The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
(Another Doctrine 101 consideration)
"The Rewards of Grace"
Salvation must be known and received as a completely free gift of grace, purchased by the Lord Jesus Christ for all who believe, and in the blessed light of "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy, He saved us" (Titus 3:5).
It is also true, however, that believers will one day be judged for our works subsequent to salvation.
"We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ… Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire" (Romans 14:10; I Corinthians 3:13-15).
How does the "free gift" of salvation correlate with "receive a reward" or "suffer loss" based on works? The Apostle Paul answers in context of his own experience:
"By the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me" (I Corinthians 15:10).
The works of the Christian life, that is, our faithfulness to God's will, proceed no less from the reception of God's grace than did our new birth. "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him" (Colossians 2:6). Just as we were saved by grace through faith, so we obey by grace through faith. Paul's "labored more abundantly" sprang from the fount of "the grace of God which was with me." The Apostle trusted his Lord's promise to work in him "both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). Thereby, he received grace for obedience just as he had received grace for forgiveness and newness of life when first he believed. "God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work" (II Corinthians 9:8).
The Christian life is a free gift of grace to be received. But it must be received day by day as we walk by a conscious and active faith in the Lord Jesus. We will one day "receive a reward" for reception and the works that flowed accordingly. Or, we will "suffer loss" for failure to have faithfully walked with God when so much provision and power resided within our hearts through the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Thus, the free gift and rewards for works perfectly correlate. The gift consistently received - grace through faith - results in the power faithfully applied to what we do, and how we do it through Christ - "to maintain good works" (Titus 3:8).
A final point. We do well to remember that we will stand before the judgment seat of Christ with glorified sensibilities and awareness. We will have been changed into His spiritual and moral likeness (I John 3:2). Thus, it will matter to us more than we can presently imagine how we spent our earthly sojourn as believers. Did the grace received that began our relationship with God serve as the dynamic means whereby we walked with Him, leading to works that result in reward? We do well to presently keep the question before us, and much in heart and mind. The faithfulness of this day will ebb or flow accordingly, leading to another day wherein rewards for works will be, like our salvation, based on reception by grace through faith. "The Lord alone shall be exalted in that day," exalted by the works we have done that resulted from response to the work of grace He so faithfully wrought in our hearts, and through our hands and feet (Isaiah 2:11).
"He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?"
"Let us have grace, that we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear."
Weekly Memory Verse
And the heavens shall praise Thy wonders, O Lord, Thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints.