I. Heaven is not something that we work to attain it is a gift that God freely gives His children.
A. There is equality in Heaven on the basis that no one is there on their own merit.
1. In Heaven no one will boast that they are there because they deserve to be.
2. Heaven is the result of our faith in the redeeming work of Jesus Christ.
3. Heaven is based on our acceptance of the fact that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins on the cross of Calvary.
4. Our sins merit eternal Hell but because of the precious blood of Jesus Christ we are washed white as snow.
B. A concept that is problematic for many is the fact that all will be called to give an account before the judgment seat of Christ.
1. The fact is that if we are clothed in Jesus Christ then our sins were judge at the cross.
2. So if your life has been covered by the blood of Christ your eternal fate has been settled.
3. The matter however that remains unsettled is the fruits of our faith.
4. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10—NIV)
5. Before the Judgment Seat of Christ all service for the Lord will be reviewed.
C. God’s justice will not allow all of us to be treated identical based on the merits of our service to Him.
1. Each of our ministries for Him will be evaluated and the sincerity and motives of our work will be made obvious.
2. Those that have worked hard with sincere hearts will be rewarded as the Lord sees they were faithful to Christ’s instructions.
3. The foundation is Jesus Christ and all who build upon this foundation will inherit eternal life.
4. There will be some however, whose service was inferior and their works will not last.
5. These builders will be saved as if they had jumped out of a burning building and lost everything but their lives.
6. They may enter Heaven but will not receive the same reward as those who built well.
7. What a great waste to live life on earth only to discover that what we have invested our interests, priorities, money and talents in are worthless in Heaven’s eyes.
3. There are different degrees of happiness and glory in heaven. As there are degrees among the angels, viz. thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers; so there are degrees among the saints. In heaven are many mansions, and of different degrees of dignity. The glory of the saints above will be in some proportion to their eminency in holiness and good works here. Christ will reward all according to their works. He that gained ten pounds was made ruler over ten cities, and he that gained five pounds over five cities. Luke 19:17; 2 Cor. 9:6, “He that soweth sparingly, shall reap sparingly; and he that soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” And the apostle Paul tells us that, as one star differs from another star in glory, so also it shall be in the resurrection of the dead. 1 Cor. 15:41. Christ tells us that he who gives a cup of cold water unto a disciple in the name of a disciple, shall in no wise lose his reward. But this could not be true, if a person should have no greater reward for doing many good works than if he did but few. It will be no damp to the happiness of those who have lower degrees of happiness and glory, that there are others advanced in glory above them. For all shall be perfectly happy, every one shall be perfectly satisfied. Every vessel that is cast into this ocean of happiness is full, though there are some vessels far larger than others. And there shall be no such thing as envy in heaven, but perfect love shall reign through the whole society. Those who are not so high in glory as other, will not envy those that are higher, but they will have so great, and strong, and pure love to them, that they will rejoice in their superior happiness. Their love to them will be such that they will rejoice that they are happier than themselves; so that instead of having a damp to their own happiness, it will add to it. They will see it to be fit that they that have been most eminent in works of righteousness should be most highly exalted in glory. And they will rejoice in having that done, that is fittest to be done. There will be a perfect harmony in that society; those that are most happy will also be most holy, and all will be both perfectly holy and perfectly happy. But yet there will be different degrees of both holiness and happiness according to the measure of each one’s capacity, and therefore those that are lowest in glory will have the greatest love to those that are highest in happiness, because they will see most of the image of God in them. And having the greatest love to them, they will rejoice to see them the most happy and the highest in glory. And so, on the other hand, those that are highest in glory, as they will be the most lovely, so they will be fullest of love. As they will excel in happiness, they will proportionally excel in divine benevolence and love to others, and will have more love to God and to the saints than those that are lower in holiness and happiness. And besides, those that will excel in glory will also excel in humility. Here in this world, those that are above others are the objects of envy, because that others conceive of them as being lifted up with it. But in heaven it will not be so, but those saints in heaven who excel in happiness will also in holiness, and consequently in humility. The saints in heaven are more humble than the saints on earth, and still the higher we go among them the greater humility there is. The highest orders of saints, who know most of God, see most of the distinction between God and them, and consequently are comparatively least in their own eyes, and so are more humble. The exaltation of some in heaven above the rest will be so far from diminishing the perfect happiness and joy of the rest who are inferior, that they will be the happier for it. Such will be the union in their society that they will be partakers of each other’s happiness. Then will be fulfilled in its perfection that which is declared in 1 Cor. 12:26, “If one of the members be honoured all the members rejoice with it.”