Did you know that Thomas Jefferson cut up his Bible?
He didn’t believe in miracles. So he cut them out.
He didn’t believe in hell. So he cut it out.
He didn’t believe in Jesus’ resurrection. So he cut it out.
Isn’t that horrible? Who would do that to the inspired Word of God?
Every time we ignore a difficult part of Scripture, we’re cutting up our Bibles.
One teaching that we seem to “cut out” is eternal rewards. I’ve talked to many Christians who either minimize, explain away, or outright deny that God ever promises to grant additional rewards in heaven for faithfulness on earth.
So last week I pulled a “Thomas Jefferson.” I grabbed an old Bible, and I started cutting out all the sections that speak about rewards. And do you know what? I cut out more than 58 sections of Scripture!
Here are just two examples:
I brought that tethered Bible to church and showed my congregation. Most people were surprised to see how often God speaks about this forgotten teaching.
But it also raised lots of questions. Some wondered, “How are we supposed to understand rewards? Does that mean heaven is a reward for my performance?”
How are we supposed to understand “eternal rewards”?
God knows that you are under attack from the evil one, and your own nature is all too complicit. So, in love, he encourages you to follow him by promising to reward you.
Give it a try.
Jesus doesn’t want us to just have a theological discussion about eternal rewards. He wants us to believe his promises and put his Word into practice (Matthew 7:24).
So let’s say you’re trying to make a change. Maybe you’re trying to overcome an addiction to pornography. Here’s what Jesus is saying: “Yes, be motivated by God’s love. Yes, be motivated by Jesus’ sacrifice. But also remember that every time you say no to sin and yes to God, “you will surely not lose your reward.”
Pastor Ben Sadler has served as a full-time pastor since 2010. He began his ministry serving a Spanish-speaking congregation in Florida. Since March 2014, he has served at Goodview Trinity Church in Minnesota. He is married to Emily, and they have three children. Ben loves to spend time with his family, ride his road bike, read, write, and preach.
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