Table of Contents
- New Testament References to Reward based on works
- New Testament References to Judgment based on works
- Hope of future reward is a legitimate motivation
- Old Testament References
- The New Testament repeats the same theme found in the Old Testament.
- Both positive and negative rewards are given based on good and bad works.
- Matthew 25 suggests that a key criterion determining how reward is distributed is the way in which a Christian responds to those in physical need.
- Future reward is presented to the Christian as a legitimate motivation for good deeds.
- See here for verses on Saved by grace through faith
Mat 16:27 NKJV For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.
Mat 25:34-36 NKJV Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry … thirsty … a stranger … naked … sick … and you came to Me.’
Luk 14:13-14 NKJV But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. 14 And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
1Co 3:14 NKJV If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.
2Co 5:10 NKJV For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
Eph 6:8 NKJV knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.
Col 3:23-25 NKJV And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. 25 But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.
Heb 2:2-3 NKJV For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,
Rev 2:23 NKJV I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.
Rev 22:12 NKJV “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
Mat 10:41-42 NKJV He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”
Mat 19:21 NKJV Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
Luk 12:33 NKJV Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys.
Mat 25:21 NKJV His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
Luk 19:16-17 NKJV Then came the first, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’ 17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’
2Co 9:6-7 NKJV But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
Gal 6:7-8 NKJV Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.
Joh 15:7 NKJV If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
We are reward if we overcome
Rev 2:7 NKJV “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” ‘
Rev 2:11 NKJV “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.” ‘
Rev 2:17 NKJV “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” ‘
Rev 2:26 NKJV And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—
Rev 3:5 NKJV He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
Rev 3:12 NKJV He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.
Rev 21:7 NKJV He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.
Mat 25:41-43 NKJV “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
Joh 15:1-6 NKJV “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. … 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
Rom 2:5-10 NKJV But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who “WILL RENDER TO EACH ONE ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS”: 7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; 10 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Jas 2:24 NKJV You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
Mat 10:22 NKJV And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
Mat 24:13 NKJV But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
Mar 13:13 NKJV And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
The verses listed above repeatedly direct the believer’s attention to the eternal reward offered if we obey the Lord. However some believe that, even though the Lord wants us to know the rewards we will receive, those rewards should not motivate us. The following verses clearly exhort us to act in order to be rewarded. These verses are proof that seeking eternal reward is not only permitted but encouraged, perhaps even commanded, by the Lord.
Heb 11:6 NKJV But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Mat 6:20 NKJV but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Heb 10:35-36 NKJV Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:
Heb 11:24-26 NKJV By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.
Mat 6:1-4 NKJV “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.
Heb 10:34 NKJV for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven.
Mat 5:12 NKJV Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
1Co 13:3 NKJV And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
1Ti 4:8 NKJV For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.
Rth 2:12 NKJV The LORD repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”
Job 34:11 NKJV For He repays man according to his work, And makes man to find a reward according to his way.
Psa 62:12 NKJV Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy; For You render to each one according to his work.
Pro 11:18 NKJV The wicked man does deceptive work, But he who sows righteousness will have a sure reward.
Pro 19:17 NKJV He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, And He will pay back what he has given.
Pro 24:12 NKJV If you say, “Surely we did not know this,” Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?
Isa 3:10 NKJV “Say to the righteous that it shall be well with them, For they shall eat the fruit of their doings.
Jer 17:10 NKJV I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.
Jer 32:19 NKJV You are great in counsel and mighty in work, for your eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, to give everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings.