Ephesians 6:8 (KJV) 8Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.
Even in and under the age of grace, the Lord still operates in a reward system. Doing good still has its merits and blessings. All of us are still affected by this divinely ordained principle, system, or design.
Whoever we are and whatever our status is in society, we live in the assurance that our God Who is gracious is also God who is fair and just. He won’t shortchange us. God compensates our life of loving faithfulness. He doesn’t have favoritism; it’s because (I personally take it as) we’re all His favorites.
We find delight in pleasing our Master, and He returns the favor in an inestimably gracious way. That’s why I understand that there’s no contradiction between grace and rewards. God values our good works, He rewards them, and His rewards are incalculably more gracious than what our works deserve. This is clear in the principle of sowing and reaping; in general, what we reap is always multiplied times more than what we sow.
This is why we so willingly, lovingly, diligently, and enthusiastically serve the Lord and others. Although His rewards aren’t our prime motivation, we believe the truth about it. They’re real; they come; we gratefully receive them, we enjoy them; and we know there’s a lot more of them. Praise God.
Matthew 1:24 (KJV) 24Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife
Joseph obeyed the angel’s command although it wasn’t a simple one. He had to be very sensitive to spiritual matters; he had to be discerning enough to recognize that his dream was something beyond the ordinary. His decision wasn’t something small; it was life altering, in fact, it was big-time history changing. He may not have known the importance or the extents of the consequences of His obedience, but that’s a nature of obedience: we can’t predict it’s real value.
God values our obedience more than we know it. He values it more than sacrifice. By the way, grace doesn’t discard, undermine, diminish, dismiss, or nullify the need for obedience. They’re not opposed to each other. In fact, one of grace’s most important function is empowering us to obey God in saying “no” to undgodliness. Obedience demonstrates who we are as believers; obedience is living wisely as His child.
Obedience still brings rewards and disobedience brings discipline or punishment. Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to argue against those who teach that God no longer punishes us when we disobey; I’m just sharing what I believe. Every blessing we have is grace from God, but God’s Word teaches that not everyone receives God’s grace. Only those who appropriate grace by faith benefit from it. Faith isn’t just mental; living faith is belief-obedience. Remember, during the “awarding ceremony” of believers, there will be gradations of rewards.
My encouragement is not only to obey, but to go a second mile. Joseph did. He wasn’t commanded to have sexual relations with Mary, but He didn’t until after Jesus was born. He decided on that and did that on his own.