Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Great is Your Reward

We are saved by grace through faith alone. Our justification is not at all based upon any work of human merit. The cross of Christ is the basis of our hope and we find infinite comfort in its sufficiency. Paul declared, "May it never be that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, though which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Galatians 6:14).

Justification by faith alone, however, never supposes a life void of activity. Paul also declared, "So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil. 2:12). The wonderful passage on God's salvation by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9) also adds, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them" (Eph. 2:10).

We have the promise of a sure reward. Our labor is not in vain - "Therefore my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord" (1 Cor. 15:58). Yes, we have a sure reward reserved for eternity, but the reward of a life well-lived in faithfulness to Christ has wonderful benefits now; what sweet comfort our conscience will bring in our final hours. William Gurnall writes, "Life is a time for working, and death for receiving the reward suitable to the work. Hence it is when death is approaching, conscience (if not seared and past all feeling) is then carried back to review what the man has been doing, for whom he has been laboring, and therefore must bring in heavy tidings to the sinner of his approaching misery. Then it rips up all the stitches of that false peace which the ungodly wretch had been bolsered up with, and tells him that now the righteous judge is at hand to pay him the dismal wages due to him for all the wicked works he has done, which makes the thoughts of death a terror to him. But the sincere Christian, who has labored faithfully in the Lord's work, then has a pleasant prospect to behold when he looks back upon his conscionable walking, and can thence make his humble appeal to God, and desire Him to remember how he has walked before Him in truth, and with a perfect heart. Oh what joy is this to his poor heart, that his conscience bears him witness that he has endeavored to walk before God with godly simplicity and not in guile? He can cast himself upon the mercy of God in Christ, and breathe out his soul with a joyful expectation of being received into the kingdom of glory" (The Christians's Labor and Reward, p.30).

May God grant you the grace and mercy to press on with your eyes fixed firmly upon our glorious Redeemer. May His radiance outshine anything that may distract you from His Kingdom and His righteousness. "Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord" (1 Cor. 15:58). You have a sure reward, "an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Pet. 1:4-5).

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