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Your Eternal Reward: Triumph and Tears at the Judgment Seat of Christ (Eternity) Paperback – January 9, 1998
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From the Back Cover
When we reflect on how we lived for Christ, we might weep on the other side of the celestial gates.
To their own detriment, many Christians have emptied the judgment seat of Christ of its meaning, living like they will never meet His knowing gaze. For this they may have tears in heaven.
In this provocative book, Dr. Erwin Lutzer argues that remorse in heaven awaits those who don't live fully for God on earth. Exploring the often-overlooked Scriptures about reward and judgment for Christians, Dr. Lutzer answers questions like:
- How will believers be judged?
- Do rewards for faithfulness vary?
- If heaven is perfect, why do rewards even matter?
His answers are immensely practical. Your Eternal Reward will prompt you to live more faithfully, whether in your conduct, your speech, or even your use of money, that you might enjoy heaven all the more.
What is sown on earth is reaped in heaven, and Dr. Lutzer will have you taking this truth seriously.
About the Author
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NOTE: For anyone reading this review, two important things:
1) As believers we are secure eternally! If you have received the new birth and Christ lives in you, God will not somehow cause you to be "unborn." This would also be unrighteous for Him to do. However, Christians are accountable for their works after the new birth. Lutzer brings this point out very well.
2) In Matthew 25 the two faithful servants receive praise and a reward from their master for doubling what had been entrusted to them. Notice what he tells them - "Well done good and faithful servant! You have been faithful in a FEW THINGS, I will put you over many things. Enter into the joy of your master!" I emphasized "few things" because I missed this for a long time. He praises them for being faithful in just a FEW things - not a bunch of really big works. This is what Christ says - a FEW THINGS!
For instance, Hebrews 11 is full of people who did things in faith, but none of them were perfect by any means (Abraham trying to give Sarah away twice; David murdering and adulterating). They just showed faith to God at a certain moment (think of Sampson – he finished well). God took a "snapshot" of their instances of faith, and the Holy Spirit recorded them in Hebrews 11. Christ said, "My yoke is easy and My burden is light," in Matthew 11:30.
So don't fall into the trap and accept the lie that only SuperSaints will receive praise and reward. I thought that for many years and experienced much needless condemnation. If we are faithful in at least a FEW THINGS, we will hear those wonderful words, "Well done good and faithful servant!"
I believe this is a doctrine that all Christians should know, the Judgment Seat of Christ and the conditional ruling through out eternity with Christ. Not all Christians will reign with Christ. This is a life changing doctrine.
Just a couple of outtakes from the book:
p. 68, 69 "What kind of lifestyle might cause us to lose our inheritance? We can lose our reward both by the sins we commit and the opportunities we squander. Certainly all believers inherit heaven with its opportunity to serve Christ and worship at the throne. But there is another inheritance, a special reward given to the faithful. This second kind of reward is sometimes spoken of as "inheriting eternal life". .... To possess eternal life you simply need faith in Christ; to truly inherit it, you need faith and obedience."
p. 151 "Rewards, particularly ruling with Christ, should not be taken as a foregone conclusion for all believers. We have observed that almost every time reigning with Christ is mentioned, it is always conditional. Successful suffering, overcoming, and faithfulness are generally spoken of as the qualifications. With these come special honors."
He had a chapter "Taking It with You" being faith with money and investing wisely and a great example on when Germany declared all the "Mark" currency no longer accepted in Germany. Basically, be wise and invest in eternity.
This books is influenced by at least two books (see his footnotes):
Destined for the Throne, Paul Billheimer and Reign of the Servant Kings, Joseph Dillow.
But mostly by one book: The Holy Bible.
p. 58 " "Fear not, little flock; for it is you Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom (Luke 12:32). Let me repeat that the idea that we should reign with God's Son is not ours, but His. God's desire is to display His wonder and grace throughout all of eternity (Eph 2:7)"
p. 131 "Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or mother or children or farms from My name's sake, shall receive many times as much, and shall inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last; and the last, first (Matt 19:28-30)
p. 149 "And he who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations" (Rev 2:26)
Top international reviews
A thorough and very readable, biblical exegesis of what appears to be a largely neglected subject - the doctrine of rewards for believers at the judgement seat of Christ!
Over several chapters, Dr Lutzer describes from the Bible, the different rewards given by the Lord: clarifying their significance and stressing the importance of `running the race' and `overcoming' in this life. Dr Lutzer emphasises, '...those who trust Christ alone for their salvation are redeemed, eternally forgiven, and legally perfect.' Nevertheless, he highlights the biblical teaching that believers, although not losing their salvation, will receive the consequences of their wrongs.
'The way we live here,' he writes, 'will have eternal, unchangeable, and profound consequences.' `Rewards,' he continues, `are based on our faithfulness to opportunities presented to us since conversion.'
After the rapture, all believers will have to give an account to Christ, of their service for Him. Words, motives and actions since conversion will be tested by fire (1 Corinthians 3:15). This challenging and provocative book is a timely encouragement and a warning to evaluate our lifestyles in the light of that impending appointment.