Rewards in Heaven
Calvinists are not only completely mistaken on the biblical theme of redemption; they are also completely wrong with respect to the biblical topic of rewards in heaven. Oddly enough, their error stems from the wrong premise that humility, modesty and meekness are founded on the correct attitude to God’s absolute sovereignty. Allow me to explain. In their estimate, the slightest observance of faith or trust in God, especially in the procurement of your salvation, is superciliousness in the extreme and demeans the absolute sovereignty of God. Hence, God must at all costs sovereignly and monergistically (unilaterally) regenerate only his elect so that his absolute sovereignty ought not to be compromised. To my mind, this is feigned humility that not only maligns God’s love, the very essence of his Being, but leads multitudes into a maelstrom of deception. It is a deception that borders very close on Jesus’ warning in Matthew 23:13:
But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. (Emphasis added).
Only the final Judgement will reveal how many poor souls will be eternally lost because they were told to believe the vile doctrines of Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace and Perseverance of the Saints. Referring to the pronouncement of this doctrine at the Synod of Dort, England’s King James of King James Bible fame, though he was no Arminian, expressed his repugnance:
This doctrine is so horrible, that I am persuaded, if there were a council of unclean spirits assembled in hell, and their prince the devil were to [ask] their opinion about the most likely means of stirring up the hatred of men against God their Maker; nothing could be invented by them that would be more efficacious for this purpose, or that could put a greater affront upon God’s love for mankind than that infamous decree of the late Synod . . . (King James I; in Jacobus Arminius, The Works of James Arminius, trans. James and William Nichols (Baker Book House, 1986), 1:213).
One of the most dangerous offshoots of their feigned humility is their adamant belief that man does not have a free-will. Humility, in Jesus’ own words, is something you need to learn, through experience, from Him personally (Matthew 11:29). In order to learn something, you must have the freedom of choice. Enforced learning, i.e. a learning process that is void of any means to the making of calculated choices, leads to disaster. When Jesus said “learn from me” He actually said “give your yoke of sins and transgressions to Me, take up my yoke and see for yourself (and begin to understand experientially) that my yoke is soft and easy to bear.” He never forces his yoke on anyone. His yoke is to be taken in the very same way his Living Water is to be taken (Revelation 22:17), which clearly implies that man must exercise his own free choice to either receive or to reject his yoke ( and Living Water).
Calvinism announces there are no rewards in heaven
Their lop-sided view of God’s sovereignty forces them yet again to feign humility by making public announcements that heaven does not afford any kind of recompense to the saints because God cannot accept any shape or form of works saints do in their mortal bodies. If that were true, we would have to remove from holy Writ a great deal of passages relating to the giving and receiving of rewards in heaven. So, to prove that our Calvie friends are totally wrong once again, let’s turn our attention to what the Bible says about rewards in heaven.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10)
Paul makes it very clear that the things saints do in their bodies may either be good or bad which completely debunks the Calvinist view that they are only capable of doing bad things in their mortal bodies. “Good” and “bad” are not used in the sense of being sinful (bad) or not sinful (good). The word “kakos” used here for “bad” describes something that is worthless and fruitless and relates particularly to the doing of works in the flesh, by means of the flesh and in behalf of the flesh. It is devoid of the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Paul alludes to these kinds of fruitless works in his second epistle to the Corinthians.
And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)
Both the bad (worthless, fruitless) and good (Holy Spirit empowered) works the saints had done in their mortal bodies are going to be tested by the consuming fire of God (Hebrews 12:29) at the Bema Throne Judgement subsequent to the Rapture.
For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (1 Corinthians 3:9-15).
The saints are all co-labourers with God and they are going to be rewarded by God Himself for the things they had done in their earthly, mortal bodies. There is no doubt about that. In Revelation 22:12 Jesus says: “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” and in Revelation 3: 11 He says: “Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” The works the saints have done and to which they must hold fast, are the works the Holy Spirit wrought through them. Is it possible for a saint to lose his reward/s? According to Jesus mortal man is capable of robbing God’s saints of their reward/s and crowns.
What are these rewards/crowns we will receive in heaven?
- An incorruptible crown for those who triumph over their old fleshly nature (1 Corinthians 9:25)
- A crown of rejoicing for the soul winners (1 Thessalonians 2:19)
- A crown of life for those who endure temptations (James 1:12)
- A crown of righteousness for those who love his appearance (at the Rapture) (2 Timothy 4:8)
- An incorruptible crown of glory who loyally tend to and feed the sheep and the lambs with the right spiritual food (1 Peter 5:4)
“I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one may rob you and deprive you of your crown.” Revelation 3:11 – Beware of those who tell you that there are no rewards in heaven; they are the ones who rob you of your rewards/crowns, in particular those Calvinists who do not believe in rewards.