“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.” (Hebrews 11:6, NIV)
The theme for the recent AFLC Conference was “God rewards the faithful” based on the Bible verse from Hebrews above. I’ve been puzzling over this. What is our reward? Some proponents of the “prosperity gospel” would have us believe that if we’re faithful we’ll receive worldly rewards — plenty of money, a great house, good health and so on. Others may assume that faith will ensure a happy family life and good relationships. Obviously, that isn’t true. And a careful reading of the context of this verse (the hall of fame of faith, it’s been called) lists people who suffered in a variety of ways. Yes, some were healed or spared from injury or saw miracles, but others:
“… were tortured…. faced jeers and flogging…were stoned… sawed in two…persecuted and mistreated…” Hebrews 11:35-37
Doesn’t sound like a great reward, does it? In Chapter 12, we see the rest of the story. When we endure suffering for God’s sake, because of our faith:
“…it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace…” Hebrews 12:11
Our reward is reconciliation with God through the imputed righteousness of Christ. If you’re wondering what this is here’s a definition:
“Imputed righteousness” is the doctrine affirming that the personal righteousness of Jesus Christ is instantly transferred to a sinner at the point of “saving faith.” Accordingly, the believer ceases to be the sinner he was and forthwith becomes a new creation–a perfectly righteous person.
When through faith, we become righteous, we will also be fruitful. Not prosperous in the things of the world, but in the things of God. We can be peaceful because we know that God is in control of our lives and will work all things out for our good, and the good of others. What reward is better than that?
For more posts about the book of Hebrews see:
Interactive Bible Study-Hebrews Chapter 13
Thankful for Leaders –Hebrews Chapter 13