Finishing Well – II

December 10, 2014

II Peter 1:10, 11

(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)

We have been looking in the last blog at the verses preceding II Peter 1:10 and 11.  Now we will concentrate on this featured scripture:

     Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your calling and election
      sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will
      be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and
      Savior Jesus Christ.

Frank, a friend of mine who is a pastor, told me he received a phone call one day from a man who did not give his name.  This man wanted to know what it would take to get himself into heaven.  My friend started to explain the gospel – accepting Jesus as our Savior to be forgiven of our sins, to be reconciled to the Father, and to gain eternal life.  The man broke in to say, “I know all that. What I want to know is how godly do I have to live just to get into heaven? I don’t want all the rewards, I just want to get there, that’s all!” Frank replied, “I’m not interested in just getting into heaven! I want to live my life so as to load my pockets, a backpack, and my arms full with good works! I want all the rewards of heaven the Lord has for His obedient children!

What Frank was saying is just what Peter wrote in verse 11, concerning “…an entrance…supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Now, Frank nor I live our Christian lives just for the rewards we will get in the kingdom.  As someone else has said, “I live my life as a ‘thank you’ for all that God has done for me.”  Paul wrote in Romans 12:1 that it is just our “…reasonable service…[to] present…our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God….”  In light of all He has done for us, it is only reasonable that we live our lives in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ!

But the Lord chooses to offer us rewards for all the things we do for Him.  Jesus said in Mark 9:41, “…whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”  Paul writes in I Corinthians 3:14 that if we do anything that reflects our life having the foundation of Jesus Christ (see I Corinthians 3:11), we “…will receive a reward.

That rewards in the kingdom will be a surprise – that is, we don’t do good works just to get the rewards – is clearly shown in Matthew 25:34 through 40:

      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: for I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave
      Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you
      clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came
      to Me.”  Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, “Lord, when did we
      see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give you drink?  When did we
      see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?  Or when
      did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?”  And the King will
      answer and say to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it
      to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”

These righteous ones lived out their lives for the Lord.  Their good works were just a natural outflow of the new nature that is born within us when we accept Jesus as our Savior (see II Corinthians 5:17).  The rewards were a surprise and an added blessing given by our gracious God!  But what an abundant entrance they had…into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…”  They Finished Well!

At least three crowns are named as rewards in scripture (obviously among many other rewards):

•      II Timothy 4:8 – Paul wrote, “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

•      James 1:12 – James tells us, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been proved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

•      I Peter 5:4 – Peter says, “…when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.

What do we do with all our rewards in eternity?  According to Revelation 5:10, we will…

      …cast…[our] crowns before the throne [of God] saying, “You are worthy, O
      Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and
      by Your will they exist and were created”

We will give our rewards back to the only One worthy of such praise and glory – God Himself!  And…so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  And so we will be Finishing Well!

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