There is a saying that some unsaved people use when describing the lives of those of us who live a holy lifestyle. They say that we are simply living for that “Pie in the sky, by and by”. What they mean is that we live for a reward that will come someday. Not understanding the joyful relationship that we have with our God every day, they might even deem to feel sorry for us. But if they only knew the relief of having the weight of sin guilt lifted from our shoulders; the peace that we experience in the midst of a storm; the love that God shows us day by day; and the glory that we experience by the power of the Holy Ghost, they too would run to the feet of Jesus, crying, “What must I do to be saved?” In a sense, I do not disagree with those who tout that we are living for that Pie in the sky, by and by. Matt. 16:24-28 discusses the costs and rewards of discipleship.
24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
These Scriptures speak of self-denial, carrying a personal cross, losing one’s life now for finding it later. It speaks of valuing one’s soul over momentary gains. The scriptures further tell us that Jesus will come in full glory to reward his true disciples. There are many who are so “now” oriented and so “me-me” oriented that they simply cannot imagine waiting for some future reward for good behavior. What those individuals need to consider is the fact that Matt. 16:27 says:
27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. (Author’s emphasis)
But wait. That Scripture says every man shall be rewarded. What that verse means is that those who have obeyed God, received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and have lived a life that is pleasing unto Him will be positively rewarded, while those who were disobedient and did the opposite will be negatively rewarded. So, no matter what happens, everyone will receive a reward, based on his own behavior. Seems to me that a wise individual would work towards a positive reward, since a reward is awaiting every man. Hmmm. That puts a little different spin on the whole concept of Pie in the sky by and by, doesn’t it? Mat. 12:36-37 tells us:
36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
So even the very words that one speaks will be evaluated and each individual will be judged based even upon the idlest words. Sounds like since we all will partake of that Pie in the sky by, and by we’d better make sure that our pie is sweet. We might have to eat our words. It’s up to each of us. Get right people and let’s go home. BTW, Holiness is still Right!