One of religion's doctrines (as opposed to the doctrines of grace) is that rewards in heaven are earned. From the Islamic fundamentalist who believes seventy virgins await him for his personal sacrifice for Allah, to the Hindu fundamentalist whose exhaustive belief system in rewards motivates his every earthly action, religion thrives on keeping her followers motivated by rewards.
Unfortunately, within the Arminian system of evangelical theology, rewards also play a prominent role. The idea that the thief on the cross is rewarded as much as the Apostle Paul is unfathomable to the average Arminian. Faith, commitment, and obedience are not gifts, but works of man according to the Arminian. Thus, the Christian with more faith, more commitment and more works will be rewarded more than others in heaven.
Some Christians argue that without a system of rewards there would be no incentive for Christians to do good on earth. However, the evangelical motive for obedience and good works is never to be fear of punishment or the prospect of reward, but gratefulness for the Christ and His work of removing all punishment for our sin and guaranteeing our eternal inheritance by His obedience.
Yesterday, a friend set me the following set of illustrative pictures to visually display the silly logic of believing a Christian's inheritance is based upon his own work and not Christ's.
The Super Saint Mansion: This is the home of those rare folks who totally commit themselves to the task of advancing the Kingdom of God.
The Widow's Mite Mansion: Jesus' example of the poor widow out-giving wealthy men proved that it may not be so obvious who will be greatly blessed with riches in Heaven.
The God Fearing Mansion: The Bible repeatedly declares to us that God will, someday, pointedly ask each of us to give an account of the good deeds we've accomplished in our life on earth. This type of mansion is for people that wisely acted on God's warning.
The Average Christian Mansion: In heaven, even the average believer will enjoy living quarters that will be elegant by earthly standards.
The Struggling Believer Mansion: This home is for people who made it into heaven by the skin of their teeth. It's far better to live as a pauper in heaven, than to face the alternative.
The Spiritually Immature Mansion: Many Christians fail to fully mature in their faith. Because these folks cling to juvenile ways, a play house would be a fitting home for them.
The Wood, Hay and Stubble Mansion: This is the dwelling place for those individuals who did everything in life for their own glory. Many high-minded preachers would easily fit into this category.
The Pew Warmer Mansion: One of the saddest groups of people in heaven will be those who never did anything beyond going to church every Sunday. They had the knowledge of the truth, but they never did anything with it.
The Quitter Mansion: This is a home that will never be lived in because the person slated for this lot was a believer in name only. Angels began to build him a mansion, but they stopped work when it was clear the client had no intention of fulfilling his commitment.
Thank God my inheritance is earned by Christ's obedience.
In His Grace,