We all know that grace is a gift from God. Salvation cannot be earned by word, work, or deed; and the attempt to earn salvation is in itself a great sin. As such, our entrance into The Kingdom and our subsequent admittance into Heaven is also a gift that cannot be earned.
But did you know that everything else that awaits us in Heaven IS EARNED?
That's right. Earned.
If your reaction to this statement is knee-jerk negative, you may wish to read on - for this is where modern-day theology has been twisted to the detriment of today's typical believer.
The Bible speaks very clearly that our words, works, actions, and deeds do indeed count either for us or against us as it pertains to eternal rewards. Jesus was brutally honest about this throughout His ministry during the days of His flesh. Remember the example He laid down in the parables of the talents and minas. He left little doubt that Heaven is an absolute monarchy, NOT a commune (everyone equal) as many have come to imagine. The King will either reward or penalize servants in direct proportion to the service that is rendered. He summarized it as such:
“He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away." Luke 19:26
The Book of Revelation is clear that the process of judgment will include "books" (plural) NOT ONLY the book of life. The apostle Paul was also blunt about what awaits the believer whose name is recorded in the book of life. He makes it clear that we still await judgment for every word that is spoken and every deed that is committed (uncovered by the blood of Christ through true repentance):
"If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved — even though only as one escaping through the flames." 1 Corinthians 3:12-15
You see that Paul confirms in a single scripture that (1) the grace of God cannot be bought or earned, while concurrently attesting that (2) our words, works, and deeds are all passed through the fire at the great Judgment Seat of Christ.
So as believers in Christ and heirs of the Kingdom (with so much to gain and so much to lose), should we not be better stewards of our words, actions, works, and deeds? Should we not imagine scribe angels meticulously noting every syllable that leaves our mouths and every thought that is indulged in our minds? Should we not be (daily) repenting of things that we know must grieve The Lord - until such a time dawns that we are no longer subject to such pitfalls? This is the refining process that is also known as sanctification - and far too few are subjecting themselves to the needed refinement prior to that great and terrible day when we stand before the Great Judgment Seat of Christ.
Mark this well. Scripture is clear that we will indeed answer for every syllable that is uttered; particularly those that are displeasing to The Lord which have come before Him uncovered by true repentance.
So repent - early and often.
Love the brethren and your neighbor as yourself.
Rid yourself of hatred, malice, envy, and strife - and flee from bitterness that will always lead to these things if left to fester in your heart.
Above all, love The Lord your God with all your heart, with all your strength, and with all your mind.
The judgment seat of Christ is going to be an eye-opener for far too many - and at a moment when it is far too late to make changes that might improve their standing in the Kingdom. The proverbial tree will lie where it falls - for once judgment is set, it is set forever. This doesn't only apply to the book of life, but also to the book of rewards pertaining to the great inheritance that has been prepared for those who are faithful with the little that we are given in this life.
So be wise - walk humbly with your God and be careful to walk straight paths before Him. You will not be sorry that you did.
Your brother and servant in Christ Jesus our Lord,
Mark Scott Grimmett