1) [Eph 2:10]:

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

2) [Compare Mt 6:19-20]:

(v. 19) "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.

(v. 20) But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal."

3) [Compare Mt 6:1-6]:

(v. 1) "Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

(v. 2) So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.

(v. 3) But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,

(v. 4) so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

(v. 5) And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.

(v. 6) But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

4) [Compare 1 Cor 3:11-15]:

(v. 11) "For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

(v. 12) If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw,

(v. 13) his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work.

(v. 14) If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.

(v. 15) If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames."


1) [Compare 1 Cor 10:31]:

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."

2) [1 Cor 9:24-27]:

(1 Cor 9:24 NASB) "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.

(1 Cor 9:25 NASB) Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable."

a) [Compare Bible Knowledge Commentary On 1 Cor 9:24-25]:

"Paul's commitment to this course of ministry did not come easily. It required personal discipline (strict training) like that of an athlete who strove for supremacy in his field (cf. 15:10). To that end Paul willingly gave up certain privileges which might otherwise be his to enjoy so that he could win the prize. The prize for Paul was not the temporary crown (stephanon) bestowed by men (in the biennial games near Corinth the "crown" was a pine wreath) but the eternal crown bestowed by Christ (3:13-14; 2 Cor. 5:10). Paul's crown would be the consummation of the reward (1 Cor. 9:18) he partially enjoyed, the opportunity to glory before Christ in those he had been able to win (2 Cor. 1:14; Phil. 2:16; 1 Thes. 2:19)."

b) [Compare Expositor's Bible Commentary On 1 Cor 9:24-25]:

"24, 25 Paul assumes their common knowledge (ouk oidate, "don't you know") of the foot race in the stadium. Every one of them should run as these runners do, with all-out effort to get the prize. By the words "strict training," Paul refers to the athlete's self-control in diet and his rigorous bodily discipline. He observes that the athletes train vigorously for a "corruptible crown"—a laurel or celery wreath that would soon wither away. But the Christian's crown, eternal life and fellowship with God, will last forever (Rev 2:10)."

3) [Compare 2 Tim 2:5-6]:

(2 Tim 2:5 NASB) "Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.

(2 Tim 2:6 NASB) The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops."

a) [Compare Expositor's Bible Commentary On 2 Tim 2:5-6]:

(2 Tim 2:5 NASB) "Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.

(2 Tim 2:6 NASB) The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops."

'''5 Paul is fond of both military and athletic metaphors. The Christian, and especially the minister, must be spiritually a good soldier and a good athlete. "Competes as an athlete" is athle, found (in the NT) only in this verse (twice). We have already noted a similar verb in 1 Timothy 6:12 (see comments there). The verb here is used for competing in an athletic contest in the arena.

"Receive the victor's crown" is also one word, stephanoutai (only here and Heb 2:7, 9). The Greek has two words for crown: diadema ("diadem," Rev 12:3; 13:1; 19:12), which means a royal crown; and stephanos, the victor's wreath given to the winner in an athletic contest. Hence the full translation here of the verb stephanoo.

The winning athlete does not receive this crown unless he competes "according to the rules"—one word in the Greek, nomimos, "lawfully" (only here and 1Tim 1:8). The man who breaks the rules is disqualified.

6 The Christian ministry can also be compared to farming. The pastor must sow the seed and cultivate the growing plants. Paul says, "The hard-working farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops." The emphasis here is on "hard-working" (kopionta, "toiling"). Bernard puts it well: "The main thought is that labour, discipline, striving are the portion of him who would succeed in any enterprise, be he soldier or athlete or farmer" (p. 118).'''

b) [Bible Knowledge Commentary On 2 Tim 2:5-6]:

(2 Tim 2:5 NASB) "Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.

(2 Tim 2:6 NASB) The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops."

"2:5. With a quick change of metaphor Paul switched to an athlete. The thought here is similar to 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (and Heb. 12:1-2). According to the rules translates nomimōs (lit., "lawfully"). The metaphor clearly draws on athletic games such as the Olympics, but do "the rules" refer to the regulations governing each event or to those governing the training of those qualified to take part? Competitors in the Olympic games, for example, were required to swear that they had trained diligently for at least 10 months. Though the second is in some ways easier to explain, the first is required by Paul's grammar, which suggests that the issue is not whether one is qualified to compete but, among those competing, who will win the crown. Every athletic event has its boundaries, its rules; moreover, all who fail to discipline themselves to observe these rules are disqualified. Paul wanted Timothy to run so as to win the crown (cf. 2 Tim. 4:7-8) and not be disqualified. This requires a Christian to have strong qualities of discipline, self-control, endurance, and a certain toughness.

2:6. The final image is that of a farmer. The language puts an emphasis on the word hardworking, in contrast with idle, lazy workers. The diligence Paul has just described in each case has its reward (cf. vv. 11-12): A diligent soldier gains the approval of his commanding officer; a diligent athlete wins the victory; a diligent farmer wins the first... share of the crops. The three illustrations have in common the point that success is achieved through discipline (cf. 1:7), hard work, and single-mindedness."

4) [Compare Rev 4:9-11]:

(v. 9) "Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever,

(v. 10) the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and worship Him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:

(v. 11) 'You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.' "

Notice that the crowns - rewards to the elders who are representative of church age believers - are layed before the throne of our Lord for His glory.

5) [Compare Rev 19:7-8]:

(Rev 18:7 NASB) "Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.

(Rev 19:8 NASB) It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints."

Notice that these are rewards verses which are given to believers who have been faithful, i.e., they are based on one's works. They are not salvation verses because salvation unto eternal life is not of oneself, a gift, not by works, (Eph 2:8-9).


1) [Compare 1 Jn 1:8, 10]:

(v. 8) "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

(v. 10) If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

2) [Compare Ro 7:14-25]:

(v. 14) "We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.

(v. 15) I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

(v. 16) And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.

(v. 17) As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.

(v. 18) I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

(v. 19) For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing.

(v. 20) Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

(v. 21) So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.

(v. 22) For in my inner being I delight in God's law;

(v. 23) but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.

(v. 24) What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?

(v. 25) Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin."


1) [Compare Ro 8:26-27]:

(v. 26) "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

(v. 27) And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will."

There is not a pure moment an individual can claim to have even during those moments when he is following the leading of the Holy Spirit. But God perfects the believers actions so as to make them rewardable. For example, when the gospel is presented by a believer to another, although it is contaminated by the believers indwelling sin nature's motivations, yet God uses the information presented and sees to it that the one being spoken to receives the truth of the gospel and is enabled to believe in it and be saved. For participating in this action, albeit imperfectly, the believer is nevertheless to be provided with an eternal reward.


[Compare Jn 14:27]:

"Peace I [Jesus Christ] leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful:"

[Compare Ro 5:1-2]:

(v. 1) "Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

(v. 2) through Whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God."

"hope" = "elpidi" = a confident expectation, a sure hope which one can boast in because one's salvation is absolutely assured by God - Eph 1:13-14; 4:30; Ro 11:29; 2 Cor 5:8.

Believers not only have God's supernatural peace but they can exult, i.e., rejoice, in the sure hope of the fact that they will be glorified by God and be with Him for the rest of eternity in heaven no matter what, (Ro 8:23-38; Eph 1:13-14).

[Compare Gal 5:22-23a]:

(v. 22) "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

(v. 23a) gentleness, self-control.........."

"The fruit of the Spirit" = the behavior which a believer manifests by virtue of God the Holy Spirit's supernatural work in him and through him, (Eph 5:19-20; Gal 5:16-26). It is a work of God through the believer yet it is the believer doing that very work himself, (Eph 2:10).

[Compare Phil 4:7]:

"And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

The key to inner happiness and blessings on earth and rewards in heaven is to trust in God with your whole being, starting with a serious study, trust and obedience to what He has said in His Word:

[Compare Pr 3:1-35]:

(v. 1) My son, do not forget my teaching,

But let your heart keep my commandments;

(v. 2) For length of days and years of life,

And peace they will add to you.

[Author Solomon instructs his son to keep remembering, i.e., keep following his commands....commands which are from God's Word, Pr 2:1-6. For one will then live longer and with supernatural peace]

(v. 3) Do not let kindness and truth leave you;

Bind them around your neck,

Write them on the tablet of your heart.

(v. 4) So you will find favor and good repute In the sight of God and man.

[Favor and a good name in the sight of God and man is a result of study, understanding and faithfulness to His Word]

(v. 5) Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding.

(v. 6) In all your ways acknowledge Him,

And He will make your paths straight.

[To trust in God requires a knowledge of Him through His Word - replacing bit by bit your own understanding with divine viewpoint from Scripture - enabling you to walk by faith, thus acknowledging him in your ways more and more - resulting in your paths in life being made straight - being directed by Him]

[Pr 3:1-35 cont.]:

(v. 7) Do not be wise in your own eyes;

Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.

(v. 8) It will be healing to your body,

And refreshment to your bones.

[Living a life that strives for obedience unto righteousness provides rewards in this life - even to the extent of better physical and emotional health and living out the full number of appointed years of your life with a more peaceful frame of mind]:

(v. 9) Honor the Lord from your wealth,

And from the first of all your produce;

(v. 10) So your barns will be filled with plenty,

And your vats will overflow with new wine.

[In ancient times under the rule of life of the Mosaic Law one would inevitably be blessed if one gave tithes and offerings according to proper temple worship statutes. This does not systematically apply today as we are not under the rule of the Mosaic Law or any set of rules and regulations but under the law of Christian liberty - we are under grace, (Ro 8:1-2; 6:14b)]:

(v. 11) My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord;

Or loathe His reproof,

(v. 12) For whom the Lord loves He reproves,...............

[When a Christian is under discipline he can know by this that he is truly God's child, that God truly loves him enough to discipline him and that he is never apart from Him, (Heb 13:5). This is, however, a hard way to confirm that one is a child of God]

(v. 12 cont.) For whom the Lord loves He reproves,

Even as a father the son in whom he delights.

(Cf Heb 12:5-13)


And there are rewards for gaining wisdom which is through the study and obedience to God's Word:

[Compare Jos 1:8]:

"This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you make your way prosperous, and then you will have success."]

[Pr 3:1-35 cont.]:

(v. 13) How blessed is the man who finds wisdom,

And the man who gains understanding.

[And the rewards in this life and for all eternity revolve around the attainment and obedience to wisdom ? divine truths which can be found in the Bible]

(v. 14) For its profit is better than the profit of silver, And its gain than fine gold.

(v. 15) She is more precious than jewels;

And nothing you desire compares with her.

(v. 16) Long life is in her right hand;

In her left are riches and honor.

[living out the full allotment of one's years is another reward]

(v. 17) Her ways are pleasant ways,

And all her paths are peace.

["peace" includes here is more than just peace - it includes health harmony and wholeness - a peace that surpasses all understanding, (Phil 4:7)]

(v. 18) She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her,

And happy are all who hold her fast.

[and this happiness is an inner happiness that is supernatural]

(v. 19) The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; By understanding He established the heavens.

(v. 20) By His knowledge the deeps were broken up, And the skies drip with dew.

(v. 21) My son, let them not depart from your sight;

Keep sound wisdom and discretion,

(v. 22) So they will be life to your soul,

And adornment to your neck.

(v. 23) Then you will walk in your way securely,

And your foot will not stumble.

[And there will be a confidence within you as you walk through life - a confidence not based on your own finite capacity but on the infinite capacity of God Almighty. And another reward: one of the greatest temporal blessings - a sound, sweet sleep]:

(v. 24) When you lie down, you will not be afraid; When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

(v. 25) Do not be afraid of sudden fear,

Nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes; (v. 26) For the Lord will be your confidence,

And will keep your foot from being caught.

[And when your confidence is in God your fears will dissipate. The key to rewards on earth and in heaven is not just faith but faith plus works as the Book of James and the next 9 verses in Proverbs chapter 3 testify to]:

(v. 27) Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in your power to do it.

(v. 28) Do not say to your neighbor, 'Go, and come back,

And tomorrow I will give it,'

When you have it with you.

[Compare Jas 2:15-17]:

(v. 29) Do not devise harm against your neighbor,

While he lives in security beside you.

(v. 30) Do not contend with a man without cause,

If he has done you no harm.

(v. 31) Do not envy a man of violence,

And do not choose any of his ways.

(v. 32) For the crooked man is an abomination to the Lord; But He is intimate with the upright.

(v. 33) The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked, But He blesses the dwelling of the righteous.

(v. 34) Though He scoffs at the scoffers,

Yet He gives grace to the afflicted.

[Pr 3:1-35 cont.]:

(v. 35) The wise will inherit honor,

But fools display dishonor."

The wise - those believers who study and obey God's Word will inherit a place of honor in the kingdom of God. Those who are foolish enough to waste their lives on earth and not study and obey God's Word will suffer dishonor. Unbelievers will suffer varying degrees of eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire relative to the extent of their evil ways, (Lk 12:47-48). And unfaithful believers will actually suffer dishonor and great loss of eternal rewards upon entrance into the kingdom of God on the earth, (Mt 22:1-14).


[Compare Mt 10:40-42]:

(v. 40 ) He who receives you [disciples of Christ] receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him [God the Father] Who sent Me.

["He who receives you [the disciples of Jesus Christ, (v.1)]... ? he who accepts you as disciples of Jesus Christ and cares for you and believes in you.

"He who receives you receives Me" = He who accepts you and cares for you, accepts Me - believes in Me and cares for Me, i.e., is a believer and a disciple.

(v. 40 cont.) He who receives you [disciples of Christ] receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him [God the Father] Who sent Me.

(v. 41) He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.

(v. 42) And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you he shall not lose his reward.

[So rewards are a result of obedience and faithfulness to God's commands in His Word. We are to receive, i.e., care for and listen receptively to our Lord's disciples, His messengers, His prophets, (today's teachers of His Word), and all men who are righteous, i.e., who have the righteousness of Christ credited to them by faith, (all believers); and all who are in need; even to the point of stopping to help little children]

[Rev 3:5]:

"He who overcomes shall thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels."

Book of life: Records everyone from conception on. This book indicates who is going to heaven - at first - unless they die without ever having trusted alone in Christ alone.

This supports the doctrine of unlimited atonement as taught in 1 Jn 2:2.

Erased: If an individual dies physically without ever having trusted alone in Christ then at that moment of his physical death his name is erased from the Book of Life in heaven.

Other books: These are the books which record every single act of every individual who ever lived - whether good or evil. These books are opened up at the Great White Throne Judgment and an individual is judged by God to see if his life measures up to that of our Lord Jesus Christ. If not and there is no entry in the Book of Life then that individual's destiny is the Lake of Fire.

Lamb's Book of Life: This is the final edition so to speak of the Book of Life. It was written before the foundation of the world and never included any unsaved individuals.

Bob Wilken states, ('The Grace Evangelical Society News', March-April issue, pp1-2):

'''Can a believer lose his salvation or be erased from the Book of Life if he does not overcome (Rev 3:5)? This seems to contradict John 5:24 and Eph 2:8-9 which view everlasting life as a free and secure gift. Or, does it mean that a believer who is truly saved will automatically produce good works and overcome? This seems to contradict Romans 6-7 which views the Christian walk as a struggle and a choice that every believer must make for himself...

The Loss-of-Salvation View

The problem with the loss-of-salvation view is that it clearly contradicts a host of passages. Jesus taught that believers "will never perish" (John 10:28). "shall not come into judgment" (John 5:24). The apostle Paul told the believers at Rome that

"neither death nor life...nor things present nor things to come...shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom 8:38-39). To the believers at Ephesus he wrote, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast" (Eph 2:8-9). and to the believers at Thessalonica he said that "whether we wake or sleep [i.e., whether we are morally alert or indolent], we should live together with Him" (1 Thess 5:10).

The Overcoming-Equals-Faithful-Obedience View

According to this view all genuine believers overcome the world by living godly lives. One author writes: "John was so confident of the ultimate triumph of faith over sin that he had a special name for the believer: 'the one who overcomes' (1 John 5:5; Rev 2:7, 11, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; 21:7)." Notice that he equates overcoming with "the ultimate triumph of faith over sin." Based on the context of these remarks, it is clear the author is referring to some ultimate triumph of faith over sin in this life."

According to what has come to be called the Reformed Doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints, all true believers persevere in a life of godliness. While there may be temporary setbacks and bouts with sin, believers are people who live victorious, holy lives to the end. People who hold the overcoming-equals-faithful-obedience interpretation of our verse understand it in light of that doctrine.

There is a major problem with this interpretation. The Bible does not promise that all true believers will live victorious, holy lives. Believers may have more than temporary setbacks and bouts with sin. It is sadly possible for believers to backslide terribly and to remain in that backslidden state until death. Certainly the church at Corinth was hardly a picture of believers experiencing ultimate victory over sin tin their lives (cf. 1 Cor 3:1-3; 11:30; see also Gal 6:1-5; Jas 5:19-20; and 1 John 5:16)!

I'm not saying that eternal security is not true. As already shown above, it is. What I am saying is that there is no guarantee in Scripture that eternally secure people will live overcoming, victorious lives here and now. Believers can fail.

The Overcoming-Equals-Faith View

There is a variation of the view just discussed which recognizes the possibility of failure in the Christian life. The overcoming-equals-faith view suggests that faith - not faithfulness - is the victory. All believers are overcomers the moment they believe. The very act of believing overcomes the world: 'Who is he who overvomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?' (! John 5:5)...

The Eternal-Rewards View

[The expression in the Bible of overcoming is also used in another way in other passages - not referring to salvation but to rewards in heaven:

[Rev 2:5, 7b, 10]:

(v. 2:5a) "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works...

(v. 2:7b) To him who overcomes I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.

(v. 2:10) Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

(v. 2:26) And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I give power over the nations.

(v. 3:11) Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown

(v. 3:21) To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne"]

According to this view, genuine believers are in view and their salvation is not in question. Admittedly, some suggest that since churches sometimes contain unbelievers, then these seven letters may have been addressed to both believers and unbelievers. However, in a biblical sense churches never contain unbelievers. Churches are not buildings or social gatherings. Churches are assemblies of believers. since the Lord was writing to churches, He was writing exclusively to believers.

This is supported by the fact that in none of the seven letters do we find a Gospel appeal...

[Revelation 3:20 is not a Gospel appeal. It is addressed to Christians and is inviting them to have fellowship with Christ. the figure of opening the door is an illustration of the preceding verse. To 'open the door' we must 'be zealous and repent' That is, we must be zealous for good works and repent of our sinful attitudes and actions (cf. 3:15-18).]

...The word faith only occurs twice in these letters (Rev 2:13, 19) and in both cases it is affirming the fact that the readers already have faith, not calling them to believe. Surely if these seven letters were addressed to unbelievers, we would find repeated calls to trust in Christ. Instead, we find none.

There are several lines of evidence from the text of Rev 3:3-5 which support the eternal-rewards interpretation.

[Rev 3:3-5]:

(v. 3) " 'Remember therefore what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. If therefore you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you.

(v. 4) But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white; for they are worthy.

(v. 5) He who overcomes shall thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels."

"I will come upon you as a thief"?]

...Verse 3 is a warning: 'If you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know the hour I will come upon you.' Calls to watchfulness in light of the Lord's imminent return as a thief are found in several other places in the NT. Salvation isn't in view in any of those places. Rather, they deal with the prospect of eternal rewards...

[Compare Mt 24:45-51; 25:1-13; and 1 Pet 5:1-11]:

...In 1 Thess 5:10, a context dealing with Christ's return 'as a thief in the night' (5:2), Paul wrote '[Christ] died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should love together with Him.' In context 'waking' was used metaphorically to mean walking in the light, being sober, faithful, and loving.

["waking" is the same word translated as "watch" in Rev 3:3 & 1 Thess 5:6]

On the other hand, 'sleeping' meant to walk in the darkness, to be drunk, unfaithful, and unloving (1 Thess 5:4-8). [Compare Eph 5:1-17 esp. v.14] Paul was saying that all believers will be raptured, whether they are morally alert or asleep, when Christ returns for them. The believer who is morally asleep when Christ returns is not overcoming. Yet he will live together with Him as well!..."

"They are worthy" =

[Bob Wilken, cont.]:

"Verse 4 reads, 'You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy." The worthiness here is linked to the fact that these were believers 'who have not defiled their garments.' Clearly Jesus isn't praising them for using Tide on their togs! That is a figurative way of saying that there were a few who had not walked in disobedience. Compare Rev 22:14 and Jas 1:27 and Jude 23.

Walking with Christ in white garments must be seen as a reward. Otherwise Christ is teaching salvation by works here! We know from Jesus' teachings and from the entire Bible that no one but Christ is worthy to be in God's kingdom because of his or her deeds. We are only worthy to enter God's kingdom because we have trusted in the Worthy One. This is compelling proof that the issue here is not salvation, but rewards."

"He shall be clothed in white garments." =

[Bob Wilken, cont.]:

Verse 5 refers again to being clothed in white. The Lord makes it clear that the person in question is an overcomer. While some assume that all Christians will wear these white garments in the kingdom, this verse suggests that only overcoming believers, those who haven't defiled their garments (v. 4), will wear these garments in the kingdom.

This verse suggests that believers will not be clothed identically in the kingdom. Some will wear special white garments. These special garments will signify that the wearer is one who honored Christ until the end of his or her her Christian experience.

Peter, James, and John caught a glimpse of what these glorious garments will be like. When Jesus was transfigured before them, 'His face shown like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light' (Matt 17:2). It may well be that the brightness of an overcomer's clothes will be proportional to how Christlike he or she was in this life (cf. 1 Pet 4:13).

"I will confess His Name" =

This is rewards language. Jesus will acknowledge faithful believers before the Father and before His angels. Compare Matt 10:32-33 and Luke 19:11-19. He will say 'Well done, food servant' (Luke 19:17). This is a reward that faithful believers will receive. It is not a condition of entrance into the kingdom...

"I won't blot out his name.." =

[Dr. Wilken, cont.]

"Several things should be observed in relation to this expression. First, whatever it means, it can't contradict other Scripture or the clear meaning of the rest of the passage and of other Scripture.

Second, many read it as though it says, 'Her who doesn't overcome I will blot out his name...' It doesn't say that. It is important to note that this verse doesn't say anything about the fate of those who don't overcome. It certainly doesn't say that God will blot the non-overcomer's name out of the Book of Life. The focus here is on the overcomer, not on the non-overcomer.

If I said, 'All fathers are men,' that wouldn't mean that the opposite is true, that all men are fathers. There are men who aren't fathers. In the same way, the corollary to out verse is not true. God will not blot out the name of the non-overcoming believer from the Book of Life!

Once a person has spiritual life, it can never be taken away (cf John 10:28-29; 1 John 5:12).

Third, there is a well-established figure of speech called litotes or understatement. In this figure of speech a positive point is made by denying its opposite. For example, imagine that a loving, committed mother said to her teenage son, 'If you mow the yard today, I won't send you to bed without dinner.' Let's assume that the mother had previously guaranteed him that she would never send him to bed without supper. He would thus know that even if he didn't mow the yard, he would get dinner. His mom was promising him a special meal if he mowed the yard.

So, too, when the Lord says that He won't blot the name of the overcoming believer from the Book of Life, He means that He will give the overcomer a special fullness of life forever.

We know some of what this superlative experience will include: wearing special white garments (Rev 3:4-5), ruling with Christ (Rev 2:26-27; 3:21), eating the fruit of the tree of life (Rev 2:7), eating hidden manna (Rev 2:17), and receiving a white stone engraved with your own special name that only the Lord and you will know (Rev 2:17). None of these things is equivalent to eternal salvation. None of these things is required for kingdom entrance. These are all rewards awaiting the overcoming believer.

We don't know all that is in store for the overcoming believer. But from what we are told in the seven letters, we know that it will be something no one will want to miss. William Fuller, who defends this understanding of Rev 3:5, writes, 'A command that everyone keeps is superfluous, and a reward that everyone receives for a virtue that everyone has is nonsense." The eternal-rewards interpretation takes the command seriously, views the reward as a powerful motivation to obedience, and doesn't distort the Gospel!


The Lord Jesus Christ wants every believer to overcome the world by living a faithful Christian life until He returns or until death. He promises special rewards for the Christian who overcomes. Those rewards include a special fullness of life alluded to in the understatement, 'He who overcomes ... I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life.'

Jesus said, 'I came that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly' (John 10:10b). All believers have, and will forever have, life. Only overcoming believers have, and will forever have, life more abundantly. Paul echoed this same theme when he ended his letter to the Galatians with these words: 'And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart' (Gal 6:9)."