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162 Is Salvation a Reward or a Gift?

There are many Bible verses that say salvation is gift. Then there are other places the Bible talks about a reward based on our behaviour. So which is it? Is salvation a reward or a gift. Join us on this journey as we bring clarity to the confusion.

The pdf is on our website www.rediscoveringgod.ca.





162 Gifts and Rewards
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SHOW NOTES


Gifts and Rewards


Life is a gift we received from our parents at birth. We did nothing to deserve this gift. It is given unconditionally. , Good parents never take it away from us. If we use our time, talents and energy wisely we will be rewarded, in most cases, with appreciation, recognition, material prosperity and status.


Salvation is a pure gift for sinners.


A gift is not to be confused with wages, benefits, bribes and incentives. All these objects are to benefit the source. They are “given” to encourage the recipient to benefit the source. A gift originates with the giver out of the goodness of their heart. The giver expects nothing in return. If the giver expects a return, then it is an investment or a bribe. The so-called gift was conditional and in proportion to the expected return. It is thus a bribe.


This must lead to the question, “Does God give us salvation so we can praise and obey him?” If this is true then salvation itself has become a bribe.


John 3:16 NLT “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.


John 3:17 NLT God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save (or heal) the world through him.


John 4:10 NLT Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.


Romans 6:23 NIV For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Ephesians 2:4-7 NLT But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.


Ephesians 2:8-10 NLT God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.


Colossians 1:21-22 NLT This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.


Colossians 2:13-14 NLT You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.


Titus 3:3-7 NLT Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. 4 But—When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, 5 he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.[a] 6 He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. 7 Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.


Revelation 19:7-8 NLT Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honor to him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself. She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.” For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people.


Rewards are Earned.


There are many passages which indicate that there are rewards for the way we spend our lives. Sometimes these passages are used to suggest that we are saved by our works. This is not true as has been shown above. However, are rewards as the following passages indicate.


Job 42:10, 12-15 NLT When Job prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes. In fact, the LORD gave him twice as much as before! 12 So the LORD blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning. For now he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 teams of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. 13 He also gave Job seven more sons and three more daughters. 14 He named his first daughter Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. 15 In all the land no women were as lovely as the daughters of Job. And their father put them into his will along with their brothers.


Proverbs 11:18 NIV A wicked person earns deceptive wages, but the one who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward.


Jeremiah 17:9-10 NIV The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”


Matthew 6:2 NIV So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.


Matthew 6:3-4 NIV But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.


Matthew 6:6 NIV But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.


Matthew 6:16-18 NIV When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.


Matthew 25:21 NIV His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’


Mark 10:28-30 NLT Then Peter began to speak up. “We’ve given up everything to follow you,” he said. 29 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, 30 will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life.


Luke 12:37 NLT The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat!


Romans 2:6 NIV God “will repay each person according to what they have done.”


Galatians 6:9 NIV Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.


1 Corinthians 9:25 NIV Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.


Colossians 3:23-24 NIV Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.


2 Timothy 4:7-8 NIV I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.


Hebrews 11:6 NIV And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.


James 1:12 NIV Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.


2 John 1:8 NIV Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully.


Revelation 3:21 NIV To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.


Revelation 22:12 NIV Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.


The Greatest Reward.


Imagine meeting king David and explaining to him the magnificence of the Messiah who is one of his descendants. Imagine meeting the thief off the cross and being able to explain the wonder of God and his Christ to him. Imagine meeting people who credit you for your part in bringing salvation to them. What greater reward is there than knowing you were part of God’s salvation work for others. What a reward it would be if God tapped you on the shoulder and sent you to share your experience with a being in a distant galaxy who is wondering if God is really love.


Ian Hartley, May 2024



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