15; 9:27) Receiving rewards is based on:
1) Pure or sincere motivation.
2) True and right actions.
To be sincere and pure in motive but to do the wrong thing equals zero. To do the right thing for the wrong reason brings the same, zero. Rewards are a matter of the heart and the head.
Rewards are based on knowledge of God’s will and a heart committed to that will. Rewards are distributed after a judgment before God. There are seven judgments recorded in scripture: 1—Believers from the church age,
2– Old Testament saints,
3—Martyrs of the Tribulation,
4—Jewish survivors of the Tribulation,
5– Gentile survivors of the Tribulation,
6—Satan and fallen angels,
7—The unsaved people of all time.
Romans 14:10-12 describes judgment for the church age believer: “For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. . So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.”
“Stand before” is a technical Greek term meaning to stand before a judge. The word “account” is the Greek word “logos” and means “a word or a rational expression.” We will not only be evaluated individually for our faithfulness, but we will also have to respond to the Lord with a rational expression of our lives.