Dec. 30. Reward for Obedience vs Punishment for Disobedience

A very effective tool in training animals to obey in various ways is the prospect of a reward for compliance. The human race functions in much the same way. The laborer expects a monetary reward on payday for fulfilling his duties in his employment—even bonuses for outstanding work. Children work diligently in school to achieve good grades, special honors and rewards for outstanding achievements. More importantly, God has promised His children a reward for a “well done, good and faithful servant” performance in this life (Mt. 25:21).

Again, we read in Jn. 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Jesus reassured His apostles in Jn. 14:1-3 just prior to His death, of a better home that He was going to prepare for them/us. The Spirit inspired apostle, Paul assured the Philippian Christians that their citizenship was in heaven where they/we would have a new glorious body instead of the lowly earthly body that we are presently occupying (Phil. 3:20, 21). In I Pet. 1:3-5, the apostle Peter encouraged his Christian readers with the hope of an inheritance reserved in heaven for us. The beauty of heaven is indescribable. It is partially described in highly figurative language in Rev. 21:1-7, 9-22:5.

Conversely, there is severe punishment for those who choose to live a life of rebellion and disobedience. Jesus pointed out in Mt. 25:44-46 that there will be people who thought that they were serving the Lord when they were actually falling short of their opportunities and duties. He stated in verse 46 that, “These will go away into everlasting punishment…”

Paul reminded the Thessalonian church in II Thes. 1:6-10, that the Lord will be, “revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power…”

The book of Revelation states in Rev. 20:14, 15, “Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. Rev. 21:8 lists a group of various sinners that, “shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

It is important that we strive to please God in order to gain an admittance into the glorious heaven and to avoid the punishment of a horrible hell. However, we must also please Him because of our appreciation for the many blessings that we receive from Him each day of our lives.

“And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17).

Let us resolve TODAY to live in obedience to our God, the giver of life and the hope of a home with Him in heaven after this life is over.

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