Repay Each One
“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done (Revelation 22:12).”
How we live in this life matters to our Savior. This truth is clearly demonstrated in the text noted above. After again reminding us that he is coming soon, Jesus shares that in His coming He will bring His recompense (reward - NIV) with Him. The standard for his recompense is clear: He will repay “each one for what he has done.”
Salvation, rescue from the coming wrath of God, is always by grace alone. We add nothing that can merit our own salvation (see Ephesians 2:8-9). Yet that truth should not make us think that what we do for our Lord counts for nothing. No, when Jesus comes he will repay “each one for what he has done.” This is not something we only hear about in this text. We often hear of this in the New Testament (e.g. Matthew 16:27; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Timothy 4:14). We are saved by grace alone, but we are judged (and thus rewarded) by works.
Our works are not something to despise if we claim we are saved by grace, rather our works are part of the purpose for which we were created. This is the truth presented in Ephesians 2:10. Just after Paul makes one of the clearest statements concerning the fact that we are saved by grace and not by works, Paul writes: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
No doubt about it, how we live matters to our Lord. Therefore, it should matter to us as well. Not only do our works reveal the truth of the one to whom we belong, but they also are the basis of our reward. You need not take my word on this subject, for we can listen to the words of our Savior: “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.” What, then, have we done? This is the question we should ponder.