Revelation 22:12-16 - Pay Day!
Jesus is coming to settle up. What does that mean for you?
Read / Listen
Read Revelation 22:12-16
12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 63
Q. How can you say that
the good we do
doesn’t earn anything
when God promises to reward it
in this life and the next?
A. This reward is not earned;
it is a gift of grace.
It's always interesting looking at the famous last words of people throughout history. Often times people use such words to convey advice for those who continue to live. These words of Jesus that John records here could be classified as Jesus' last words, communicating key advice for how His followers ought to live as they wait for His return.
We're just going to focus on v12 today as we continue looking at what it means that God promises to reward Christians for the good work we do, in addition to the saving grace that He gives to all who believe.
The plain reading of the NIV’s translation could easily be misunderstood as presenting the returning, victorious Christ as some sort of a divine Santa Claus, coming back with a bag of rewards to give out for all of the good things that people have done in their lifetimes. Many people mistakenly place their hope for salvation in God by comparing the number of seemingly good deeds they have performed against their sinful deeds, and such a person might conclude after reading this passage that Christ’s words bear good news for them since, from their perspective at least, they have done more good things than bad.
But this is a dangerous misunderstanding of the gospel. Your salvation is based on grace alone, through faith alone, so you must place all of your trust in Christ alone, since as we learned a few days ago, even your best efforts are tainted with sin and on their own are unacceptable to God.
But as we learned yesterday, the work you for Christ's Church will not go unrecognized, and in His final words to us, Jesus promises that He will reward them!
When I was in seminary, I wrote a lengthy paper on how to best translate this verse. Here's where I landed:
Look, I am coming soon. My settlement is with me to repay each one for what he has done.
One thing that quickly becomes apparent with this translation is that Jesus has something for everyone:
To those who have ignored Jesus' free offer of grace and have instead followed their own way, Jesus will settle up with them by giving them exactly what they want: an eternity devoid of grace (in which they'll face the full measure of God's unmitigated wrath for their sin);
To those who trust in Christ for their righteousness, He will most certainly give to them the reward He's promised: peace with God;
But to those who've not only trusted in Christ alone for their salvation, but who have also sacrificed their own wants and desires to work hard for Him in their lives, Jesus here promises to pay them with wages that will never fade away!
Which of these three categories do you fall in? Be sure to heed Christ's famous last words. Trust in Him alone for salvation for sure, but also take full advantage to increase your reward by using the gifts He's given you to build up His body, the Church.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who accepts the sanctified work you do in Christ;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that when Christ returns with the settlement you deserve, you will not be ashamed of what you have done for Him.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Philippians 1