Have you ever wondered if there are “degrees of reward” for those who will go to heaven and “degrees of punishment” for those who will go to hell? Many have; in many Bible classes this has been a “hot topic.” Opinions may be many and strong, but as with any other issue, we must turn to God’s word because only it is an authoritative source for Bible questions.
Studying whether or not there are degrees of reward in heaven should begin with one key point: all the saved receive salvation (i.e. this will be one thing all the righteous have in common). In Heb. 5:9 the Bible says: having been made perfect, he became unto all them that obey him the author of eternal salvation.
Although all the saved will receive salvation, does the Bible says there will be degrees of reward? The answer to this question is YES! Consider these verses:
Matt 25:14-28: 14 For (it is) as (when) a man, going into another country, called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. 15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one; to each according to his several ability; and he went on his journey. 16 Straightway he that received the five talents went and traded with them, and made other five talents. 17 In like manner he also that (received) the two gained other two. 18 But he that received the one went away and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. 19 Now after a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and maketh a reckoning with them. 20 And he that received the five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: lo, I have gained other five talents. 21 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 22 And he also that (received) the two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: lo, I have gained other two talents. 23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 24 And he also that had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou didst not sow, and gathering where thou didst not scatter; 25 and I was afraid, and went away and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, thou hast thine own. 26 But his lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I did not scatter; 27 thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the bankers, and at my coming I should have received back mine own with interest. 28 Take ye away therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him that hath the ten talents.
In the First Corinthian letter 1 Cor. 3:8 says: Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: but each shall receive his own reward according to his own labor.
Matthew 6:20: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. Will all “lay up the same amount of treasure?”
In the book of Hebrews (Heb. 10:28-29) the writers speaks “of how much sorer punishment.” Just as there will be differences in reward, so such will also occur with punishment. In fact, Jesus made this specific point in Lk. 12:47-48: Luke 12:47-48: And that servant, who knew his lord’s will, and made not ready, nor did according to his will, shall be beaten with many (stripes); 48 but he that knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few (stripes). And to whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required: and to whom they commit much, of him will they ask the more.
For additional verses on this subject, see Rom. 2:6 and Mt. 11:21-22.
Find the truth about God and become a New Testament Christian. Find out more about New Testament Christianity by running some Internet searches for “church of Christ” and “churches of Christ.” You may also want to visit http://www.abiblecommentary.com for Bible study information.
Remember, in order to be saved and enjoy all God’s blessings (not the least of which is salvation), a person must have faith (Jn. 8:24), be willing to repent (Lk. 13:3), and after confessing Christ as Lord, the final step is water baptism (Rom. 6:3; 1 Cor. 12:13; 1 Pet. 3:20-21). Bible baptism is by immersion only (“burial,” Rom. 6:4), and once it is done, heaven puts that person “into Christ” (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3). After proper baptism a person has their sins forgiven (Acts 2:38).