Read Hebrews 11:6. What should this verse mean to us? How should we respond to what it says? See also Revelation 22:12, Isaiah 40:10, and Isaiah 62:11. What do all these texts teach us?
The reward from God to His faithful children is unique and, like many spiritual things, may be beyond our finite understanding. “Human language is inadequate to describe the reward of the righteous. It will be known only to those who behold it. No finite mind can comprehend the glory of the Paradise of God.” — Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 675.
Jesus concluded the Beatitudes, which opens the Sermon on the Mount, with these words: “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12, , NKJV). After listing the people of faith in Hebrews 11:1-40, the author begins the next chapter explaining why Jesus was willing to die on the cross.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2, , NKJV).
Being rewarded for faithfulness, however, is not the same as salvation by works. Who among us, or among any of the characters in the Bible, had works good enough to give them any merit before God? None, of course. That’s the whole point of the cross. If we could have saved ourselves by works, Jesus never would have gone to the cross. Instead, it must be by grace. “And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work” (Romans 11:6, NKJV). Rewards, instead, are the mere outworking of what God has done for us and in us.
|How do we understand the difference between salvation by grace and a reward according to works? Bring your answer to class on Sabbath.|