By J. Warner Wallace - Cold Case Christianity, August 29, 2017
As Christians, we believe we are saved solely by the grace of God. God sets us apart for salvation based not on anything we could do (or have done), but based instead on the free gift of salvation offered by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Our works play no role in our salvation. We cannot earn our way into Heaven, this is a gift of God, so no man or woman could ever boast they earned a place in Heaven with God:
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
But there are a number of non-Christian theists who believe salvation comes as the result of human effort in combination with the work of God (Jewish believers or Mormons for example). My Mormon friends sometimes complain orthodox Christianity ignores the behavior of believers altogether. After all, do we actually think that all believers are acceptable to God no matter what they do or how they behave? If someone simply says they believe and then lives a life exhibiting little or no evidence of their belief will they still go into Heaven? Isn’t the Mormon notion of levels of Heaven a more equitable and fair position on the nature of the afterlife?
The beliefs of Christians are often mischaracterized. While we, as Christians, don’t believe our works have anything to do with our entry to heaven, we do understand our works have everything to do with our reward once we get there. This is clear from the Biblical record of Scripture. The Apostle John reminds us of the importance of “works” while we are here on Earth:
“We must work the works of Him who sent Me, as long as it is day; night is coming, when no man can work.”
So, why is it so important for us to “work”? Is it so that we can earn our Salvation? No, the passage we just read in Ephesians makes it clear our Salvation is not the product of our work. The issue here is not Salvation; it is reward. Christian orthodoxy describes Heaven sees as a place where rewards are distributed to the saints in accordance with the nature of their lives on earth.
To be fair, not everyone in Christendom agrees with this idea. Some would argue all heavenly reward is measured out equally to those who are saved. So let’s examine both cases and see if we can determine the truth from a Biblical Perspective:
To read the rest of this fine article by J. Warner Wallace click Here: Are there Different Degrees of Reward in Heaven?