Q: #89. What rewards will believers receive at the Judgment Seat Of Christ?
A: The Bible doesn’t really seem to make it clear exactly what our rewards will be, or how many things we can be rewarded for. I do believe the Bible teaches that it will be for how we lived our lives in faithfulness to Him, as well as, our works and deeds that we did during our time on Earth.
(1 Cor 3:8) Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own REWARD ACCORDING TO HIS LABOUR.
(Rev 22:12) And behold, I come quickly; and my REWARD is with me, to give every man according as his WORK shall be.
(Mt 16:27) For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels: and then he shall REWARD every man according to his WORKS.
(1 Cor 3:12-15) Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; (13) every man’s WORK shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s WORK of what sort it is. (14) If any man’s WORK abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a REWARD. (15) If any man’s WORK shall be burnt, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
(Caps emphasis mine) (Also see: 2 Cor 5:10, Rev 2:23, Ps 62:12)
The Bible gives us a number of examples of the kinds of works and deeds we can do to earn these rewards.
(Lk 6:35) But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great…
(Lk 14:12-14) Then said he also to him that bade (invited) him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither they kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence (repayment) be made thee. (13) But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: (14) and thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense (repay) thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
(Mt 5:11-12) Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. (12) Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven…
(Col 3:23-24) and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; (24) knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
(1 Tim 6:18-19)(NASB) Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, (19) storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future (KJV: time to come)…
(Mt 10:41-42) He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. (42) And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall no wise lose his reward. (Also see: Mk 9:41)
(Mt 19:21) Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast (all of your possessions), and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven… (Also see: Mk 10:21, Lk 12:33, Lk 18:22)
(Mt 6:1-4) says when we give to others to be seen by men, that will be our only reward, but if we give in secret, God knows it, and He will reward us.
As stated above, we really don’t know exactly what rewards we will receive for our works, deeds, and faithfulness. However, the Bible does mention five crowns that it appears will be a part of the rewards. Many believe that these are literal crowns, but personally I believe they are likely symbolic. Nevertheless, it does appear we will present them to Jesus (Rev 4:10-11). Each of these five crowns appears to be for different groups of people. We can kind of guess as to whom these will be presented, either by the verse itself. or those surrounding them.
1. Incorruptible crown (1 Cor 9:25)- Possibly for those who have run the race well. (See: verses 24-27, Heb 12:1)
2. Crown of rejoicing (1 Thess 2:19)- Possibly for those who have won souls for Christ.
3. Crown of righteousness (2 Tim 4:8)- Possibly for those who are watching for Christ’s return, and have prepared themselves by being ready. (See: Mt 24:36-51, Mt 25:1-13)
4. Crown of life (James 1:12)(Rev 2:10)- The verse in James makes it sound as though this is for those who persevere under trials, however, the verse in Revelation appears to show it is for those who have died for the cause of Christ.
5. Crown of glory (1 Pet 5:4)- very likely to be for teachers and shepherds.
I believe the greatest reward of all might be the opportunity to have the honor of sitting on the right or left of Jesus (Mt 20:20-23)(Mk 10:35-40).
I am quite sure there will be other rewards as well. John MacArthur says, “I think in eternity, we will all be given according to our abilities and according to our faithfulness– varying capacities for glorifying, serving, and worshipping God.” I agree with this. As far as serving, I have stated before, I believe we will work in some capacity in Heaven (see: Q: #39). Our jobs may indeed be a part of our reward.
While we really don’t know what amazing rewards God has in store for His faithful servants, we can rest assured, they will be AWESOME!
The Bible does seem to indicate that it is possible to lose rewards (Rev 3:11)(2 Jn 1:8). Keep an eternal perspective. Do not be as those who are living for the here and now, thinking that just getting there is good enough. Instead, be rich with God rather than laying up treasures on Earth (Lk 12:21). Receive a “full reward” (2 Jn 1:8) of all God has for you.
**Related: Will there be degrees of rewards in Heaven? If so, how can I be happy if someone is being rewarded more than me?