Positive and Negative Rewards
January 28, 2022
So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. 'For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth' (Matthew 25:28-30).
A number of the parables of Jesus state that there are non-believers among believers; there are non-Christians in the Christian church. Membership in the church does not mean membership in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. Judas Iscariot was a member of the 12 disciples, but Jesus called him a devil (John 6:70), a betrayer (Matthew 26:21,23; John 6:64-71), and the son of perdition (John 17:12). Every garden and field and orchard has weeds mixed in with good seed. Every church has non-Christians, even though they may sound and act like Christians. How do we know? (1) Jesus said so in numerous parables, including this one and The Parable of the 10 Virgins. (2) Fruitfulness. Whatever a person may say or do with their abilities in the context of the church, if they are spiritually inactive or unfruitful for God’s glory or the increase of His Kingdom, they are self-deceived.
To those who invest their lives, talents, gifts, energy, influence, etc. in the on-going work of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, and to His honor and glory, there will be reward. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance. Jesus came to give us abundant life here and eternal life hereafter. The rewards for faithful service to the Lord are enjoyed here and in eternity.
To those who do not invest their lives, talents, gifts, energy, influence, etc. in the on-going work of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, and to His honor and glory, there will be reward also, but not the reward of blessedness; it will be the reward of judgment. They are not only unfruitful, they are unfaithful because they are faithless. We know this 3rd servant represents non-believers because his punishment was to be cast into the outer darkness where There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. ‘Outer darkness’ is a metaphor for hell. Weeping and gnashing of teeth describe the painful torment of those in hell.
Just as there are degrees of reward in faithful service there are degrees of punishment in judgment. (Matthew 10:14-15) And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!
“Holy Spirit, help us to discern whether or not our election is sure, then keep us faithful in serving the Lord Jesus Christ until that time He comes for us or calls us home. Amen.