Bible Reading: Revelation 2:8-11
Many years ago I was in China and met with one of the great leaders of the House Church. He had gone through tremendous tribulation that included more than twenty years in prison and ten further years under house arrest. From the age of seventy six to eighty six God had used him to plant ten churches in Beijing. I asked him if he had a word for myself and he gave me a promise from God’s Word, “Be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life” [Revelation 2:10]. Here is a reward – a crown for faithfulness!
Paul clearly implied degrees of reward when he wrote, “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” [2 Corinth. 5:10]
Writing to Timothy Paul speaks of a “crown of righteousness” for all who love Christ’s appearing [2 Timothy 4:8], whilst James writes about a crown of life for those who endure temptation, overcome evil, remain faithful and who love Jesus [James 1:12].
The elders worshipped God and cast their crowns before His throne. Their greatest prize was the presence of God, and whilst there are degrees of reward the ultimate happiness will not be to do with status. In heaven happiness will not be dependent upon status but will be the joy of being with the Lord. There will be no sadness there and the joy of each person will be full and complete for eternity.
What do you think is the meaning of “Be faithful unto death and I will give you a crown of life”?
How do you understand that there will be no sorrow in heaven but that there will be rewards given for faithful service on earth?