Many Christians in the Church today despise and denigrate God’s system of rewards for his faithful ones. These Christians have been so caught up in God’s Covenant of Grace, that they have completely overlooked his Covenant of Works, and the just recompense of reward that goes along with this covenant. Both covenants are of equal importance, and one must not be overemphasized to the total exclusion of the other. It is because of this overemphasis on the Covenant of Grace and the exclusion of the Covenant of Works that the majority of Christians in the Church today have virtually no understanding of the kingdom of heaven, the accountability of Christians at the Judgment Seat of Christ, the Firstfruits Rapture of the bride and her court, and the difference between spirit and soul salvation. All of these are critical elements in God’s Covenant of Works, but the majority of Christians are oblivious to these truths. God’s Covenant of Works has been completely ignored by all the major denominations.
It is true that spirit salvation is by grace and grace alone. Even the faith to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ is a gift from God. The Scriptures summarize the Covenant of Grace as follows:
(Eph 2:8-9 KJV) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.
The above two verses address the Covenant of Grace, but the following verse tends to be ignored by Christians of all faiths. Verse 10 below addresses the Covenant of Works, and Christians are accountable for performing these “good works”.
(Eph 2:10 KJV) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
All Christians will be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ on how well they have done in performing these good works. The majority of Scripture addresses this accountability that Christians have for performing good works, but these Scriptures are wrested from the Covenant of Works and altered to pertain to the Covenant of Grace.
The primary example of wresting the Scriptures is the example of soul salvation. Soul salvation pertains to the Covenant of Works and hundreds of Scriptures link soul salvation with our works. Please read To Perish or not to Perish for an in depth explanation of the difference between spirit and soul. The primary Scripture for showing that soul salvation pertains to our works is as follows:
(James 1:21 KJV) Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
(James 1:21 NKJV) Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
A second example of wresting the Scriptures pertains to the kingdom of heaven. The issue of heaven or hell pertains to the Covenant of Grace, but the issue of entrance into the kingdom of heaven pertains to the Covenant of Works. The following Scripture passage is the primary one for distinguishing entrance into the kingdom of heaven—a works related issue—from the new birth experience, which is related to grace:
(John 3:3 KJV) Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
(John 3:4 KJV) Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
(John 3:5 KJV) Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Verse 3 above describes the Covenant of Grace, and states that a person cannot comprehend the kingdom of God unless he is born of God. Verse 5 describes the Covenant of Works and adds the additional criterion that one must be born of water in order to “enter into the kingdom of God”. “Born of water” refers to the sanctifying work of studying the Scriptures and applying them to one’s life. The following Scripture defines this work:
(Eph 5:25 KJV) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
(Eph 5:26 KJV) That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
(Eph 5:27 KJV) That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Please note the conditional aspects of verses 26 and 27. Christians who “enter into the kingdom of God” must not only be born again, but they must also be sanctified and cleansed by the “washing of water by the word”. These are the Christians who study the Word of God and apply it to their lives. Not all Christians do this, and not all Christians will enter into the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of heaven pertains to the reign and rule of Jesus Christ in the coming kingdom, and only Christians that earn rewards will enter into the kingdom of heaven. Heaven pertains to the Covenant of Grace, while the kingdom of heaven pertains to the Covenant of Works. Please read the article Heaven vs the Kingdom of Heaven. Heaven is a place, but the kingdom of heaven is a position of authority attained to because of “good works”. The Covenant of Works and the rewards for good works are very important in the Scriptures, yet the majority of Christians despise and denigrate obedience to God because of reward. Esau lost his inheritance because he thought little of it. Esau despised his birthright and sold it for a bowl of stew. Christians that despise and denigrate the Covenant of Works are also in danger of losing their inheritance in the kingdom of heaven.
The following Scriptures address the importance of the Covenant of Works and the importance of working for the Just Recompense of Reward:
(Heb 11:6 KJV) But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh (i.e., draws near) to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
This Scripture emphatically states that if a Christian wants to draw near to God, this Christian MUST BELIEVE THAT GOD IS A REWARDER OF THEM THAT DILIGENTLY SEEK HIM.
(Col 3:23-24 KJV) And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men. Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: (24) for ye serve the Lord Christ.
This Scripture emphatically states that Christians should do their very best in everything, so that they will receive the reward of the inheritance. There are numerous Scriptures that exhort Christians to work for rewards:
Salvation is by Grace, but rewards are according to works. The last words of Jesus recorded in the Scriptures through John the apostle are as follows:
(Rev 22:12-13 KJV) And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. (13) I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.