Q. Thank you so very much for your wonderful bible teachings. I have been extremely blessed by them. I have found in my own bible studies and extra biblical books a very distressing interpretation of judgment about crowns/rewards at The Bema seat of Christ. One book by a popular writer quotes 2 John 8 “Watch yourselves that you do not lose what you have accomplished.” It goes on to explain that many Christians who have served the Lord for many years, will lose their rewards and crowns which they have already earned if they backslide into temptations of carnality, sensuality, or other temptations of the flesh.
Am I wrong in understanding every time we sin, we are forgiven but our rewards are taken away? I am heartsick to think anything I might have earned in the way of rewards was lost because of a sin (no matter how big or small) even though the sin was confessed.
Please help me to understand this because I want to serve the Lord in Heaven based on my rewards, and I want to please him, but if every time I get angry at my husband or adult children, or think a bad thought or bad attitude (though confessed and forgiven) I have to start all over again and that takes the joy out of serving the Lord. Is there something wrong with my thought process?
A. In the first place the context of 2 John 8 is Gnosticism, not heavenly rewards. John was warning his readers not to get caught up in that teaching because doing so would be an indication that they “do not have God.” Only by continuing in the the teaching of Christ will they know that they have both the Father and the Son. This is the reward he was referring to. He further warned them not to even let the teachers of Gnosticism into their houses. Your reaction to this author’s writing is an indication that your Spirit of Discernment is active.
God wants us to have all the rewards we’ve earned, and is not looking for a way to take them back. If this writer was correct, then every one of us would lose everything, because we’ve all stumbled at some time. This is just another twist on the age old effort by some teachers to use the Bible as a club to keep believers in line.
In Rev. 3:11 Jesus told us that He was coming soon, and to hold on to what we have so that no one could steal our crowns. That means to keep expressing our gratitude for His promise to return for us by thinking about him, longing for His return, maintaining our righteousness through prayers of forgiveness, and performing acts of kindness in His name. It’s our attitude of gratitude that motivates us to qualify for rewards, not the fear of losing rewards we’ve already received.
Failing to do these things because we’ve lost faith in his promise is in effect letting the enemy steal crowns we might otherwise have received.