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?


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!


“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

When 1 John 3:2 says we are the sons of God, John appears to be speaking of the resurrection. The only indication of being like Him was something John had never seen. John had seen the heart of Christ and therefore the Father (John 14:1-8), so he is not talking about growing in the heart of Christ in this verse. We must settle on the alternative idea of being like Him in the resurrection.

Paul had his hope set on the resurrection. He first described the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:37-44, and then he made the contrast between Adam and Christ very clear. We have been born in the image of the earthly in the fact that we are in Adam’s physical image (1 Cor. 15:49). We are in the form of man (Phil. 2:6-8). Paul then noted there will come a time when we will be in the image of the heavenly (1 Cor 15:49). The image of the heavenly was in full context of the resurrection. Paul also noted that Christ was the first fruits of our resurrection (1 Cor. 15:19, 23).

Jesus’ resurrected body is glorious (Phil. 3:21). On the road to Damascus, Paul saw the resurrected Christ in a marvelously glorious body that was so magnificent that he was totally blinded by it. Moses saw God’s glory when he saw the back of God, making his face to shine. The children of Israel could not look on Moses’ face because it was so bright. However, when Paul saw the resurrected Christ, it must not have been the eternal body of Christ, since John says it does not yet appear what we shall be (1 John 3:2). If Paul had already seen what we shall be, then John would not have said it is unknown what we shall be.

Jesus asked the Father to give Him the glory He had before the foundation of the world. In the book of Revelation, we may have a picture of the kind of glory God has. “And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heavens fled away; and there was found no place for them” (Rev. 20:11).

When Christ returns, we shall see Him as he is; however, just seeing Him is not our only hope. We also have the hope of being like Him (1 John 3:2). The Holy Spirit testified through Paul that in the resurrection our physical bodies will be transformed to be like His glorious body (Phil. 3:21). All of God’s children, from the least to the greatest have this hope of being resurrected in the image of His glorious body. John said that it does not yet appear what we shall be. However, he further testified that when we see Him we will be like Him. What a marvelous hope we have in Christ””not only to inherit an eternal home in heaven with Him, but to have a body like His as well.

QUESTIONS: 1. In the resurrection, what body will Christians have? (1 Cor. 15:42-44)

2. Are the first fruits of the cotton crop the same as the rest of the crop? What about a wheat crop? What is the meaning of the term “first fruits”?

3. Explain how Jesus was the first fruits of our resurrection.

4. Romans 8:18 speaks of a stark contrast between the glory that shall be revealed in us and something we have to endure. What is that? (Acts 14:22)

5. What was David prophesying about in Psalm 17:15?

6. What was the image of the earthy in 1 Corinthians 15:49?

7. What two kinds of bodies are described in Philippians 3:21?

8. According to Matthew 22:30-32, what will we be like in the resurrection?

9. Luke 20:36-38 also talks about the resurrection. How is that described?

10. Can we go to heaven in flesh and blood as we are today (1 Cor. 15:50-58)? Describe what will take place that day.