THE REWARD BEING THE KINGDOM OF THE HEAVENS
Let us go on. Many people know that there is a difference between salvation and reward. But there are many people who do not see what the reward is. In the Bible, whether with the Lord Jesus, or with the apostles, the words they spoke concerning the reward and the kingdom were not spoken lightly, in the same way the gift and eternal life were not spoken of lightly. When the Lord Jesus says in the Gospel of John that He gives eternal life to His sheep, He is speaking reality and not some empty words (John 10:28). Romans 6 says that the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (v. 23). It is so clear that the gift of God is eternal life. What then is the reward? The Bible clearly shows us that the reward is the crown, the throne, and the kingdom of the heavens. The kingdom of the heavens is the reward. In the Bible, there are three aspects to the kingdom of the heavens. In the first aspect, the kingdom of the heavens is theoutward manifestation of God’s authority today; it is the outward manifestation of God’s sovereignty. The Bible calls this the kingdom of the heavens. The second aspect is the authority of the heavens controlling and limiting man. This is also called the kingdom of the heavens. However, there is a third aspect of the kingdom of the heavens; it refers to the reward.
The Lord’s sermon on the mount in Matthew 5—7 speaks of the kingdom of the heavens. These teachings of the Lord tell us how man can enter into the kingdom of the heavens. Matthew 5—7 repeatedly speaks of the matter of reward. We see very clearly that the words "the kingdom of the heavens" and the word "reward" are found together many times. Many are familiar with the Beatitudes. The Chinese call them the Eight Blessings. Actually, there are nine blessings in the Beatitudes. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Also, blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens. The kingdom of the heavens is mentioned twice in these few blessings. At the end, the Lord says, "Blessed are you when they reproach and persecute you, and while speaking lies, say every evil thing against you because of Me. Rejoice and exult, for your reward is great in the heavens" (Matt. 5:11-12). Here we must admit that the reward is the kingdom of the heavens. The Lord begins by saying that this kind and that kind of people are blessed because the kingdom of the heavens is theirs. At the end He says that these people are blessed because their reward is great in the heavens. These parallel sentences show us that the kingdom of the heavens is God’s reward. There is no difference between the two.
(Gospel of God, The (2 volume set), Chapter 20, by Watchman Nee)