The merit of Jesus, our reward
The Bible talks about reward, but none of us can do anything to earn this reward. So how does this fit together? It’s actually very simple: the merit is Jesus’ alone. And He shares out the reward to those who follow Him. Thoughts from a divine service by the Chief Apostle.
Finally, after eight years, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider was able to be in Sydney, Australia, again. On 1 May 2022 he conducted a divine service based on Revelation 22: 12: “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.”
A complicated Bible text…
Taken literally, the Bible text could lead one to believe that the faithful will be rewarded for their good behaviour and that they will receive what they deserve. “And we are all convinced that we deserve the best,” the Chief Apostle said. But the reward, he said, is eternal life and perfect fellowship with God. And who of us could say that they deserve eternal life? “The only one who deserves eternal life and fellowship with God is Jesus Christ, because He was the only one without sin. No one else deserves eternal life. No one deserves salvation. So you see, it’s quite a complicated word.”
…explained in a simple way by the Chief Apostle
In attempting to explain the biblical statement, the Chief Apostle said: “Let me propose a solution: it is not our reward, but His reward.” Through grace, believers can share in this reward. Jesus wants to share the reward.
- He committed no sin. “He wants to share this merit, and we can share in His merit by obtaining grace.”
- He put on the resurrection body: “We will get the same body, and we will be transformed into His image.”
- God gave Jesus all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28: 18). “With this authority He will complete His work of redemption and lead us into the new creation.”
- God also gave Him authority to execute judgement (John 5: 27). “Every human being will be judged according to His word and according to Jesus Christ.”
Not a threat, but a promise
“To receive the reward and to benefit from it, we have to do God’s work. The work is not just a number of deeds, of good deeds, we have done, the work is the work of our lifetime.” In order to be able to share in Jesus’ reward, we have to
- believe in Jesus Christ,
- love God and the neighbour,
- become more like Jesus,
- act like a member of the body of Christ
- be steadfast and watchful until Jesus returns.
“Now we can understand this Bible text a little bit better,” the Chief Apostle said after his explanations. He went on to summarise his thoughts as follows: “He will come with His merit, and if we are faithful, if we love Him, He is ready to forgive us everything and we can have grace.” This “if” is not intended as a threat, he said. “It is fantastic,” the Chief Apostle said, “a fantastic promise of our Lord Jesus. Don’t worry, I will come and you will share in My reward, My wages. Not what you deserve, but what I deserved. I will share this with you. But do the work of God, remain faithful, love one another, be one, and be steadfast until the end. Behold, I am coming quickly.”