We receive many spiritual questions in our mailbox, among requests for Bibles and literature. How would you answer this question? “What is the reward of the saved?” This question comes to us from “Eliza” in Nigeria. She asks this question because she is not satisfied with the answers she is getting locally. Her introduction is as much of a challenge to us as the question itself.
“I think you will agree that we humans often jump to conclusions based upon pre-conceived ideas. And this is perhaps most evident in the area of religion. Many people simply accept the religion of their mother and father, never actually proving what the truth is. Even among professing Christians who own a Bible, most simply do not open it up and read what God has put there for us to know. Instead, they begin with fables and traditions of men and attempt to fit the scriptures into these pre-made and false concepts. So then, What is the Reward of the Saved? I hope you will do your best to help me get answers.”
Do these problems sound familiar? They are just as real in Nigeria as they are in Lancaster or Breezewood. In Nigeria, the popularity of the “prosperity Gospel” certainly confuses this issue. How should I answer this? Should I plumb the depths of my Bible knowledge, paraphrase it, and call it a day? No, I will put God’s Word first. Let us “open it up and read what God has put there for us to know.”
The answer, the reward of the saved, can be found in the parallel passages of Matthew 19:27-30, Mark 10:28-31, and Luke 18:28-30.
Matthew 19:27 KJV – “Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?”
Mark 10:29-31 KJV – “And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.”
There are two times that the saved will receive a reward:
After this life, we will inherit eternal life and unimaginable blessings (1 Cor. 2:9).
In this present life, those things that we leave for the sake of the gospel will be repaid many times over, with two notable exceptions. In the details provided by Matthew’s account, we are not promised one hundred times as many fathers or wives. In 1 Cor. 4:15, we are told that there is a shortage of “spiritual fathers.” Regarding one wife or many in this life, this passage is consistent with other passages that allow for only one, ‘till death do us part.’
But what about the other blessings? I don’t know of any Christians with hundreds of brethren and mothers. Do you? So what kind of brethren and mothers are these?
Mark 3:31-35 KJV – “There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.”
Your brethren and mothers are of the kingdom of God! Not of earthly dust and lust, but of the kingdom of God, led by His Spirit. That is the reward of the saved. What of houses and lands? Whose house? God’s house. Matthew 18:20 KJV – “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Anywhere. And lands? “The earth is the Lord’s,” and His kingdom has no earthly boundary. Everywhere. God will do what He wills, anywhere He wills. And we are called to spread the gospel everywhere.
We are also promised persecutions. Why? John 15:19 KJV – “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”
Much could be said of persecutions, but I hope that you’ll understand the rewards better now. The reward of the saved in this life is found in the kingdom of God. And because it is not an earthly kingdom, we will have persecutions and trials of our faith. Remember:
Matthew 6:19-21 KJV – “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
From the Mailroom with Eric Druist