Is there guilt in receiving rewards in Heaven?
@Artelle_Peters Good question Would you be willing to share what motivated you to ask this specific question? How come you think a person may feel guilty for receiving rewards in Heaven?
Here are the things I can think of and a brief response:
- a person may feel guilty if they felt undeserving. However, since we all belong to God’s family because of the grace shown us in Christ Jesus, the rewards ultimately bring glory God Himself and express the delight of a Father in His beloved children who have done His will. Who feels guilty about receiving their father’s love? That’s the way it is supposed to be…
- a person may feel guilty because they are concerned about those suffering eternal punishment. While I admit that the view of Hell presented by many people would indeed make me feel guilty, I believe with all my heart that when we actually see God’s justice we will recognize that it is merciful, gracious and right.
- a person may feel guilty because they felt they had unfair access to truth that others did not have who suffer judgment, but this is a misunderstanding of God. God knows what each individual person knows and sees their heart and how they have responded to the truth they know. God’s justice is not a blind yes / no checklist - He is the judge of all the earth, who sees the hearts of mankind.
A few threads that may or may not be directly relevant:
The only thing I can think of is when you don’t get a reward for something you could’ve done but didn’t. Or see how you had the wrong motive when you did something. I honestly believe God has that covered though for those who may not get any rewards at all (if that even happens). We have to remember to not put our new life with God in the same lane as life with God now. It will be very different.
Personally I don’t think there will be any guilt. When we receive our rewards it will be because we did something worthy of receiving them. We will be in a perfect state of mind and emotional health. This means no more thinking we don’t deserve something we worked for while at the same time not thinking we deserve more than what we got. It will be a perfect balance of humility and self-worth.
Even on this side of life, we have to learn to be thankful for what God gives us. Sometimes we forfeit the joy and peace he gives because people make us feel guilty for having what they don’t have. But that creates an opportunity to show that God loves and gives to his children and they can be his child too. You feel guilty when you believe you’ve done something wrong. It’s not wrong to accept what God gives you. Things go wrong when we become arrogant and don’t appreciate what he gives us and what he’s done for us.
I am wondering if what prompts this question is the idea that Christians ought to do what is right for its own sake without being motivated by rewards? I wrestled with this myself at one point and found the thoughts of C.S. Lewis to be enormously helpful.
In particular, his famous sermon “The Weight of Glory” (one of my favorite of all his writings!) speaks to this in its very first few paragraphs:
"The New Testament has lots to say about self-denial, but not about self-denial as
an end in itself. We are told to deny ourselves and to take up our crosses in order
that we may follow Christ; and nearly every description of what we shall
ultimately find if we do so contains an appeal to desire. If there lurks in most
modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for
the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant
and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith.
Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering
nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds
our desires, not too strong, but too weak…We must not be troubled by unbelievers when they say that this promise of reward makes the Christian life a mercenary affair. There are different kinds of reward. "
Lewis then goes on to show this through numerous examples, such as:
“Money is not the natural reward of love; that is why we call a man mercenary if
he marries a woman for the sake of her money. But marriage is the proper reward
for a real lover, and he is not mercenary for desiring it.”
I found his careful identification of these distinctions to be very constructive for my thinking!
Furthermore, the sermon develops a theology of desire and longing which have really shaped my Christian journey. I highly recommend giving it a read if your question has any roots in this kind of concern of inauthentic, unvirtuous, or “mercenary” motives.
Is there guilt for the gift of salvation? Is there guilt for Gods daily blessings? Must I go on? Do you have guilt when you get a gift from a loved one?
I must say I feel guilt every thing I look at Christ, I am unworthy!
A reward given by someone who loves me and you as much as Christ will produce both a little guilt and a lot of joy. Rewards express thanks and meaning, value. They are an expression of His great love…
Thank you for your question, I never really thought about it.
I may have a different guilt! It concerns about seeing the mansions that have been built by the good that was established while in this earthly realm & how that I do not know how to build! Therefore, the guilt of not doing, being a prayer warrior or fasting enough gives me a sense of when upon arriving in Heaven that I am just happy enough to be there!
Thank YOU Mz. Lizbeth! The C.S. Lewis articles will be a reference from now on of course! My thoughts of getting to Heaven to find mansions built by the Saints while in the earthly realm gave me pause as I am not a builder, but would love to acquire this wisdom of knowledge of good on this earth!
@Artelle_Peters I think that is true of all of us At the end of the day, it is in Christ alone that we live and all of the true good that we do is only a result of His love shining through the brokenness of our lives.
I also think that in the Bible the mansions are only a way of trying to communicate Heavenly things to earthly people. Jesus Himself is the reward!
Guilt in Heaven? We don’t deserve God’s grace. Why would you feel ‘guilty?’ 1John 8-9 Confess your sins to the LORD and ask for His forgiveness. Ask and you will receive God’s mercy.
Absence from the body means you’d be present with the LORD. 2 Cor 5. You will be in front of the HOLY GOD of the Universe. I doubt you’d feel anything other than gratitude. People generally fall on their face there. But Peter asks us to be sure of our election. Have you asked Jesus to be your Savior? Do you believe He died for you? He is LORD. Then just surrender everything to Him. Your life. Confess your sins. He is the Living God. Ask God to renew your heart. Fill you with the Holy Spirit. He wants you to rest in His GRACE. Ephesians 2:8-9. We dont deserve it. Thank God He loves us.
Thank you for your response! I believe that my election is secure, born again & baptized in the faith! I was questioning my guilt of not contributing to the mansion that is to be built in Heaven while my spirit is of the earth! How do I contribute to that habitat?
Hello Artelle, putting your words into my words you feel your guilt is coming from not laying up treasures in Heaven with your works here on earth? If what I have said is correct then each individual has many things they can and cant do but all are needed in His Kingdom. Can i be an eye if i am the hand we each play a part and each one is just as needed as the other. Your confession of faith has encouraged me and certainly others. Scripture says they cast thier crowns at His feet. Acknowledging that Christ alone was worthy it was His works that mattered. Your witness in the world has eternal impact.
@Artelle_Peters Good question I think the main goal is to make our soul and body a temple for God to dwell in on this earth and in that way we will store up treasure in Heaven. Always remembering that Jesus Himself is our greatest treasure!
One passage that may help you both with your guilt and with understanding how to store up treasure in Heaven is Colossians 3. In it, we find two wonderful truths.
- as a Christ one, you are chosen, holy and dearly loved - you do not have to feel guilt because of what Jesus did for you on the cross
- Paul gives clear instructions on how to live as one of God’s children - forgive as we have been forgiven, be clothed in love and sing praises to our God from a thankful heart
I believe this is a great passage to meditate on and memorize. It helps anchor your identity as a beloved, holy child of the King and reminds you how to live on a day to day basis.
Colossians 3:12-17 - Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Thank YOU, Mr. Sean O! That has helped me understand the rewards because I knew that our Judaic brothers/sisters carried guilt on earth, but not into the Heavens!!!
@Artelle_Peters Yes, the Scriptures say faith has always been the method of salvation and Christ the means, even for those who came before Christ’s death and resurrection.
Thank YOU Mr. Sean O!!!