The Rewards of Faith

“Faith is a basis of things hoped for, a conviction of things unseen.” —Hebrews 11:1, Wilson’s Diaglott

THE VITAL IMPORTANCE of faith in our relationship to God is brought to our attention in Hebrews 11:6, which reads, “Without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” The logic of this is obvious. How could we approach God in prayer, and expect to enjoy his blessing, if we were not sure of his existence? And surely God’s promises would mean nothing to us if we did not believe that he ‘is’, that he exists. On the other hand, Paul sets forth the position and joys of those who do have a firm faith, saying:

“We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by (Wilson’s Diaglott, “with”) Jesus, and shall present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God for which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”—II Cor. 4:13-18

One of the rewards of faith, then, is the joy we receive in looking at the unseen things which God has promised, those precious eternal glories which can be seen and appreciated only by the eye of faith. We cannot, of course, ‘see’ the heavenly rewards in all their glorious details. But, through the promises of God, we are assured that we will be like the resurrected Jesus, and will see him as he is. (I John 3:2) God’s promises also reveal that if we are faithful unto death we will be partakers of the divine nature.—II Pet. 1:4

We also see, by the eye of faith, that promised world-wide government on the “shoulder” of The Prince of Peace. And we ‘see’ ourselves with Jesus in that kingdom, living and reigning a thousand years for the blessing of all the families of the earth. (Isa. 9:6,7; Rev. 20:6; Luke 12:32) The ‘seeing’ of all these things brings joy to our hearts. And, with us, even as it was with Jesus, this joy which is set before us by the promises of God enables us to endure the cross, and to continue on in the narrow way of sacrifice, knowing that if we are faithful even unto death we will receive the crown of life.—Rev. 2:10

Friendship Based on Faith

Through his faith Abraham became the friend of God. (II Chron. 20:7; Isa. 41:8; James 2:23) True friendships are based on faith and confidence. God had faith in Abraham because Abraham had faith in him. The vast majority of the human race are alienated from God by their unbelief, their lack of faith in him. Doubtless most of these in a vague sort of way may acknowledge that they believe there is a God, but are unwilling to order their lives to the doing of his will. However, Abraham did indeed order his life to the doing of God’s will.—Heb. 11:8-10

In Genesis 15:6 we are informed that Abraham’s faith was “counted” or imputed to him for righteousness. (Rom. 4:3-22; Gal. 3:6) Abraham was a member of the sinful and condemned race. Like all other humans he was imperfect. But God imputed his faith to him as righteousness, and received him into the circle of his friends. No provision had yet been made to give life to the fallen race, so the imputed righteousness of Abraham’s faith did not lead to life. But it did result in many rich blessings as, through the years, he enjoyed the friendship and fellowship of the Creator.

Paul draws a lesson from Abraham for believers of the Gospel Age, saying, “To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” (Rom. 4:5) The expression in this text, ‘worketh not’, refers to the works of the Law. Actually Abraham did demonstrate his faith by his works, for “faith without works is dead.” (James 2:19-24) For one merely to say, “I believe,” is not enough. Before faith is imputed for righteousness it must be demonstrated, and in the case of those now being drawn to the Lord by the Gospel this necessary demonstration of faith is a full consecration to do the Heavenly Father’s will, regardless of the cost.

Various Rewards

The rewards of faith are many and varied. To the woman who was healed of the issue of blood, Jesus said, “Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole.” (Matt. 9:20-22) This was her reward of faith. We do not know how much she may have understood of the teachings of Jesus, but she had seen and heard enough to believe that he could heal her, and demonstrated that faith in a way that brought the reward.

Another reward of faith is peace with God. Paul wrote, “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Rom. 5:1,2) Abraham’s faith brought him the friendship of his Creator, but he was not released from Adamic condemnation. He was not reconciled with God in the sense that the condemnation to death had been removed. But Paul assures us that this is now possible for those of the Gospel Age whose faith is counted unto them for righteousness.

Paul explains the basis upon which this is possible. It is through our Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, one of the rewards of faith now is that the merit of Jesus’ redeeming blood is imputed to us, setting aside death’s condemnation, and giving us full reconciliation with God—peace with God. And this, in turn, leads the consecrated to further rewards of faith, for Paul adds, “By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”—Rom. 5:2

The granting of access into the high position of divine favor in which we are given a hope of partaking of the glory of God is the purpose of our being given peace with God. The one reward is an open-sesame to the other. And what a priceless reward is the hope of the glory of God! It is quite beyond our ability to understand, but we ‘see’ it by the eye of faith, and it becomes one of our greatest causes for rejoicing.


The Apostle John wrote, “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (I John 5:4) The pleasures and inducements offered by the world are most appealing to our flesh. Many of the advantages offered by the world are not morally wrong, and are quite proper for those who have not consecrated themselves to follow in the footsteps of the Master. But they are of no assistance to us as New Creatures in Christ Jesus. We have consecrated ourselves to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, and he said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”—John 16:33

Jesus also said, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love its own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” (John 15:18,19) How does faith enable us to overcome the ostracism and ill-will of the world, which of necessity is unpleasant to the flesh? How does faith help us to turn our backs upon the ‘good things’ which the world has to offer to those who cater to its ways and cooperate with its selfish ambitions?

Indirectly the Apostle Paul answers these questons in his masterful argument proving the resurrection of the dead. He wrote, “If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die.” (I Cor. 15:32) This elaborates Paul’s statement earlier in the chapter in which he says, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”—vs. 19

If there were no future life, we would indeed be ‘most miserable’ in the sense that we would have turned our backs upon all the advantages of the present life offered by the world, and would have received nothing to take their place except to follow a course which results in ostracism and suffering. ‘Miserable’, too, in that we would be preaching falsely, if indeed there be no resurrection. However, we are glad to walk in this narrow way of suffering, and continue in it even unto death, because we know that there is that glorious ‘first resurrection’ of those who are faithful and are worthy to live and reign with Christ a thousand years. To have such a hope means that, by comparison, the pleasures of the world are as nothing. If the world hates us, it matters not. We have considered the value of what we have given up as compared with what the Lord holds out to those who lay down their lives following in the footsteps of the Master, and have made our choice.

And what has enabled us to choose the pathway which leads away from the world and its selfish interests and ambitions? It is because our faith has laid hold upon the promises of God. Our faith enables us to ‘see’ the things which the Lord has in reservation for those who love him supremely. By faith we see the future inheritance of the New Creation so definitely that anything which the world may have to offer does not tempt us to turn aside from the way of sacrifice. Thus it is that faith, the ‘basis of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen’, which is the element of Christian character which ‘overcomes the world’. And the ability to overcome the world is one of the rewards of faith.

The Peace of God

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Be careful for nothing (Moffatt Translation, ‘never be anxious’) ; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God, and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6,7) Here the ‘peace of God’ is contrasted with being ‘anxious’, or ‘overly concerned’ with respect to the vicissitudes of life. God is never anxious or worried over any of the affairs of his vast universe, so he has peace—a peace that is never disturbed.

God’s peace is based upon his certain knowledge that he has the power to control any and every situation which can arise that might seem to threaten his sovereign rule over the universe. We enjoy this same peace in proportion to our faith in the promises of God to care for our every interest—faith in his ability to accomplish this. If our faith is strong, we will enjoy a quiet and lasting peace. If at times we doubt, our peace of heart and mind will be temporarily lost and we will be anxious and worried. Much which, through lack of faith, disturbs our peace is related to our material needs. Jesus gave some excellent advice along this line. We quote the Master from the New English Revised Version:

“I bid you put away anxious thoughts about food to keep you alive and clothes to cover your body. Life is more than food, the body more than clothes. Think of the ravens: they neither sow nor reap; they have no storehouse or barn, yet God feeds them. You are worth far more than the birds! Is there a man among you who by anxious thought can add a foot to his height? If, then, you cannot do even a very little thing, why are you anxious about the rest? Think of the lilies: they neither spin nor weave; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his splendor was not attired like one of these. But if that is how God clothes the grass, which is growing in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown on the stove, how much more will he clothe you! How little faith you have! And so you are not to set your mind on food and drink; you are not to worry. For all these are things for the heathen to run after; but you have a Father who knows that you need them. No, set your mind upon the kingdom, and all the rest will come to you as well.”—Luke 12:22-31

Concern over the material needs of life is not the only thing which may disrupt our peace—that ‘peace of God which passeth all understanding.” As New Creatures in Christ Jesus we should be vitally interested in the Lord’s work, locally and worldwide. But our interest could develop into an anxious concern. We might suppose that those with whom we are associated in the ministry are not doing their part as they should, and become disturbed over their continued ignoring of our viewpoints and suggestions. Thus we would lose that peace which is so inherent in our Heavenly Father, and which should mean so much to us as daily we seek to know and to do his will.

We are not here speaking of fundamental errors and practices. Where these are present, and there is no disposition on the part of those responsible to rectify the situation, then we should withdraw our support. But we have reference now to viewpoints and opinions which we may acquire that are slightly at variance with those generally held. These may pertain to methods of service, or to the character of the message being presented. But we should remember that God is just as interested in his own cause in the earth as we are, and even more so.

The difference is that God is able to change that which he desires changed, and if he does not do so, it is because he does not see the need. This does not mean that we should not express our views when we think changes should be made. It simply means that after giving expression to what we think should be done, faith should enable us to leave the matter in the Lord’s hands to do as it pleases him. If we can do this, we will have peace—God’s peace—that quiet and blessed assurance that our loving Heavenly Father is able to control every situation in a manner which will bring honor to his name, and the greatest possible blessing to his people.

“Increase Our Faith”

Jesus said to his disciples, “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.” (Luke 17:3,4) “The apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.” (vs. 5) They sensed that to carry out instructions of this kind would require much faith, evidently more faith than they felt they possessed at that time.

It is not natural to the fallen flesh to exercise a spirit of forgiveness such as Jesus here outlined—yet this is God’s viewpoint, the divine way of love. For us to adopt and practice this viewpoint means that we must have faith in the rightness of God’s ways, and confidence that when we comply with them he will shower his blessings upon us. But it does require faith, an increasing faith; more faith, perhaps, in this area of human relationships than in almost any other experiences we may have as we walk in the narrow way. Evidently the apostles thought so, for it was in this connection that they prayed, “Lord, increase our faith.”

Faith Removes Fear

We have another lesson of faith from the Master in connection with his calming of the storm. It is recorded in Matthew 8:23-26, which reads, “When he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.”

The disciples then said, “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and sea obey him!” (vs. 27) Ah yes, here is the great lesson of this experience in the life of the disciples. What manner of man was this! Jesus is no longer a man, but is now highly exalted to the divine nature. During the days of his earthly ministry he was privileged to employ the power of his Heavenly Father for the working of miracles, even for controlling the weather. And it is no less so now. The power of the Almighty God is enlisted on our behalf, exercised through whatever agencies he may choose to employ. This is a power that easily controls the natural elements of air and sea to calm any storm which may arise, as divine wisdom might indicate the need. Why then should we be fearful? We are not usually threatened by literal storms. Generally speaking, the winds which whip up the high and turbulent waves of the sea are of no special concern to us, although there are doubtless exceptions to this in the lives of some of the Lord’s people. Our chief concern is with the symbolic winds and waves, those storms which are fomented in our lives by circumstances over which we have no control.

And what is our attitude toward these emotional tempests which rob us of our peace with God? Do we have the necessary faith to ride them out with tranquility of soul, such as is suggested by the Master’s sleeping in the ship until awakened by his distraught disciples? Or would the Lord, in such times in our lives, look into our hearts, and, noting the turbulence, the anxiety, the fear, be obliged to say as he did to Peter on the sea of Galilee, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”—Matt. 14:31

In the Scriptures we are given examples of the faith that sustains in time of trouble. David wrote: “Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. Many there be that say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me: my glory, and the lifter up of my head. I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.”—Ps. 31:1-6

Surely David had justifiable reasons for being agitated and fearful. He was surrounded by his enemies, who were insisting that his God would do nothing for him. But he trusted in the Lord, of whom he speaks as his “shield” in this time of great need. He trusted, and he prayed; and, believing that the Lord heard his prayer, and would protect him, he said, “I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me.”

Our enemies are not of the sort which threatened David. Our enemies are chiefly the world, the flesh, and the Devil—an unholy trinity which continuously opposes the New Creation. As individual members of this New Creation we are almost always under attack by these enemies. They work together subtly and ruthlessly to take our minds and hearts away from the Lord, and to destroy our faith in him. How often the suggestion comes that God will not hear us, neither will he help us. How is our faith at such times? Can we rest in the Lord so securely that we might think of ourselves as being like David, who was able to sleep knowing that the Lord would protect him against all those who sought his life.

In the New Testament we are given another illustration of this implicit faith in God which is rewarded by a sweet peace and tranquility which only the Lord can give. It is the case of Peter when incarcerated in a prison, and sentenced to die. During the night before the morning set for his execution he was in his cell, bound with chains between two guards. But the account says that Peter was sleeping. (Acts 12:1-11) How wonderful that this once impetuous Peter, who did all he could to prevent the seizure and death of Jesus, was now so resigned to the Heavenly Father’s will, and so full of faith that nothing could happen to him except by divine permission, that he was able to sleep realizing that, so far as he knew, he would be put to death that morning. How richly his faith had rewarded him!

Unto Salvation

The Apostle Peter writes that we have been begotten “unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you (Margin, ‘for us’) who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations [or testings]: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.”—I Pet. 1:3-9

Thus we are reminded that the ultimate reward of our faith will be the salvation of our souls. And then Peter explains that the salvation to which he refers is the one foretold by the prophets when they prophesied concerning “the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow.” (vss. 10,11) The salvation of those who share in the foretold sufferings of Christ is that “great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him.”—Heb. 2:3

And how great indeed is this salvation! It is exaltation to the divine nature, to immortality, to the glory of God. It is an inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, and is reserved in heaven for us. But first we must prove worthy of ‘so great salvation’—prove worthy by being faithful even unto death. (Rev. 2:10) This can be done only through the grace and power of God. And if through faith we continue to lean upon his promises, and humbly follow the instructions of his Word in laying down our lives in his service, we will receive the promised divine help.

But meanwhile we rejoice in the blessings which the Lord daily showers upon us, although at times, as Peter says, we are in ‘heaviness through manifold temptations’, or testings. But these testings are essential. They constitute the trial of our faith which is ‘much more precious than gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire’. It is only a faith that is strengthened by trials that will continue to give us the victory over the world, the flesh, and the Devil. Only such a faith will keep us faithful until the end of the way, when we will hear the coveted, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: … enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”—Matt. 25:21,23

And this joy of the Lord will be the ultimate reward of faith, that faith which is able to move ‘mountains’ of hindrances in order to do the will of the Lord; that faith which will not shrink in the face of any difficulty; that will not tremble no matter how threatening the circumstances with which we may be surrounded. May the vision given us by this faith enable us always to see these future joys and glories of eternity; and, seeing them, continue to press forward in the narrow way to the goal of attaining them!

The joys of the Lord, the joys of being acknowledged by him, associated with him, honored by him, will be shared only by the overcomers, and it is this faith that enables us to overcome. Some of the causes for these joys are mentioned in Revelation, chapters 2 and 3. Jesus is quoted as saying, “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” (Rev. 2:7) Thus is the original provision of life in the Garden of Eden used to symbolize the more abundant life, even the immortality that will be given to the overcomers. What a joy it will be to receive this reward! It is described as “a crown of life.”—vs. 10

Again, “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” (vs. 17) The ‘hidden manna’ is the manna that was hidden in a golden bowl and put within the Ark of the Covenant in the Most Holy of the typical Tabernacle. This ‘hidden manna’ did not corrupt, and was thus a symbol of the incorruptibility of the divine nature to be received by the overcomers. Those who are rewarded with the divine nature will enjoy the privilege of being in the presence of God and fellowshiping with him. This will result in “pleasures for evermore.”—Ps. 16:11

“He that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.” (Rev. 2:26,27) Here we are reminded that if faithful we will share the reward of rulership with Jesus, and be part of that glorious kingdom through which all the families of the earth will be blessed. This is another of the joys set before us, a joy that will be obtained through faith unto salvation.

Similar in implication is the promise to the faithful in the Philadelphian church: “To him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.” (Rev. 3:12) This is a further description of the kingdom arrangements through which the good pleasure of Jehovah to bless all the families of the earth will be accomplished, and if faithful we will be part of those arrangements.

Finally, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” (vs. 21) It was Jesus’ overcoming faith that enabled him to say to the thief on the cross, even when both were dying, “Thou shalt be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43) Even when the blackness of death was closing in around the Master, faith’s vision revealed the kingdom work of restitution which was to be accomplished; and faithfully he bore witness to this great truth of the divine plan.

Is our faith sustaining us in the fiery trials by which we are being tested? Are we able to “bear unmoved the world’s dread frown”? Do we have a faith that “seas of trouble cannot drown,” as the words of a familiar hymn exhort? Is our faith keeping us in the narrow way, and will it continue to do so until the very end of that way—the way that ends only in death? Let us pray, as did the apostles, that the Lord might increase our faith; for only through a strong faith can we hope to remain faithful overcomers unto the end.—Matt. 24:13

Dawn Bible Students Association
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