Levels of Reward and Punishment

Luke 12:

47"That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

Zechariah 4,5,6; Luke 12 – Passage Lookup – New International Version – BibleGateway.com

This is a fairly difficult teaching but an important one I think.  I have heard many people over the years say things like, "Sin is sin and one is just as bad as the other."  I don’t really agree with statements like that.  I will say that any sin, big or small is enough to condemn us as we stand before our Holy and Righteous God, that’s why Paul was correct in saying that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  We are all sinners there is no doubt about that, from the most holy person you can think of, to the rottenest scoundrel on the planet, we are all on the same boat when it comes to being a sinner.  However, that does not mean that every sin is equal. 

Furthermore, not every sin is the same for every person.  The same act may be more of a sin to me than it is to you depending on our understanding of right and wrong and our relationship and knowledge of God.  47"That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows.  That says that someone who does something wrong but doesn’t know that it’s wrong may be punished, but that punishment will be much less than a person who knows its wrong and does it anyway.  So we can see that there are levels of punishment.  Woe to those who know the truth, who have been raised with the proper knowledge of God and Jesus but refuse to accept it, to those who have been given much, much will be demanded. 

And while we are talking about this, we might also think about rewards.  Earlier in the same chapter Jesus said. 33Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.  He’s telling us to lay up treasures for ourselves in heaven.  When I was growing up there were two songs we sang about heaven one is "I’ve got a mansion"  and another is "Lord Build Me a Cabin in the Corner of Glory Land."   I love both of these songs, and there is no doubt that just being in heaven, and living in a cabin would be wonderful, but why wouldn’t we want the mansion?  How do you get the mansion?  You get the mansion by laying up treasures in heaven, by doing good deeds, serving God, sacrificing and loving your neighbor as yourself.  By producing those fruits of the Holy Spirit that resides within, these are the things we do in order to provide for ourselves that purse that will not wear out. 

Have you ever known a student in school that is very smart but just skims by and passes by a few points because he or she just didn’t want to put in the effort and work hard enough to get the A+ that they are capable of?  I think sometimes Christians are guilty of this as well, we do just enough to get by, just enough so that we think we can "Make it" into heaven – "Just build me a cabin in the corner." 

The message I’m trying to share with you today is not intended to scare you into obedience and good deeds, but rather to encourage you to go above and beyond your normal levels of service and love so that you may increase your rewards in the life to come where our deeds from this life will certainly follow us.


Holy God,

Thank you for providing us with The Way to salvation through Your Son Jesus Christ and the sacrifice that you made through Him on the cross. Please help us all to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven by serving you on earth and loving one another.  Keep us ever watchful and expecting your return so that on that day we may rejoice as we see The Lamb of God returning as The Lion of Judah.

In Christ Name –



2 comments on “Levels of Reward and Punishment

  1. jerry says:

    love it brother, hope i can rcv fewer blows and i can serve properly

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