The Reward of Faith
Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? Matthew 19:27
Peter is asking Jesus this question because he has just heard Jesus’ answer to the rich young ruler’s question:
… Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? (Emphasis supplied). Matthew 19:16
We find Jesus’ answer to this question in verse 21:
Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go [and] sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come [and] follow me.
Jesus’ answer sounds very impractical and unappealing. It sounds like Jesus is saying that we must live the life of a beggar while on earth so we can earn the right to enjoy the treasures in heaven later. This is how it sounded to the rich young ruler because verse 22 says:
But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
What Jesus said after this even shook the faith of His own disciples:
19:23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 19:24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 19:25 When his disciples heard [it], they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? (Emphasis supplied).
This is and will continue to be the response of everyone who does not understand these two things:
- The work of faith.
- The reward of faith.
Only those who understand the work of faith can understand and do what Jesus said to the rich young ruler and therefore, only those who do the work of faith will receive the reward of faith. Jesus tells us what that reward is in verses 28&29. But I will refer to Mark’s account of Jesus’ statement:
10:29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, 10:30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. Mark 10:29&30 (Emphasis supplied).
Mark makes it clear that Jesus is not preaching a “pie in the sky, bye and bye gospel”. His account tells us that Jesus said we will receive the reward now in this time and that reward is 100 times more than what we had before. However, in order to receive this reward verse 29 lets us know that we must do the work of faith and forsake all for Jesus’ sake and the gospel’s.
Like the rich young ruler and Jesus’ disciples many of us trust more in our good works than the works of God. The reason we seek after and depend on money so much is because money represents power in this world. The more we have, the more we can buy: The more we can buy, the more we think we can supply our needs: The more we think we can supply our needs the less we believe Jesus is our only source of happiness and fulfillment: The less we believe Jesus is the only source of happiness and fulfillment, the less we forsake all for His sake: The less we forsake all for His sake, the less we experience the 100 fold reward. The apostle Paul came to realize this truth that is why he said:
3:7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win Christ, 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 3:11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 3:15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Philippians 3:7-15 (Emphasis supplied).
Next week we are going to discuss more fully how the work of faith enables us to receive the 100 fold reward of faith.