The Daily Word of Righteousness

Diversity of Destinies, #11

These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. (Revelation 14:4—NIV)

The second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation hold out marvelous rewards to "him who overcomes" and warn the sinning believers of punishment. The rewards are not given to all the members of the churches but to a few (it appears) whom Christ judges to be worthy to walk with Him in white (Revelation 3:4). The rewards to the overcomer set forth in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation have nothing to do with dying and going to Heaven, it may be observed, but with tremendous endowments of authority, life, nearness to God, and service to mankind. What must be made clear to today's believers is that such rewards, which often are presented as the destiny of all who make a profession of faith in Christ, are promised to "him who overcomes." No careless, disobedient believer has any hope whatever of eating of the tree of life, becoming a pillar in the temple of God, or being seated in the supreme throne of the universe.

Should we conclude, therefore, that all the other believers will be cast into the Lake of Fire, there to be tormented without hope for eternity, never again to behold the Face of their Creator? Never again to have a prayer answered? Probably not!

There is a "firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb" (Revelation 14:4). The very term firstfruits implies there is more to be harvested.

To our fellow Christians who would protest these differences apply only to the Jews, and all the saved Gentiles will receive the same reward in Heaven, our response is: such scripturally indefensible reasoning and assuming has all but destroyed the motivation toward growth in Christ of the members of the Christian churches.

One can look through the statement of faith of today's Christian denominations and perhaps not find one use of the term "the Kingdom of God," or the doctrine that the Kingdom will be established on the earth when the Lord returns.

Yet the preaching of the Kingdom and of the rewards to be given to Christ's faithful servants when the Kingdom comes is the primary message of the New Testament.

The main hope of the Christian salvation is the resurrection from the dead, which will take place on the earth, not in Heaven. When we are resurrected we shall stand before Christ. At that time we shall be rewarded according to the way we have behaved during our lifetime on the earth.

Grace will not enter at this point. The rewards we shall receive will include a "house," a robe of righteousness that will clothe our resurrected flesh and bones. In addition we shall be given authority and power in the realm of Divine Life, nearness to God, and the opportunity for eternal fruitfulness. Our rewards will be exactly in accordance with what we have done in the body.

The careless, lukewarm believer who has indulged himself during his time on earth will receive the exact consequences of his disobedience. His sudden awareness of opportunities forever lost will cause him to weep in an agony of remorse and terror.

Let us follow the example of the honored men and women of the Scriptures and press forward toward God with all our might. The rewards for doing so will be unimaginably great. The penalties for neglecting our salvation will prove to be more painful than our worst nightmares. (from Diversity of Destinies—It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking)