Have you ever wondered how to get rewards in heaven? Well, you can get them in two main ways. In this article, I will share those ways, types of rewards, and their significance.
Rewards By Doing Good Works
The primary way The Bible indicates that we get rewards in heaven is by doing good works. These good works can take many forms. Matthew 6 points out three in particular. Giving, Praying, and Fasting. Doing those three things on the surface doesn’t guarantee you get rewards in heaven, however. They have to be done with the right motives. When it comes to giving, Jesus says it should be done in secret. “Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” (Matthew 6:3 NIV). As for Prayer, he says do not pray to be seen by others, instead “go into your room, close the door and pray” (Matthew 6:6 NIV). Similarly, for fasting, he says do it in a way “so that it will not be obvious to others” (Matthew 6:18 NIV).
In addition to the previous three ways, The Bible shows many other ways we can do good works. Those who lead many to righteousness, The Bible says will shine “like the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:3 NIV). Jesus even says that “anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward” (Mark 9:41 NIV). It’s awesome to know that every good work we do for God, no matter how little it seems, will be rewarded. But as Matthew 6 shows, they only count if it’s for the right reasons.
Rewards By Being Persecuted For Jesus Christ
A closely related way we can get rewards is when we experience persecution because we represent Jesus Christ. This often happens in response to doing what he calls us to do in his kingdom. Like all persecution, God is aware that we face them, but unlike the types of persecution that everyone faces, he gives special rewards to those that are because of his kingdom. Look at what Jesus said concerning it:
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.Matthew 5:11-12 (NIV)
He not only promises that we will have a great reward in heaven because of being persecuted for him, but he also says to “rejoice and be glad” because of it. To know that going through persecution will be worth it someday is one thing, but to rejoice and be happy about it is another. To have a joyful and happy attitude when such persecution happens must mean that the benefits of doing so far exceed what you had to go through to get it. This is most likely why when the apostles in Acts 5 were flogged, the text describes them as leaving “the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name” (v. 41).
By doing what you were called to do as a believer makes persecution inevitable. But take comfort in knowing that in addition to getting rewarded for doing good works, God sees any persecution you go through and will reward you accordingly.
The Types of Rewards & Their Significance
Now that you have an idea of how to get rewards in heaven, you may be wondering what those rewards are or what significance they will have. Well, as you would expect, The Bible tells us.
Rewards of Position
Did you know that we will have a certain position in heaven? It’s true. There is a hint to this in Matthew 20:21-23.
Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.Matthew 20:21-23 (NIV)
The mother that came to Jesus asked him to place his sons in the most honorable positions in a kingdom. The left and right side of the king. Jesus’ reply then shows that we must qualify for those positions. Since they are high positions, he asked them if they were willing to go through what he was going to go through to get them. Like first, second, and third place trophies created for those that earn them, Jesus further highlights this reality there being positions in heaven by saying “these places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father” (v. 23).
The story with Zebedee’s sons isn’t the only place in The Bible Jesus indicates that we’ll have a certain position in heaven. When speaking about obeying his commands, he also states:
Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.Matthew 5:19 (NIV)
From what you can see in this verse, there will be persons who are considered lower than others and that status will be common knowledge.
In addition to position, we also get crowns as a reward. Paul points this out when he describes our walk with God like a race in which we are running for a prize. He says:
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (NIV)
Unlike earthly crowns, he says the crowns we get in the kingdom of God will last forever. Here are some examples of the type of crowns we can get according to The Bible:
Crown of Life – Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. James 1:12 (NIV)
Crown of Righteousness – Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:8 (NIV)
Crown of Glory – And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. 1 Peter 5:4 (NIV)
Significance of Crowns In Heaven
Once we get to heaven and are rewarded crowns, what’s amazing is that the crowns appear to be what we can give back to God in a form of worship. This is what John appears to see in Revelations 4 describing worship in heaven.
Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”Revelations 4:9-11 (NIV)
This verse only gives us a preview. I imagine that the rewards we get have even more significance since The Bible speaks often of them. While all this sounds great, there is one critical thing I should point out before I end this article.
You Must Secure Life After Death
You may have noticed that this article was about how to get rewards in heaven rather than how to get in heaven. It’s based on the assumption that you will be in heaven after you die. You see, doing the work is not what gets you into heaven, it only determines what heaven is like for you. Just like you have to be accepted into a school before the school work counts towards credits, you have to be accepted by God before any good thing you do counts in heaven. The good news is, your entry to heaven has already been paid for and you just have to accept it.
The Bible says “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Jesus through his life paid the price for your access to heaven and all you have to do to receive it is acknowledge and believe it. If you haven’t already, and you desire to do just that. Say this prayer:
Dear God, I confess that I have fallen short and it’s only through Jesus’ death and resurrection that I can be saved. Please forgive me, come into my heart and help me live a life that’s pleasing to you. Amen!”
If you have accepted your access to heaven by genuinely saying that prayer, I would love to hear from you! If you want to learn more, I recommend that you read Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. Now let’s end this article.
We have all heard we can’t take anything with us when we die, but as Revelations 4:9-11 suggests, that’s not quite true. If you are a believer, you can take the good works you do for the kingdom of God with you. Although earned on earth, they will be exchanged for crowns that you can give back to God as a form of worship. Now that you know how to get rewards in heaven, it is my prayer that you seek to earn them daily, as in the end, they are the only rewards that will matter.