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Gift vs. Prize

Our Gift and Our Prize

 

Christians do have a gift from God:

"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)

We see that a Gift is something that is given without a cost to the receiver. Salvation is given freely to all those who believe. We do not pay for it since Jesus Christ paid the debt by His death on the cross.  We merely have to accept it for it to be ours.

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."  (Ephesians 2:8,9)

See also John 3:15, 16; John 17:2; I John 5:11.

Christians also have a Prize:

"That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.  Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.  Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:10-14)

And again:

"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." (I Corinthians 9:24-27)

Now a Prize is something attained by performing a task, completing a mission or reaching a goal. So what is Paul saying the prize is that he most assuredly desires? "If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead." Paul wanted to gain the prize of the resurrection.  The book of Revelation gives more encouragement for us all to attain the goal:

"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." (Revelation 20:4-6)

The prize is ruling and reigning with Christ for a thousand years. There is no passage in God's Word that says we will rule and reign with Him because we are saved.  Even this first passage states those that lived and reigned with Christ was because they were beheaded for the witness of

Jesus and the Word of God, they did not worship the Beast or his image and they did not receive his mark.  They did something (God's will) to have part in the resurrection.

There are some big differences between the gift of salvation and the prize of the resurrection, to rule and reign in the Millennial Kingdom.

Eternal life lasts forever and has no end, yet the Kingdom will end after only a short thousand years when Christ turns over the Kingdom to God the Father (Revelation 20:4-6; I Corinthians 15:23-28).

You need only believe in Christ for salvation, there is no work for it (Ephesians 2:8,9). Yet, Paul sought for and worked for the resurrection as we saw in Philippians and First Corinthians.

Eternal life is given upon the first moment of belief and can never be lost (Ephesians 2:8,9; John 3:15,16; John 5:24; etc.).  But the Kingdom can be lost by those Christians not worthy of it (Matthew 7:21; Matthew 25:14-30). There is work to be done in seeking the prize and being worthy of the Kingdom (Luke 12:31; Luke 20:35,36; I Corinthians 9:24-27).

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33)