Reward and Punishment - Part 1
February 4, 2022
When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left (Matthew 25:31-33).
In the Word of Encouragement for January 28th, we touched on the idea of degrees of reward in heaven and degrees of punishment in hell. I though it a good idea to expand on that topic since people have asked about it. I cannot disagree with the statement, “Heaven is heaven, what greater reward is there for the Christian; hell is hell, what greater torment and punishment is there for the sinner?” However, I also agree that Scripture teaches of rewards in heaven and degrees of punishment in hell.
I believe the greater rewards for the true Christian are these:  salvation by grace through faith,  knowing and being like Jesus Christ more and more each day,  inheriting the Kingdom of God,  all that we need to live for the Lord in this sinful, godless, self-destructing world  serving the Lord and ministering to others through spiritual gifts He gives us,  eternal life,  living forever face to face with God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
But Scripture clearly teaches that some are rewarded for their faithful service to the Lord. (1 Corinthians 3:11-15) For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
(2 Timothy 4:7-8) I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
There are 5 such ‘crowns’ or rewards that will be received in heaven.  The Imperishable Crown also called The Victor’s Crown (1 Corinthians 9:24-27) given to those who live a spiritually disciplined life,  The Crown of Rejoicing also called The Soul-Winner’s Crown (1 Thessalonians 2:19) given to those who lead others to faith in Jesus Christ,  The Crown of Righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8) given to those who long for and look for heaven,  The Crown of Glory (1 Peter 5:4) given to those who faithfully lead the people of as pastors, teachers, elders, deacons, etc.,  The Crown of Life (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10) given to those who endure persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ.
What is noteworthy is that while we receive these rewards for faithfulness, we will worship the Lord Jesus Christ by casting these crowns at His feet, for He is worthy of our worship and praise. Amen.