Working Out Our Salvation, Follow Up

Q. I just read your response to the question titled “Working Out Our Salvation” and I was wondering about one thing. When you said:

“We should strive to be more Christ like in our manner of living. Not to earn something, for we’ve already received it, but to allow God to work in us according to His purpose.”

I believe you are mistaken. I agree with you, that we are not trying to “earn” our salvation, for salvation is by faith alone. However, in our daily walk (or race as Paul puts it) we are trying to earn our crowns, or treasures in heaven, and all the other glorious things promised by our Savior. So while the Bible is clear we cannot earn our salvation, when Paul speaks of earning something he is talking about rewards, not our salvation, or at least that is what I believe. In that respect I believe we are trying to earn something in heaven. Your Thoughts?

A. Technically you’re right, but it’s not as simple as it sounds. We are given crowns as rewards for certain kinds of behavior, but only if our motives are right. (1 Cor. 4:5, Hebrews 4:12) Personal gain is not an acceptable motive, so as soon as we start trying to earn our crowns we’ve disqualified ourselves. The only acceptable motive is gratitude to God for what we’ve already been given, and that’s the free gift of salvation. When our motives are acceptable, God rewards us with crowns.

It’s the same reason that giving with the expectation of receiving doesn’t work, because there the motive is greed. You have to give out of gratitude for what you’ve already received, with no expectation of future gain, for your gift to be acceptable. When you do that, God is free to bless you because your motives are pure and you wind up receiving more than you’ve given.

So I stand by my statement.

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