Your Eternal Reward: Triumph and Tears at the Judgment Seat of Christ by Erwin Lutzer explores the eternal ramifications of how a person lives after receiving salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Lutzer opens up the Bible and demonstrates, without proof-texting, that the rewards given to Christians by Christ at the Bema seat (seat of judgment for Christians) will differ depending on how a Christian lives post-salvation.
Affirming that Christians need not fear the wrath of God in the lake of fire for eternity, a Christian’s salvation is secure, Lutzer explores the triumphs and tears that the people of God may face based on their post-salvation “deeds [done] in the body,…whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). Since we live in a world that has the odd preconception that we are “owed something”, Lutzer remarks over and over again that God owes us nothing, except to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire. Our salvation is a matter of grace. Christ’s decision to reward those who live faithfully unto Him is a matter of grace.
When we consider that the ultimate reward is to rule with Christ as a joint-her, charged with the responsibility of authority over all God’s possessions, it is clear that rewards are never earned in the usual sense of the word. God has obligated Himself to give us rewards, but this is strictly because of His grace. We can demand nothing; indeed, after we have done our best we are still unworthy servants, having “done only that which we ought to have done” (Luke 17:10). God has chosen to give us what we have no right to either demand or expect. We are rewarded because of His generosity, not His obligation (p. 15).
Over the course of ten chapters, Lutzer expands on what it means to suffer loss and receive reward at the judgment seat of Christ (the tenth chapter is about the judgment at the Great White Throne – a chapter on the judgment of those who did not receive Jesus as their Savior). The chapters are written with a pastoral heart, and are thus easy to read as verses and concepts are unpacked. Throughout the book, one positively frustrating event keeps occurring: there seemed to be a lack of specifics regarding the “triumph and tears” that a person could expect. It is frustrating because part of a person (at least part of me) wants to know specific details. It is positively frustrating because Lutzer does not supply those details because the Bible does not supply the details. Lutzer wisely avoids speculation that extends beyond what the Scriptures unveil – wisdom that would keep more Christian writers and pastors out of hot water if heeded.
For a simple, short, and easy to read and understand book on the concept of rewards (or lack thereof) given to Christians from Christ based upon their post-salvation living, Your Eternal Reward is a good book to pick up.