All believers are justified without
works by faith in the righteousness of Christ Jesus.
(Rom. iii.) They attain to the possession of saving
faith only by the free grace of God electing them in
Christ before the worlds were (Eph. i., ii.).
another truth also asserted most distinctly in the
same word of the Most High, is, that the believer will
have to give account of himself to Christ at His
appearing: and that reward or dishonour will follow
that account. Nay, it is further attested, that the
principle by which the Saviour's distribution of
recompense will be regulated, is, that each shall be
dealt with "according to his works." As the present
tract is intended very briefly to touch this great
question: the surest, the firmest, and the most speedy
way of effecting conviction in the minds of believers,
evidently is, to give the Scripture
passages which affirm the doctrine.
JESUS WILL BRING HIS SAINTS TO ACCOUNT.
But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou
set at naught thy brother? for we shall all stand
before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is
written, ‘As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall
bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.' So
then every one of us shall give account of himself to
God." (Rom. xiv. 10,12)
With me it is a very small thing that I should be
judged (examined) by you or by man's day: (margin)
yea, I judge not mine own self. For I am not conscious
to myself of anything: but he that judgeth me is
the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time
until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the
hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest
the counsels of the hearts: and then shall
each have praise from God." (1 Cor. iv. 3, 5)
Therefore we are ambitious, that whether present or
absent, we may be well-pleasing to him. For we must
all appear before the judgment seat of the Christ;
that each may receive the things done in his
body, according to that he hath done, whether it be
good or bad. " (2 Cor. v. 9, l0)
So speak ye, and so act, as they that shall be
judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have
judgment without mercy that showed no mercy: mercy
rejoiceth against judgment." (James ii. 12, 13).
RULE OF DISTRIBUTION TO EACH IS "ACCORDING TO WORKS."
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, ‘ If any man will
come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his
cross and follow me. For the Son of man is about to
come in the glory of his Father, with his angels and
then shall he reward each, according to his
works.’" (Matt. xvi. 24, 27)
ii. " I
planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.
So then neither is he that planted anything, neither
he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase.
Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: but
each shall receive his own reward, according to his
own labour. " (1 Cor. iii. 6, 8)
not this in effect declare, that no two believers will
receive the same amount of reward ?
"All the churches shall know that I am He which
searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give to
each of you according to your works." (Rev. ii.
Behold, I come quickly: and my reward is with me,
to give to each according as his work shall be. "
(Rev. xxii. 12)
award according to works stands opposed the principle
of acceptance of persons: or the giving to those in
loftier stations greater rewards than their deeds call
for, and overlooking those in inferior position.
principle, we are therefore informed, has no place
with God: and the extremest case is taken as the
occasion of denying it.
be obedient to them that are your masters according to
the flesh. with fear and trembling, in singleness of
your heart, as unto Christ, knowing that whatsoever
good thing each doeth, the same shall he receive from
the Lord, whether he be slave or free man. And ye
masters, do the same thing unto them, forbearing
threatening, knowing that your Master too is in
heaven, neither is there respect of persons with
him. " (Eph. vi. 5, 8, 9)
" Slaves obey in all things your masters according
to the flesh: knowing that of the Lord ye shall
receive the reward of the inheritance, for ye
serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong, shall
receive for the wrong which he hath done; and there
is no respect of persons. " (Col. iii. 22, 24, 25)
are informed, that our future account will depend
greatly upon the principles which we have acted upon
in our dealings with one another.
Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what
judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what
measure ye measure, it shall be measured to you again.
" ( Matt. vii. 1, 2; Luke vi. 37)
"He shall have judgment (justice) without mercy, that
showed no mercy; mercy rejoiceth against
judgment. " (James ii. 13)
is, if we act towards our fellows on the principle
of justice, this will be one day brought to bear
on us in apportioning our reward; and likewise, if we
have taken mercy as our principle, with the same
measure will it be hereafter meted to us.
perhaps the inquiry will arise,—'How can these
statements be reconciled with other scriptures, which
assert, that the believer shall never come into
judgment ( John v. 24), and that we enter into
eternal life as a free gift from God ? '
which I would reply,—Whether reconciliation can be
found or not, we must receive both of these truths.
Both are affirmed by God, and both are to be
believed, and acted on by his saints, whether
they see the link that reconciles and unites them, or
not. But moreover the passage from John is a
mistranslation. It is really —" He that believeth,
doth not come into judgment, but is passed from
death to life."
that eternal life is a free gift, and that the
ransomed will enter it of God's grace: Rom. vi. 23.
But two objects are set before our eye—ETERNAL
LIFE, and the MILLENNIAL KINGDOM. Eternal life is the
free gift. But the kingdom is the
prize to be striven for (Phil. iii). Even in the
kingdom there will be degrees, and in these different
degrees will consist the differences of reward: and
the appearing before Christ will be with a view to the
apportionment of these. Life eternal is a bounty
purchased by Christ, bestowed by God in his
sovereignty. But equity will take the oversight and
distribution of reward in its several degrees.
the mighty multitude of the saved! All enter into
glory through Him that loved them, and washed them
from their sins in his own blood. But will all be
equal in station and reward? Will Paul, that laboured
more than all the other Apostles, receive only the
same degree of glory with the dying robber, who, an
hour or two before his decease laid hold of Christ,
and was saved? Scripture, I am persuaded, teaches the
contrary; and I would now offer to the candid believer
some testimonies of Holy Writ, exhibiting some of the
many forms which this solemn principle takes in the
word of God.
THERE ARE DEGREES AND PECULIARITIES OF REWARD IN THE
KINGDOM OF THE THOUSAND YEARS.
Kingdom of Heaven is at hand."
i. " He
that receiveth a prophet in the name (character) of a
prophet, shall receive a prophet’ s reward: and he
that receiveth a righteous man, in the name of a
righteous man, shall receive a righteous man’s reward.
And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these
little ones a cup of cold water only, in the name of a
disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise
lose his reward." (Matt. x. 41-42)
are three different degrees of reward: the prophet's,
the righteous man's, and the reward of the cup of cold
Verily, I say unto you, among them that are born of
women there hath not risen a greater than John the
Baptist, notwithstanding he that is least in the
kingdom of heaven is greater than he. " (
Matt. xi. 11) Degrees of greatness then in the
Millennial kingdom are assumed. The meaning of
the passage I suppose to be—that the least honourable
of those that rise from the dead, and shine forth in
the kingdom of their Father, will be greater than one
occupying the standing of John the Baptist, who was
simply the greatest of mortals, and living on the
earth. The enterers into the kingdom of glory will be
immortals, gifted with greater knowledge, their
habitation the New Jerusalem above, their dignity and
power far loftier and acknowledged by all. This denies
not, of course, that John the Baptist will be in the
At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus,
saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of
heaven ?' And Jesus, called a little child unto
him, and set him in the midst of them and said, '
Verily I say unto you, except ye turn and become as
little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom
of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as
this little child, the same is the greatest in the
kingdom of heaven."' (Matt. xviii. 1-6;
Then answered Peter and said unto him, 'Behold, we
have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we
have therefore?' And Jesus said unto them, 'Verily I
say unto you, that ye which have followed me—in
the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit on the
throne of his glory—ye too (as well as myself) shall
sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of
Israel. And every one who hath forsaken houses, or
brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife,
or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall
receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting
life." (Matt. xix. 27-29)
reward of a throne for the twelve over each tribe
of Israel of course destroys equality of station
among the ransomed. But even among Apostles
themselves there were to be greater and less; and the
degree of greatness was to be dependent, not as in
this world, upon pushing and intriguing for the
mastery; but upon suffering like Jesus,
upon lowliness, and usefulness to their
brethren in this life.
Jesus called them unto him and said, ‘Ye know that the
rulers of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them,
and the great exercise authority upon them. But it
shall not be so among you, but whosoever wishes to
become great among you, let him be your servant:
and whosoever wishes to become chief (first) among
you, let him be your slave: Even as the Son of Man
came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and
to give his life a ransom for many."' (Matt. xx.
Peter's inquiry, How the doctrine of watchfulness for
Christ's return applied to the rulers of the
Church, as distinct from the disciples in general?
Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his
lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them
their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that
servant, whom his lord when he cometh, shall find so
doing. Of a truth, I say unto you, that he will
make him ruler over all that he hath." (Luke xii.
'There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of
the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one
star differeth from another star in glory. So also is
the resurrection of the dead. " (1 Cor. XV.
heavenly heights there are three different
classes of glories; that of the sun, that of the moon,
and that of the stars: and in those very glories there
are individual differences, such as exist between star
The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal,
‘'The Lord knoweth them that are his.’ And, ‘Let every
one that nameth the name of Christ depart from
iniquity.’ But in a great house there are not only
vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of
earth; and some to honour and some to dishonour. If
any therefore purge himself from these (things), he
shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified and useful
for the Master, prepared for every good work." (2 Tim.
remarkable passage the sovereignty of God in the
election of his saints, and his unchanging purpose to
bring them to glory, appear side by side with the
declaration that they are to maintain holiness; and
that if they do not, while they will enter the great
house, they will be arranged, not amidst its vessels
of gold or of silver, but of wood and of earth. Many
are supposing the 'great house ' to be the Church. Now
this is a mistake. The future adjustment of our
place is dependent on conduct now. On the contrary, by
avoiding the things forbidden, they would be both now
and hereafter vessels of glory employed by God
in his purposes of glory.
Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to
virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to
temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to
godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly
kindness love. If ye do these things ye shall never
fall (stumble); for so the entrance into the
everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus
Christ shall be abundantly ministered unto you."
(2 Pet. i. 5-11)
The Lamb* stood on the mount Zion, and with him an
hundred and forty-four thousand, having his name* and
his Father's name written on their foreheads. They
sing as it were a new song before the throne, and
before the four living creatures, and the elders: and
none could learn the song but the hundred and
forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth.
These are those who were not defiled with women:
for they are virgins. These are they who follow the
Lamb whithersoever he may go. " (Rev. xiv. 1, 3, 4)
Scholtz, Tregelles, etc.]
peculiar glory is given to those who have
received that saying, which not all can receive (Matt.
xix. 10-12). As the Bridegroom's intimate companions
they chant his marriage-song, and attend his movements
to and fro in the glory.
And he saith unto me, ' Write, blessed are the invited
ones unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. "' (Rev.
this glory is not attained by all, the parable of the
Ten Virgins shows.
Then came the first (servant) saying, 'Lord, thy
pound hath gained ten pounds.' And he said unto
him, ‘ Well done, thou good servant, because thou hast
been faithful in a very little, have thou authority*
over ten cities.’ And the second came saying, '
Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.' And
he said likewise to him, ' Be thou also over five
citie."' (Luke xix. 16—l9)
"Know that thou hast authority."]
preceding texts prove, that in the coming glory
there will be great varieties and various degrees of
Scripture declares likewise that
REWARD IS IN PROPORTION TO DIFFICULTY OVERCOME; AND IS
GRANTED TO SUFFERING FOR CHRIST AS WELL AS ACTING FOR
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile and persecute
you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely,
for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for
great is your reward in heaven. " (Matt. v. 11—12)
Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children,
with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain
thing of him. And he said unto her, ‘What wilt thou ?'
She saith unto him, 'Grant that these my two sons may
sit, the one on thy right hand, the other on thy left
in thy kingdom.' But Jesus answered and said, ' Ye
know not what ye are asking for. Are ye able to drink
of the cup that I am about to drink, and to be
baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with ?'
They say unto him, ‘ We are able.’ And he saith unto
them, ' Ye shall indeed drink of my cup, and be
baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but
to sit on my right hand and on my left is not mine to
give, except to those for whom it has been prepared by
my Father."' (Matt. xx. 20-23)
Saviour then acknowledges diversity of places in the
glory. He only warns the petitioners of their
ignorance of the truth, that peculiar glory must first
be balanced by peculiar suffering.
It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead (if we
died) together with him, we shall also live together
with him. If we suffer, we shall also reign
together with him: if we deny him, he also will deny
us." (2 Tim. ii. 11, 12; also 1 Peter iv.
12, 13, 16)
die with Christ belongs to every saint: and
therefore all will live with him. But not all suffer
with Christ and for him, and therefore not all will
reign with him during the thousand years.
Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him
will I also confess before my Father which is in
heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him
will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
" (Matt. x. 32, 33)
v. " If
ye love them that love you, What reward have ye
? Do not even the
publicans the same ? And if ye salute your brethren
only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the
publicans so ? " (Matt. v. 46)
Lord therefore teaches, that there is no reward for
actions to which even the fallen sons of men are
competent; because there is no difficulty: while the
severer the difficulty, the greater the glory.
principle, therefore, a noble scope for holy ambition
is thrown open. That faculty of the soul which pants
for glory is implanted of God. In the natural man, it
is, like every other power of the soul,
misdirected; and leads him away from God, and from
true glory at the same time. But God has spread a wide
field of ambition before the eye of the believer; and
not only permits him, but exhorts him to pursue it. He
has set before our eyes five crowns, as rewards for
different kinds of service; and each may, by divine
grace, win not only one, but several. Let us pass them
CROWN—THE CROWN OF INCORRUPTION.
Know ye not, that those who run in a race, run indeed
all of them, but one (only) receiveth the prize ? So
run that ye may attain. And every one that enters the
contest is temperate in all things. Now they do it to
obtain a corruptible crown: but we an incorruptible.
I therefore so run, not as uncertainly: so
fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep
under my body, and bring it into subjection; lest by
any means, after having acted the herald to others, I
myself should be rejected. " (1 Cor. ix. 24-27;
crown promised above appears to belong to those who
use self-denial in subduing the lusts of the
flesh. He that sows to the flesh, reaps of it
corruption: he that sows to the spirit, reaps of
it incorruption, and the crown of incorruption.
For the flesh is an enemy to be conquered, and to the
victor is promised the crown.
CROWN—CROWN OF REJOICING.
For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of
rejoicing? Are not even ye, in the presence of our
Lord Jesus Christ at his appearing ?" (1 Thess. ii.
offered to those who have been the means of converting
souls from the errors and enmity of nature. But there
is another crown for those who rule the saints.
CROWN—CROWN OF GLORY.
The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also
an elder, and a witness to the sufferings of Christ,
and also a partaker of the glory that is about to be
revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you,
taking the oversight thereof not by constraint, but
willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.
Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being
examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd
shall appear, ye shall receive the unfading crown
of glory. " * (1 Peter v. 1—4)
article has been omitted by the translators in this
case and in very many others. Errors concerning the
article constitute one of the principal faults of the
CROWN—CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.
iv. " I
have fought the good fight, I have finished the
course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is
laid up for me the crown of righteousness,
which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me in
that day: and not to me only, but to all them also
that have loved his appearing." (2 Tim. iv. 7, 8;
crown then is proposed to every believer who
maintains the good fight with his spiritual
adversaries, who is steadfast in the faith, and looks
with holy desire for the coming of Jesus.
CROWN—THE CROWN OF LIFE.
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for
having become approved, he shall receive the crown
of life, which the Lord promised to them that love
him. " (James i. 12)
Fear none of the things which thou art about to
suffer: behold, the devil is about to cast some of you
into prison that ye may be tried: and ye shall have
tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and
I will give thee the crown of life. " (Rev.
last crown is especially for the endurance of
persecution and martyrdom for Christ's sake.
HUMILITY OR PRIDE INFLUENCES FUTURE REWARD
informed, too, that humility or pride manifested in
this life, will exercise the utmost influence upon our
Neither be ye called leaders: for one is your leader,
the Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be
your servant. Now whosoever shall exalt himself
shall be abased: and he that shall humble himself
shall be exalted. " (Matt. xxiii. l0-12; xviii. 4;
Luke xviii. 14; l Peter v. 5-6)
he put forth a parable to those that were bidden, when
he marked how they chose out the chief seats, saying
unto them, ' When thou art bidden by any to a
wedding-feast, sit not down in the highest seat; lest
a more honourable man than thou be bidden by him; and
he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, ' Give
this man place :' and thou begin with shame to take
the lowest place: But when thou art bidden, sit down
in the lowest place; that when he that bade thee
cometh he may say unto thee, ' Friend, go up higher :'
then shalt thou have glory in the eyes of those who
sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exalteth
himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself
shall be exalted." (Luke xiv. 7-ll; Greek)
force of the parable is this. -There are two estimates
of our value; the one, our own; the other, Christ’s.
Our own estimate has scope to display itself now, for,
like guests assembling, we may choose our place: and
as there are different places of honour for different
ranks, the seat we take is the manifestation of the
estimate we have formed of ourselves. But the guest's
estimate of himself is not the real one: nor is the
seat he takes the lasting place that he is to assume.
The Master of the feast, the Lord Jesus, is coming,
and he will at length and finally assign the place of
each of the guests. It becomes us therefore to be
jealous of our own thoughts of ourselves, and to
heighten our thoughts of the other guests. For if we
have taken too high a place, we shall be displaced
with shame before the assembly of the saved. But if we
have voluntarily placed ourselves too low, Christ at
his coming will set that right: and his
award to us of a higher post will give us glory in the
eyes of all the ransomed and risen saints.
objections occur to the minds of some? I will notice
one or two that are most commonly made.
Objection 1. First then it may be said, that the
parable of the Labourers in the Vineyard proves,
that there will be no difference of reward; for all
the labourers, at whatever times they were hired
during the day, receive but an equal recompence at the
we must reply, First, that we may not rest upon
a parable as proving anything contrary to the clear,
unambiguous statement of a principle in Scripture.
For, owing to the mystery that clothes the parable, it
is very possible that we may have mistaken its
meaning. Secondly, the parable in question does not
refer to the recompence of individuals, but of
classes and dispensations; as will be
apparent to any one who studies the parable.* But
thirdly, the equal recompence of all the labourers,
refers to their all alike enjoying eternal life. Thus,
the principle of reward according to works is
untouched by the parable of the vineyard-labourers.
for explanation of this parable, "The Jews, the
Gentiles, and the Church of God, in Matthew" p.38.]
Objection 2. Others, unwilling to admit differences of
reward hereafter, have said, that all such reward is
spoken of as being bestowed on the saints
in this life.
such a statement is refuted by many of the texts
already brought forward, and by others now to be
cited. For the Saviour more than once cautions His
disciples against receiving their reward now.
Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be
seen by them; otherwise ye have no reward from your
Father which is in heaven. Therefore, when
thou doest thine alms do not sound a trumpet before
thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in
the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily,
I say unto you, they HAVE their reward"
(Matt. vi. l—2)
is, ' The Pharisees obtain in this life the reward of
their good works; but be it not so with you: do you
seek to obtain yours hereafter from your Father on
high.' And the word made use of is very expressive - -
"They have their reward off-hand."
Then said he also to him that bade him, ‘ When thou
makest a dinner or a supper call (invite) not thy
friends nor thy brethren, nor thy kinsmen, nor thy
rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and
a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a
feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:
And thou shalt be blessed, for they cannot
recompense thee; for thou shalt be recompensed at the
resurrection of the just.’ " (Luke xiv.12-14)
Moreover in passages before quoted the time when each
shall receive his reward according to his works, is
declared to be at the appearing of Jesus (Matt. xvi.
27; 1 Cor. iv. 4, 5). It is when the master of the
feast comes in, that the humble guest is to be
raised from his lowly place, and to have glory in the
eyes of the rest: Luke xiv. 7. It is after we fail
that we are to give account of our stewardship, and to
be received by the friends we have made during life:
(Luke xvi. 9.) And the crown of life (together with
the others) looks forward to recompence as to be
expected only after faithfulness unto death:
(Rev. ii. 10.) But so clear is this point, that the
full strength of the proof of which it is capable, is
not attempted to be given.
PRESENT ACTS INFLUENCE FUTURE REWARD
there is a very interesting illustration of the
subject more than once used in Holy Scripture, which,
with the Lord's blessing, will confirm and seal the
principle more strongly yet upon the believer's heart.
What is the relation, then, in which our present acts
stand to the future reward? Let us listen to the
Apostle and teacher of the Gentiles.
But this I say, he which soweth sparingly shall
reap also sparingly; and he which soweth
bounteously shall reap also bounteously." (2
Cor. ix. 6)
Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a
man soweth, that shall he also reap. For
he that soweth to his own flesh, shall out of the
flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the
Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And
let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season
we shall reap, if we faint not. Therefore, as we have
opportunity, let us do good unto all, but especially
unto them who are of the household of faith: " (Gal.
vi. 7-10; Greek)
above passages we are taught, that our present deeds
stand related to the future glory, as the seed does to
the harvest. Harvest is God's natural recompence of
the labourer: and this is fixed on as the appropriate
image to teach us concerning God's future and eternal
recompence. There is no harvest without the sowing of
seed; so that he who sows not, even while he
obtains eternal life, will not attain the reward
offered. But moreover, as in nature the quantity
gathered into the barn is in the main according to the
quantity sown; thus it will be strictly in
eternity. The liberal giver will meet abundant sheaves
in the kingdom; the sparing giver will reap according
to his niggard gifts.
the Apostle teaches us, that our future harvest (in a
sense) depends on ourselves. Such as the sowing
is, such will be the reaping. But the emblem is most
special The harvest is not an average and general
balance struck; it is the exact result of the
grain sown. The sower may not remember how many grains
he cast into the soil; but there is not an ear there,
for which there was not a seed committed to the soil.
And thus our recompence will be the exact result and
requital, not of our deeds in the main and on the
average, but each special act will contribute its
part and portion to the amount; even as the harvest is
the exact aggregate of every seed sown.
holy deed then of each saint is increasing his reward;
it is seed, incapable of perishing. The corn of earth
may be destroyed by the seasons, disease, the
depredation of animals, or the violence of the
plunderer; but not so the acts of men, which are the
seeds of eternity.
RECOMPENSE TO THE UNBELIEVERS
same principle applies to the ungodly. Recompence will
be awarded to the wicked also according to their
works. For among them also there are degrees of sin,
and differences of damnation.
Whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words,
when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off
the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, it
shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and
Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city."
(Matt. x. 14, 15; xi. 20-21)
Woe unto you scribes and pharisees, hypocrites! For ye
devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long
prayer: therefore ye shall receive greater
damnation." (Matt. xxiii. 14; Luke xx. 45)
All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto
men, but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall
not be forgiven unto me. " (Matt. xii. 31)
wicked therefore may be exhorted on this ground to
abstain from sin. ‘Young man ! do not recklessly
rush into sin, contenting yourself with the
thought, that do what you may, you can but be
damned at last! Nay, but there are degrees of
damnation; and every fresh crime entails a heavier
load of punishment, is heaping up more of agony, and
treasuring to yourself a greater wrath against the day
WARNINGS FOR THE BELIEVER
same principle also applies to the transgressions of
the saint. Each trip and stumble, and open offence of
word or deed, is diminishing his reward hereafter. And
therefore the word of God gives us cautions not a few;
and teaches us that to the erroneous teacher, the
careless, worldly, cowardly, covetous, sectarian
believer, there will be shame, rebuke, and even loss
of the kingdom. For what mean such words as these?
Now if any man build upon this foundation, gold,
silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; the work
of each shall become manifest; for the day shall
declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire; and
the fire shall try the work of each, of what sort it
is. If any one’s work abide, which he hath built
thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any one’s
work be burned, he shall be fined; but he himself
shall be saved, yet so as through fire.'' (1 Cor.
iii. 12—15; Greek)
can this mean, but that each teacher shall be held
responsible for the doctrines he has taught? If he
have taught the truths of God, he shall, after his
teaching has undergone the scrutiny of Christ, receive
reward. If his doctrine has been merely or mainly the
traditions of men, he shall barely escape at last with
eternal life, but experience loss and shame, like one
escaping in terror through a house on fire.
The just shall live by faith; but if he draw back,
my soul shall have no pleasure in him." (Heb. x.
addition of "any man" is unwarrantable.]
Abide in him, that when he shall appear, we may have
confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his
coming. " (1 John ii. 28)
Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things
which we have wrought, but that we receive a full
reward. " (2 John 8)
v. " If
any defile the temple of God, him will God defile."
(1 Cor. iii. 17)
Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth,
and keepeth his garments lest he walk naked, and
they see his shame. " (Rev. xvi. 16)
"At my first defence no one stood with me, but all
forsook me; may it not be laid to their charge. "
(2 Tim. iv. 16)
an actual fact, a sin of omission on the part of the
saints in Rome; a very excusable one, to our eyes.
Yet Paul takes it for granted that it would be noted
against them, and that they would receive rebuke
because of it, unless his prayer to the contrary
prevailed on their behalf. This passage has struck me
more than almost any.
". Let no one deprive you of your reward by an
affected humility, and worshipping of angels." (Col.
That servant which knew his lord's will and prepared
not himself, neither did according to his will,
shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that
knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes,
shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever
much is given, of him shall be much required: and to
whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the
more. " (Luke xii. 47-48)
Beloved, are these things so? Then how much of
mischief has arisen from narrow and one-sided views of
the word of God! The Protestant teacher has seen that
we are justified by faith only; but has
depreciated good works, fearing lest the pernicious
doctrine of Rome should overpower the truth. Thus
however he has put out of sight many most important
statements of Scripture; and has himself lost, and has
kept back from the saints instructed by him, a motive
and stimulus to exertion, which God intended to bring
to bear on every conscience. We are taught that to
have "respect unto the recompence of reward" is one of
the motives of the child of faith, which enables him
to overcome the world (Heb. xi 24-26).
see that God presents two objects to us, sets them on
different grounds, the difficulty is removed.
Eternal life is ours as soon as we believe, but to
enter the millennial kingdom is a matter of
reward. Let us put therefore good works in their due
place, and then exhort to them.
For the grace of God teaches, that denying ungodliness
and worldly lusts, we should live soberly,
righteously, and godly, in this present age,
looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the
glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ ;* who
gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all
iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people,
zealous of good works. These things speak and
exhort, and rebuke with all authority. " (Titus
ii. 1-15; Greek)
the preaching of good works is commanded: and the very
end of Jesus' death was to procure a people zealous
for good works.
This is a faithful saying, and these things I will
that thou affirm constantly, that they which have
believed in God be careful to maintain good works."
( Titus iii. 8)
conclude. It has been customary to take for granted,
that every believer, in virtue of his faith, fulfills
all the commands of his Lord. But is this true?
usual to suppose, that all the saints, when they
appear before our Lord Jesus Christ, will be received
with joy. But do not several Scriptures teach that
some will be ashamed before Him at His coming; and
speak of confidence, joy, and praise, in the presence
of Christ, as peculiar blessings, to be carefully
i. " My
little children, let us not love in word, neither in
tongue, but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know
that we are of the truth, and shall assure our
hearts before him." (1 John iii. 18-19)
"God is love: and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth
in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made
perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of
judgment: because, as he is, so are we in this
world." (1 John iv. 16-17)
The Lord make you to increase and abound in love one
toward another and toward all, even as we do toward
you, to the end he may stablish your hearts
unblamable in holiness before God even our Father in
the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his
saints." (1 Thess. iii. 12-13; Greek)
deep solemnity would I take leave of the subject,
commending it to the careful and prayerful regard of
all the saints: desiring that they may see in it a
call to exercise all their opportunities and powers
for God, and to burn with a holy ambition for the
glories of the kingdom. And, on the other hand, a
sense of our infirmities and many trespasses should
teach us to hold fast "grace, whereby we may
serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
For our God is a consuming fire. " (Heb. x. 28,