Persecution and Rewards

Persecution and Rewards

Luke 6:22-23 – “Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.”NRSV

Hateful people hardly make us feel like objects of blessing. Yet the kingdom values are opposite the world values. Jesus explained to his disciples that not only would they, like anyone else, experience poverty and sorrow in this life, but they also would be actively persecuted. People would hate them, exclude them, revile them, and defame them—the one common factor would be that this would occur on account of the Son of Man. Because they believed in Jesus, they would face persecution.

The Christian knows that the world’s values are obviously distorted and out of touch with reality—but try telling the world! When believers do, Jesus says, the world will not thank us for our trouble. In fact, it will hate us. Just look at the homosexual agenda today and the hatred it stirs up in them. But we can persevere and even smile, because we know the truth. Don’t compromise your beliefs or your values just because the world can’t handle them.

Why should the Christian not compromise their beliefs and values, because great is our reward in heaven. We are to live in this temporal world as if it is our last day in this fallen age. James 4:14 says, “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” What if I told you that in this short life the choices that we make each day, like how we interact with others, our boss, in serving our Church, even the Church we attend and how much fruit and spiritual power we operate in will affect our future forever in the age to come. My understanding of the Holy Bible is to become a spiritual being, not a Church member.

What I desire each believer in Christ Jesus to see out of this article is that there is a direct connection between something we do for Christ in this fallen age and something “great” He will do for us in the age to come. Let me say it this way. Jesus is saying that the consequences in heaven for certain actions on earth will be so wonderful that simply knowing they’re coming, and knowing that they will be great, can transform how we live now.

Just let me give you some scriptures that Jesus taught on rewards:

“He will reward each according to his works” – Matthew 16:27
“You will have treasure in heaven” – Matthew 19:21
“You will be blessed…..for you shall be repaid at the resurrection” – Luke 14:14
I could say or suggest that God is keeping track of what you do for Him every day and we have more to gain by serving Him than we ever imagined.

Rewards for the service we do in this fallen age is not new theology; it has been part of Christian beliefs and teachings from the first century as we see in some of scriptures listed above. What do the greats of Church history such as Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Wesley, and Spurgeon all have in common? They all believed and taught on the hope of eternal rewards.

Bruce Hines