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Does the Bible teach that God rewards good deeds in heaven, or is heaven itself the reward?

Full Question

I know there are Bible verses that teach that God “rewards” believers for their good deeds in the next life, but doesn’t this refer to some sort of special gifts or honor in heaven and not to heaven itself? Isn’t it true that eternal life is a gift of grace and our good deeds cannot in any way contribute to it?

Answer

It is true that there are rewards above and beyond eternal life and that eternal life is a gift of grace, but Scripture plainly teaches that eternal life itself is a reward or fruit of our good deeds.

One passage which spells this out is Galatians 6:7-10: “Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. So let us not grow weary in well-doing [Gk, “working good”], for in due season we will reap, if we do not lose heart. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good [Gk, “work good”] to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

In this passage Paul states that “eternal life”–not just unspecified “rewards”–is the harvest “reaped” as a result of “sowing to the Spirit” through “well-doing” or “doing good to all men.”

One might press the analogy by pointing out that the harvest is still a “gift” of God, since the act of sowing does not make the seed alive or cause it to grow. The act of sowing undeniably leads to the harvest, and the same is true of our good deeds and eternal life.











2 comments

  1. Bob Edgar Reply

    Eternal Life is only given to us through our faith in Jesus and acceptance of His sacrifice on our behalf, it has absolutely nothing to do with our good deeds.
    Ephesians 2:5-10:
    5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+2%25-10&version=NIV
    Our good deeds are a direct result of our acceptance of Christ. We are talking about those acts that further God’s Kingdom, that is to say, proclaiming The Good News of The Gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe that this reference to good deeds is in reference to that, not deeds such as helping someone financially or being a friend in times of need, etc.

  2. HRH King Thomas of Hierosolyma Kt. S.D. O.G.S. Reply

    Bob, Hey just wondering, You said, “We are talking about those acts that further God’s Kingdom, that is to say, proclaiming The Good News of The Gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe that this reference to good deeds is in reference to that, not deeds such as helping someone financially or being a friend in times of need, etc.”

    How do you separate, “deeds such as helping someone financially or being a friend in times of need”, from the Gospel of Yesu/Jesus? That is the Gospel!

    That’s a real screwed up view of the Gospel… Is the Gospel a preacher invoking an emotional response from an ‘Audience’ as he proclaims he speaks for God? No!

    You cannot further the Kingdom by words alone, it requires action and usually the action of a group of people to have all things in common.

    The Law of God is written on the tablets of men’s heart. Yesu/Jesus cannot save anyone unless the Father in Heaven chooses them to be saved, So… You cannot use hype to bring true deliverance. You cannot preach someone into the Kingdom, Just like you cannot speak a baby to manifest and fall out of any random womb on command. It requires action and work because it requires expending energy.

    Yesu/Jesus threatening “Everlasting Punishment” sounds pretty ‘required’ to do work ‘Good Deeds’ from the list below… Faith is not belief, Faith is Obedience to the Living Word of God and that is Love in action.

    Careful you are about to become responsible for (Not Paul’s Gospel) The Gospel of Yesu/Jesus.

    Matthew 25:31-46

    The Sheep and the Goats

    31When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

    34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

    41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

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