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I have tried twice somewhere on CRC site to get a discussion going on the 2 judgements; it seems that most CRs are scared of this idea;  a welcome exception is Joel Nederhood in The Forever People, pp. 200-201. He says there are 2 books, and essentially 2 judgements. 

I am inclined to believe; I'll include some relevant Scripture.:

Two separate Judgements. CEV;   Rev 20:….re 2 part, or   6-27-10

The Judgment at the Great White Throne

 11I saw a great white throne with someone sitting on it…..

12I also saw all the dead people standing in front of that throne. Every one of them was there, no matter who they had once been. Several books were opened, and then the book of life[b]was opened. The dead were judged by what those books said they had done.

15Anyone whose name wasn't written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.



For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works" (Matthew 16:27).


I would like to know what happens when I send this ... cyberspace??


hmmm...   another scripture with a similar concept to the Matt. 16:27 that has been on my heart re the judgment is in I Cor.3  where our work will be revealed for what's eternal and what's not, with great regret for investing in what is not and some reward for what does make it through the fire and is eternal.  

the reward concept for what we do, is also mentioned in Matt. 6:4 with giving, 6b with prayer, 18 with fasting,  and 19-21 and  Luke 6:35 as well as several other places,  so at some point between now and eternity this is going to be determined somehow.    and then we have the whole crown concept, where we receive crowns for various reasons.  From my perspective, I feel like we in the CRC kind of have had a disdain for the reward aspect of good works... and that we're not too focus on them at all, just the fact that we are grateful for our salvation - which of course we are...  so I'm not sure why scripture mentions the concept if that's not suppose to be a motivator at all.   I know the reformed position is that all our good works are out of gratitude for salvation...  but again, I'm not sure why scripture brings rewards up at all - let alone in several places, if we're not suppose to be influenced by the idea.  

As far as I understand, the Book of Life is what we're thankful that our names our written in because that means we have salvation through Christ.   The other books are our works which will also be judged and if they are not eternal (hay, wood, straw) they will be burned up and we will suffer loss (we will have regret), but the believer will still have salvation because they believed in Jesus and their name is in the Book of Life.  But if our works are eternal (silver, gold, precious stones) we will receive some reward according to our labor (I Cor. 3:8).  As far as I understand our sin and our works are 2 different things... because our sins are gone as far as the east is from the west, so Praise God, we never have to see those ugly things again...  Now as far as the works are concerned... what's eternal?   the Word of God, so knowing and treasuring the Word of God in our hearts is eternal, I believe prayer is at least partially eternal based on the prayer bowls in Rev. 5.   Our relationship with Jesus is eternal, people's souls are eternal, per Matt. 6, giving, praying and fasting (haven't I mentioned fasting on another post) have the potential of reward... not sure if it's eternal or not...  Again, the CRC, at least in my experience, stays away from any reward idea other than salvation which of course isn't a reward but a gift, and our reward should be hell, that's what we deserve for our sin - which is true.   So can't say I remember too many, if any sermons or teachings on rewards other than we shouldn't do things focusing on the reward, but simply out of gratitude.

I do think about how I'm spending my resources, ie time, energy, finances, whether they  are temporal or eternal, but, as far as end times stuff, I find the discussions interesting, but my very simple position, is whatever happens - whether it's pre, post, or mid trib, pre, post, or no millenial, rapture, or none of the above, I trust God - He promises He will not leave or forsake me and He will watch over me, including every hair on my head, and so I will be ready every day so that when that time comes for me I'm ready.  I'm wearing His garments of salvation, and His Robes of righteousness and ready for that wedding supper of the Lamb - King Jesus.


Ok, definitely interested in anyone else's understanding of these concepts....  so thank you Mr. Vander Zee for being brave in bringing up this "iron sharpening iron" discussion...

forgot to mention worship as eternal...  how about the fruits of the Spirit?  and don't our trials and sufferings have some eternal value...

While the word "works" sometimes seems to imply something we do as separate from our faith, the book of James also makes clear that faith without works is dead.   I wonder if faith itself might even be considered a "work"?   Somewhere it even mentions that faith is a gift, in the context of gifts of he spirit, as if some have more faith than others.   Or while all believers have faith, some have a particular gift of faith.  


I'm pretty well with Bev on this one, that I'm quite glad if works are rewarded in some manner, as when Jesus gave the parable of the talents, for example.  But if I was only motivated for works because of the rewards, then it seems to me that other sins of pride and selfishness and self-centeredness would creep in.   Maybe at that point we would then be close to those of whom the Lord said that there will be some who say, "Lord, Lord", at the last day, but shall not enter.    I'm at the point therefore that if there are rewards I am quite happy if others are rewarded more than I, or I will be happy to receive whatever rewards God grants, since if we should be content in this world, how could we not be content in the world to come?  


Bev Sterk on June 2, 2011

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Good thoughts...  enjoy reading your perspectives on this...  iron sharpening iron is one of my favorite proverbs, and sometimes it's hard work to wrestle through some of this and figure out what your thoughts are on it, but oh, it is so worth it when the break through comes and you get fresh insight and understanding on something...  how precious are Your thoughts, LORD, totally worth the searching and sharpening.

that faith is our work, triggered a memory of reading that in scripture somewhere, but the closest thing I can find right now is Rom 4:5; but it seemed like it was more directly stated than that verse... something like, that is our work, our faith...  maybe it was 2 Thess. 1.11 NKJV or 1 Timothy 1:4 NIV... but our "work" definitely includes obedience, whatever that might look like for each person.  Definitely the universal calls to obedience such as the 10 commandments - those are a given call for every believer, but also the direct personal calls of Holy Spirit promptings for very specific leading and guidance from Him to carry out specific tasks... like a call to become a pastor or missionary,  that's not everyone's call, but it is a personal call for some, or simply a call to pray for someone as directed by the Spirit, maybe a call to fast for a certain time with a specific focus, or a call to worship instead of watch the super bowl, some calls are once in a lifetime and some are for your lifetime, and some are for a season.

that faith is a gift of the Spirit is 1 Cor. 12:9.  I agree that to a degree we all have faith, but there are some with an extraordinary measure of faith as a gift from the Holy Spirit...  I have been digging into this passage on the gifts from the Holy Spirit a lot as I'm working on getting better understanding of these gifts, particularly the supernatural aspect of them, as that has been a gap in my training...  I feel this has been an area where we (CRC) have struggled due to our cessationist tradition, and now we are still very cautious and I often find people in the conservative congregations quite skeptical of any miraculous, "supernatural" manifestation of these gifts... with a polite response of "that's interesting".  So I'm always interested when these gifts are brought up in the CRC...hehehehe :) 

but back to rewards and motivations, a sermon by Paris Reidhead, an evangelist/revivalist during the 1950-70's, has a very interesting sermon titled... "10 shekels and a shirt", and how a trip to Africa really reversed his whole perspective on his motivation to do good works (on page 5).   I'll post the link.. (looks like you can probably even read it in Dutch =)


basically, our motive becomes about that we are Jesus' reward, that our souls are Jesus' reward (Rev. 22:12/Is. 40:10/ I Cor. 15:23), and He deserves the reward for His suffering, that becomes our motive for being obedient, because He is deserving of it and no less (Philippians 2:5-11)...  every knee will bow and every tongue will confess whether they are grateful or not...  and since we are grateful, we can start now!

I don't think it's wrong if our motives are the rewards...maybe that's a starting place for believers and that could be why it's mentioned several times, and then as we grow in our faith, the LORD works in our hearts as we mature in our walk with Him, and it will become more about His reward than ours.  As was mentioned, the Holy Spirit will work on our hearts to convict and correct where we are off.   But probably, no matter where you are at on your walk with Him, the thought of rewards is encouraging, that what we are doing is meaningful and eternal...   The reward to be with Jesus forever is more than enough, but it's still fun to think about other rewards too!   and it helps us focus on what's eternal and what's not...  if we thought it didn't make any difference what we do on our journey, we might all be watching Jeopardy or Survivor or playing solitaire most of the time instead of being salt and light in the world, or think that our hour or two on Sunday with Him is enough to show our gratefulness and the rest of the week is for whatever we want.  But we know we will be held accountable for what we have been given.

So, let's invest our treasures in heaven/eternity/Jesus.... for there our heart will be also.


thanks for the sharpening!




I've come across this as well I think from the folks at The White Horse Inn, Alistair Begg, John Piper, Mark Driscoll et al.  I don't remember it being spoken much of in the CRC or college and seminary--it might have, but if so, I missed it. 

I like what everyone has written, these are good things to think through, I resonate with John on this, worried about wrong motivations.  Then again, as people living in the already but not yet, we'll always be struggling with right and wrong motivations.  Isaiah said that all our good deeds are as filthy rags (menstrual cloths).  So, of course, as to salvation, we're saved by grace through faith, which is a gift, so that no one can boast.  However, good deeds, works, are expected of us, and because of the Holy Spirit's residing in us, we're promised to be able to do greater things than Christ.  Paul also teaches that the good things he was able to do was through God at work in him.  So, even the rewards we receive from God are on account of God working in us, and God will always receive the glory.  Still, as Romans 7 teaches, we can still chose to not do right, but God promises to do good in us, he's the faithful one, who begins and finishes.  Yes, we can grieve the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit convicts us when that happens, and He works in us to pursue righteousness.

I find that in myself, as a pastor, I'm always trying to be worthy of the calling, always failing, never ever coming close to living up to it.  Many times I get in the pulpit and think, "What am I doing here?  Who am I to be here?"  But those are the wrong questions, that's the wrong thing to think.  I'm here because God chose me for this.  I can't be good enough, I can't earn it.  Rather, God appointed me to it.  So rather than worrying about how good or not good I am, I simply have to do what I can do, trusting that God is working in me to will and to do.  Does that make sense?  As you can imagine, I'm still thinking through these things!

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