Hello John. In your article on Holy Hands and Pure Hands you said, “But we don’t ever earn things from God. Jesus earned it all.” How does this work together with 1 Corinthians 3:8? “Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.” And how does this work with 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 about rewards?



Hello Brother Don,

Excellent follow-up to the Q & A post from last week! On the surface this truly seems like a contradiction, but there is, I believe, a biblical answer.

Hebrews declares, “But without faith it is impossible to please him.” Therefore, faith must always be in the equation or God is not pleased. If He is not pleased, then He will not reward. Everything must be by faith.

Recognizing the different steps of faith aids our understanding. For example, to obtain the promises of God, the first step of faith is usually asking. Then when God gives what you’re asking, letting you know in your spirit, the next step of faith is taking what God is giving. The concluding step would be acting with the confidence of what God has given. A specific example of this would be power for witnessing based on Luke 11:13 (ask) and Acts 1:8 (take and act).

All three steps of faith are just that—faith—but the last step is an action. In distinction from those who just act without first asking and receiving power for witnessing, the actor in this scenario is empowered by the Spirit. Therefore, God may “reward” the work because the power for that work was in very essence Him. Faith is not a work (Rom. 4:5). Faith depends on the God to work, and when He works in this fashion, He works through us and by us.

Amazing! God energizes us from the inside out yet rewards us for what really is His doing. In this way it is all of grace, accessed by faith. Amazingly, we get rewarded for that which He accomplishes. The merit is in Jesus.

Only God meets the standard of God. That is why we need imputed righteousness in justification, and imparted righteousness in sanctification. Faith is not a mere human work, but it is a responsibility to access God’s enabling to work through us and by us, and as such is that which God rewards. After emphasizing faith, Hebrews 11:6 continues by pointing out that he who comes to God must believe that He exists, and the He is rewards those who diligently seek Him.

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