Monday, May 25, 2009

Great is Your Reward in Heaven

Matt. 5:12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Down through the ages there have been people who have said that there is no need to look for the reward, or to always be thinking about Heaven, but that we can just be a Christian for the joy of being a Christian today. They are setting themselves apart as being a sort of "super saint". While in a trial, they would abdicate that there is no reason to look to the future reward, but that a good Christian should just be able to "grin and bear it" for the sheer joy of being a Christian today.

Fortunately, both Jesus and Paul tell us that this is not Biblical thinking. For the true Christian, who is living righteously, there is going to be suffering and persecution in this life. If these 2 thing are missing from our life we need to examine ourselves to see if we are a Christian living righteously.

For those who are living righteously, when the suffering and persecution comes we have a hope that the world does not have. How could loosing a loved one, prematurely, be a light and momentary affliction? How could the early Christians leave their homes to visit other Christians in prison and joyfully lose their possessions? How could Jesus look to the cross and endure the shame and disgrace of His own creation, if there was not something greater coming later?

The Bible tells us, repeatedly, that we are to be thinking of the future reward, having our thoughts in Heaven; sell everything for the pearl of great price; set your affections in Heaven; rejoice in the reward that is in Heaven; and many other commands along the same lines.

How do we live this way if we are given so little information about Heaven? Rev. 4-5 tells us a little about what Heaven will be like. A shiny throne with other thrones around it, magnificent colors, brilliant lights, a glass sea, strange flying creatures with lots of eyes, loud and glorious singing are all set out for us to try to imagine, in our fallen and feeble minds, what it will really be like. But we aren't given too much more than that, as we can't comprehend how good it is going to be. We must just trust that it will be amazing and let God handle the rest.

For today, we can and should look for the reward that awaits those who live righteously in the present age. This is our reward and we should run after it. If we will work hard for a prize in this life that means very little; if we will work hard for things that depreciate or can be stolen; if we will get up early and stay up late to make a name for ourselves; then why would we not much more then run hard after the prize that can never fade?

Heaven is going to be perfectly amazing. There is no way to explain, in words, how good it will be. The moment we arrive we will be forever be in glorious exaltation of the One Who made our salvation possible by suffering momentarily for an eternity of reward. His reward is His Bride and the praise that she gives Him. Our reward is being in His presence and being free from sin and the curse of this life.

Oh what a day that will be. Jesus come back for Your Bride today and take away our sin, make us forever righteous. Bring us home to be with You. Please find us watching, waiting and ready for Your return. Like John, give us just a taste of Heaven now, that we might live more like You did when You were here on earth. Give us a vision of who You want us to be, in You, and then give us the strength to live it. Your plan is amazing and we are on the edge of our seats ready for Your return.

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