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IEA Devo 2021 SalvationandRewards • Becoming a Disciple-Maker

Salvation and Rewards – The Disciple-Making Lifestyle

“For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)


Part One

No one will ever deserve to live in heaven for eternity! This is a magnificent gift which cannot be earned but is appropriated by faith in God’s Son. In contrast, spiritual rewards only come to us through our personal surrender and seeking to do God’s will. Our good works (see Ephesians 2:10) take place naturally out of the overflow of our gifting and our love for God. Authentic Christian love motivates willing obedience! Contemplate the meaning of the Lord’s statement, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15)
Our Savior’s return draws nearer every day and when He arrives, our decisions made in compliance with His leadership, will definitely be – rewarded! We know this because He said, “Behold, I am coming … and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work.” (Revelation 22:12) Summarized, the Bible teaches us that in contrast with God’s free gift of salvation – described in Ephesians 2 – our heavenly rewards must be earned and actually deserved. In context, when the Bible uses the words, “…according to his works” (Matthew 16:27) it is always referring to our rewards – not our salvation!


Part Two


Not surprisingly, our first experience with spiritual obedience has little to do with what the world views – as work. The Lord Jesus gave work a new and much deeper spiritual meaning. Consider what He explained, “This is the work of God that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” (John 6:29) Faith is the only form of work that – enables us to experience God’s salvation!
Expressed simply, the first order of spiritual business on our journey is to discover God’s reality and believe what He says about His Son. John amplifies this truth with an encouraging explanation – “Yet to all who received Him [Jesus Christ], to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12).
Fortunately, for all of us, knowing the Lord Jesus has never depended on comprehending His holiness, nor has experiencing His grace depended on understanding His sinless nature. We are not even expected to grasp how the Father “overshadowed” Mary by His Spirit and caused the Christ-child’s virgin birth (see Luke 1:35). Salvation only requires that we personally rely on what our Savior openly did on our behalf. Our confession plays a central role in confirming our faith! The Bible says, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)


Part Three

Through universally God-given faith, a humble youth or an Oxford scholar have exactly the same access to heaven. The Bible explains, “…God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3) Everyone enjoys the same opportunity to experience God’s forgiveness. It should therefore come as no surprise that all believers also share the same privilege of earning future heavenly – rewards.  Jesus explained this saying, “…everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold…” (Matthew 19:29)
It is our personal reliance upon God’s written promises, amazingly fulfilled during the first advent of His Son – that opens the “doorway” to heaven. Across the centuries, our Father has graciously looked upon our faith as if it were our very own personal righteousness. This spiritual principal of substitution was explained by the Apostle Paul when he wrote, “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.” (Romans 4:3). Today, that very same exchange takes place when anyone personally accepts what God – says about His Son!


Part Four

As you prepare for ministry throughout the day, pause to quietly focus on God’s kingdom. Avoid continually dwelling on life’s many frustrating issues. The Bible says, “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33) Let your meditation be on God’s revealed purpose because His word is timelessly true. It has also proven to be fully personal. Everything He says is to be studied and applied. Through His life-giving grace, anyone can choose to have eternal life and enjoy His heavenly rewards! (John 3:36)
“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:11&12)

By Billie Hanks Jr.

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