LIFETIME WITHOUT SEEING A REWARD

Last summer I read a tantalizing article with this thought, plus a question for its readers.

“A lifetime without seeing a reward….”

Tremendous thought today from ______, based on Malachi 3:13. In his full page of meditations, he says, “The reluctant say that it is “futile” to serve Him. There is no “gain” in keeping His commands, Malachi 3:14,15. These people believe religion ought to pay big dividends now. It ought to bring great rewards immediately. The general feeling is that folks surely will not serve God for nothing, Job 1:9. In spite of that sentiment, the faithful may live a lifetime without seeing a reward, Hebrews 11:13.”

Focus question: When it seems there’s no advantage to faith, what’s wrong with my thinking?

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New Testament encouragement does not promise earthly rewards for obedience, and if the Old Testament were given for our schoolmaster, why don’t we read to find answers there?

Even without consulting a concordance, we can remember details of God’s promises to Abraham along with Abraham’s faithfulness and belief in the Father and his promises—without doubting.

What about Job and his resolute affirmation, “I have not sinned?” Was God his defender? Who proved to be right about Job’s affliction, Job or the friends?

There are two Psalms I don’t like to read – by Heman and one other like him, considered to be wise compared to Solomon. They don’t have any hope throughout the entire Psalm. This may not be a necessary study, but here are some references in case you want to check who these men are (1 Chr. 2:4-61 Chr. 15:16-19).

Those who claim there is no reward from God seem to forget that all their ‘blessings’ or ‘rewards’ come from the one they despise (Psa. 73:1-28). They fail to see they are not plagued like others. Therefore, they are blinded – willingly so – and give credit to their own hands for all the good God gives them (see also Sennacharib, etc.).

Second, God put more joy in David’s heart than the others when their wine and oil were increased (Psa. 4:7). Note also from where David’s reward came (Psa. 19:7-11). Paul’s joy (of which he boasted) was in seeing himself growing in the image of Christ – for an eternal reward in the here and now. Actually, all the other joys that could come on Judgment Day pale in comparison to the fact that we are getting the major reward right now, through trials and tribulation, in which we grow in the image of Christ, the image of the Divine Nature (if we are indeed growing).

We are saved by hope, and if there is no ‘evidence’ of eternal reward here, it could make one wonder if there is any hope.

Yet, we still see hope and a grand lesson in Abraham’s promises and his not setting foot on the soil he was promised.

● Acts 7:5—Abraham didn’t inherit enough to put his foot on

5 And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child.

● Genesis 28:4—Abraham did walk in the land he was to inherit

4 And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham.

● Hebrews 11:13

13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

● Hebrews 11:39-40

39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:

40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

Jesus, nor Paul, saw their reward in this life, but they acknowledged that the resurrection was THE proof that they and we will inherit!

METANOIA (REPENTANCE)

Lack of knowledge of word meanings in their original language can often cause us to completely misunderstand the words they have become in English. That in turn can mean a whole world full of mistranslations because many modern Bible translations are taken from the English rather than the Hebrew or Greek.

I hope today’s word study can be read with that view in mind.  My intent is to help us all to see the deeper meaning of the word repent in the KJV as well as be willing to use the original Greek word in their everyday conversations today.

A word’s currency works somewhat like monetary currency. The more people use a word, the more useful it becomes. The more people know it, the easier it is for you to use.

For example, the word metanoia is a noun meaning: a profound transformation in one’s outlook. What is the origin? In the Greek, metanoia means a change of mind, and comes from metanoein, meaning to change one’s mind. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the earliest documented use was in 1577.

In scripture, the word metanoia (noun) or metanoeo (verb) includes the meaning of the root word (nousmindMind (nous) in scripture deals more with the will or determination in Romans 7. Paul willed to do God’s will (Rom. 7:25), but the members of his body prevented him (Rom. 7:23).

According to 2 Timothy 2:25, repentance is something that God must give. This particular repentance is a mind that acknowledges God’s truth, which in turn gives him strength to recover himself from the snare of the devil (2 Tim 2:26). By that, the new mind frees him from being captured by Satan.

For the Christian, repentance is a change of mind from determining to do wrong to doing right. For example, Simon (Acts 8:20-23) had a mind to purchase the power to give the Holy Spirit, which was the gift of God. Peter called on him to have a different mind, to cease to think that the gift of God could be purchased with money (Acts 8:20). The same change of mind was required of the Ephesians who had lost their first love. They were called on to have a mind to regain their first love and do the works they did at first (Rev. 3:5).

For those who are not Christian, repentance is a new mind that determines to no longer live for self, but to live for Christ (2 Cor. 5:15). Paul gained that mind when he saw Christ in the sky, so that he counted all things loss (all the accomplishments in the Jewish religion) and turned to live only for Christ (Phil. 3:8-12). Paul had the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16), which was to come to do the Father’s will and not his own will (John 5:30).

As an additional comparison, a Latin word, abnegation, meaning self-denial, can be closely associated with the deeper understanding of metanoiaAbnegation is from the Latin ab (away, off) + negare (to deny), from nec (not). The earliest documented use was in 1398.

So what does all this mean for the Christian? For many, repentance only means being sorry for the past and that’s it, but it should mean a complete change of heart and mind. Actually it is a new mind, one that determines to obey in God in everything.

That new mindset would bring us closer to the understanding of what it means to really love the LORD and to WANT to do his will (1 John 2:1-5).

-Beth Johnson

Chennai Teacher Training School

Women’s Studies

Muliebral Viewpoint

Articles and Books by Beth Johnson

BIBLE WARDROBES AND THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN’S SPIRITUAL CLOTHING – BONUS LESSON: Lesson # 14 – OUR FINAL CHANGE FROM PHYSICAL TO SPIRITUAL BODIES

BONUS LESSON: Lesson # 14 – OUR FINAL CHANGE FROM PHYSICAL TO SPIRITUAL BODIES

For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself (Phil. 3:20-21).

Continue reading BIBLE WARDROBES AND THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN’S SPIRITUAL CLOTHING – BONUS LESSON: Lesson # 14 – OUR FINAL CHANGE FROM PHYSICAL TO SPIRITUAL BODIES

BIBLE WARDROBES AND THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN’S SPIRITUAL CLOTHING – Lesson 13 – THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN’S SPIRITUAL WARDROBE – Part 2

Lesson 13 – THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN’S SPIRITUAL WARDROBE – Part 2

“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels” (Isa. 61:10).

So far, we have learned much about the wardrobes (physical clothing) of men and women in the Scriptures.  We have seen where prophets wore rough clothing; kings’ children wore dainty clothing; harlots wore deceitful clothing and the poor were content just to have cloth to cover their bodies.  All those examples were to get our minds ready to think about our clothing as Christian women—both our day-to-day physical dress and our spiritual clothing as the bride of Christ.

Continue reading BIBLE WARDROBES AND THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN’S SPIRITUAL CLOTHING – Lesson 13 – THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN’S SPIRITUAL WARDROBE – Part 2

BIBLE WARDROBES AND THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN’S SPIRITUAL CLOTHING – LESSON 12 – THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN’S SPIRITUAL CLOTHING

Lesson 12 – THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN’S SPIRITUAL CLOTHING

All Christians (men and women) should adorned themselves inwardly and outwardly with only what is fitting for one of God’s children.  Our outward appearance should never shame the name of Jesus or our Heavenly father, nor should we have moth-eaten clothes or nakedness instead of the spiritual clothing God has intended.  We know that man looks on the outward appearance while God looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7). “But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

So where should our focus be?  Should we think only about our outward appearance?

Continue reading BIBLE WARDROBES AND THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN’S SPIRITUAL CLOTHING – LESSON 12 – THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN’S SPIRITUAL CLOTHING