It is an Honor to Serve the King, and...
“So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” 2 Corinthians 5:6-10
The primary motivation for honoring Christ is the ongoing understanding of the grace and mercy of the forgiveness of sins, our union with him and the hope of Heaven. (I Corinthians 15:10; Titus 3:3-8)
“So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’” Luke 17:10
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” I Corinthians 6:19-20
“Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” Hebrews 13:7
After Paul underscores the glory of the coming eternal building/body, prepared for us by the Lord eternal in Heaven, he emphasizes the fact that our ambition is to be pleasing to the Lord AND he speaks of the rewards at the judgment seat of Christ.
The Primary Motivation
An Additional Motivation: Rewards from the Lord
"After he has received us unto favor, he receives our works also by gracious acceptance. It is on this that the reward hinges. There is no INCONSISTENCY in saying that he rewards good works, provided we understand mankind attains eternal life only by grace through faith."
John Calvin, Commentary on 2 Corinthians, p 226
“The rewards that God will give his people are also motivational. (Psalm 19:11; Matt 5:6, 14, 6:1, 10:41-42, etc.) I am engaged in some textual overkill here, because some Christians think it is unseemly to consider the rewards that God offers to his faithful servants. Certainly, our works do not merit the rewards of Heaven, but God promises them to us and he often uses them to MOTIVATE OUR SERVICE. The Christian ethics is not Ideologism, an ethic of duty for duty’s sake, with no consideration of blessing. In Scripture, what glorifies God also glorifies man. God’s best interest is also ours.” John Frame, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief, pp. 173,174
“Scripture teaches that there will be degrees of reward for believers. Paul encourages the Corinthians to be careful how they build the church on the foundation that has already been laid (by Jesus Christ himself: 1 Corinthians 3:12-15) Paul similarly says of Christians that ‘We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that each one will receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad’ (2 Corinthians 5:10), again implying degrees of reward for what we have done in this life...It would be morally and spiritually beneficial for us to have a greater consciousness of this clear New Testament teaching on degrees of heavenly reward, rather than making us competitive with one another, it would cause us to help and encourage one another that we may all increase our heavenly reward, for God has infinite capacity to bring blessing to us all and we are all members of one another. (I Cor 12:26-27).” Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, pp. 1144-1145
The Importance of Understanding Rewards
It helps to build encouragement and dogged (resolute, tenacious) perseverance in the life of a believer (I Corinthians 15:58; Galatians 6:7-10).
It elevates the high calling and dignity of believers as they exercise their gifts and bless others in kingdom advancement. (Right now counts forever.)
It establishes priorities (2 Peter 3:11-13).
It compels believers to obedience and purity (I John 3:2-3).
It gives us a watchful readiness in welcoming the coming of Christ. Our lack of knowledge regarding the time of Jesus’ return has ethical implications. For that lack of knowledge implies we must be ready (Matthew 24:44; I Thessalonians 5:1-10; I Peter 1:7; 2 Peter 3:14). When he comes, we want him to find us busy in our callings and in the works of the Great Commission and kingdom advancement.
How does our understanding of rewards in Heaven lead to motivation? Do you view this motivation as secondary?
Consider Galatians 6:7-10: Why does this teaching help produce tenacious and resolute perseverance in Christian faith? How does this teaching proclaim, “Right now counts forever," and significantly underscore the importance of the way we live our lives as God’s called out people?
What kind of attitudes do we have in showing a watchful readiness in welcoming Christ’s return?