Text: Colossians 3:22-25 [See also Ephesians 6:5-8]
Definitions—A servant is, ‘A person, male or female, that attends another for the purpose of performing menial offices for him, or who is employed by another for such offices or for other labor, and is subject to his command. The word is correlative to master. Servant differs from slave, as the servant’s subjection to a master is voluntary, the slave’s is not. Every slave is a servant, but every servant is not a slave…A person who voluntarily serves another or acts as his minister…One who [voluntarily] yields obedience to another.’ A slave is, ‘A person who is wholly subject to the will of another; one who has no will of his own, but whose person and services are wholly under the control of another.’ A bondman is, ‘A man slave, or one bound to service without wages.’ (Noah Webster, 1828)
Colossians 3:22 “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:”
Not with eyeservice—In the New Testament, “servant” can refer either to a bondservant (1Corinthians 7:21) or to someone who is voluntarily employed by another (John 12:26; 15:15; 1Corinthians 9:19; Philippians 2:7). Except for those who are saved and faithful, most slaves and bondmen are menpleasers who do not fear God. They only work hard when they are under the watchful eye their owner or his representative. However the servants of the Lord, who know that “the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy” (Psalm 33:18; 18:24; 34:15; Proverbs 5:21; 1Peter 3:12), who live by faith, “as seeing him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27), and who know that God is working in them (Philippians 2:13), will work out their own “salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:1) They will “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). They will live, “not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.” (1Thessalonians 2:4; Matthew 7:21; 1Peter 4:2; 1John 2:17)
WITH ALL THINE HEART
Colossians 3:23 “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;”
Old Testament believers—Solomon commanded: “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10; Deuteronomy 6:5) This includes the performance of all duties from the lowest menial chore to the greatest work. Moses declared to the children of Israel: “This day the LORD thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.” (Deuteronomy 26:16; 30:9-10) The Lord Jesus said that the first and great commandment is, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:37-40), and: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)
Born again believers—Peter commanded believers: “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (1Peter 1:22-23) We have been redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ” (1Peter 1:18-19) and we are commanded: “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1Corinthians 6:20). The apostle Paul testified, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13) In his letter to the Corinthians Paul wrote: “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (2Corinthians 9:8). Paul wrote to Timothy: “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (2Timothy 2:24-26)
REWARDED BY THE JUDGE
Colossians 3:24 “Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive…
God’s Son is Judge of all—The Lord Jesus said, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son” (John 5:22; Hebrews 3:23). Jesus “was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.” (Acts 10:42). The Lord Jesus “shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom” (2Timothy 4:1; 1Peter 4:5; Acts 17:31). He shall “judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.” (Psalm 9:8; 72:2; 96:13; 98:9; Isaiah 11:4) “…in righteousness he doth judge and make war.” (Revelation 19:11)
Colossians 3:24 “…the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”
Rewarded inheritance—A reward is not a gift! A reward is that which is given in return for a man’s good (Hebrews 11:25-26; 2John 1:8) or evil (2Peter 2:13; Jude 1:11) works (Revelation 22:12). For example, “all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26) are “heirs of God” (Romans 8:17), but we will only be “joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:17; 2Timothy 3:12)! The joint-heirs will “through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (Hebrews 6:11-12; 1Peter 3:9; Revelation 21:7)
Gifted inheritance—Contrary to the false gospels of many ‘christian religions’ God never rewards eternal life to any one because of good works. “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10-12)! Furthermore the scripture clearly declares: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5); and again, “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)
Saving faith—Thankfully, “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) Eternal life is “the free gift…the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ…” (Romans 5:15) The gospel of Christ, “how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1Corinthians 15:3-4), “is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16)!
Eternal incorruptible inheritance—On the glorious day of his bodily resurrection from the dead, and before he would allow human hands to touch him (John 20:17), by “his own blood he [Jesus Christ] entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us…And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called [“by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2Thessalonians 2:14)] might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” (Hebrews 9:11-15) In response to this glorious truth the apostle Peter declared: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1Peter 1:3-5) The apostle Paul wrote that we believers should be “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:12-14).
Rewarded at the judgment seat of Christ—The grace of God teaches the members of Christ’s “body, the church” (Colossians 1:18), “that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:11-14); “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (2Corinthians 5:10; Colossians 3:3-4) At this judgment, “…every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour…Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (1Corinthians 3:8-15) There will be no ungodly “sinners in the congregation of the righteous” (Psalm 1:5), for they have no inheritance among God’s people. “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (1Corinthians 6:9-10) “…they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:3-5)
Rewarded at the great white throne of Christ—The apostle John faithfully recorded the events surrounding the conclusion of the thousand year reign of Christ (Revelation 20:1-15) When the earth is burned up (2Peter 3:10), the thousand year reign of Christ will end, nevertheless “the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2Peter 1:11; Daniel 7:27) has no end (Psalm 145:13; Isaiah 9:7; Luke 1:33)!
The dead—“And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them [see also 2Peter 3:10]. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:10-15; 21:8) Religious hypocrites “shall receive the greater damnation.” (Matthew 23:14; 2Peter 2:1-17) “…the LORD shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness.” (2Samuel 3:39; Proverbs 11:31; 1Kings 8:32; 2Chronicles 6:23; Isaiah 59:18) I know of nothing more wicked than religions that lead multitudes of people to hell by preaching “another gospel” (2Corinthians 11:4)!
God’s servants—John also saw and recorded: “the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.” (Revelation 11:16-18) God’s servants the prophets and the saints to be rewarded in this congregation will be composed of all of the believers who lived from Adam to the first coming of Christ, during Christ’s earthly ministry, during “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7), and during the thousand year reign of Christ. The church—which will have already been judged and rewarded at “the judgment seat of Christ” (Romans 14:10; 2Corinthians 5:10), will be “on the LORD’S side…” (Exodus 32:26) judging angels (1Corinthians 6:3)!
ALL DISOBEDIENCE WILL RECEIVE A DUE REWARD
Colossians 3:25 “But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.”
God’s general law for all men—“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7) Every transgression and disobedience will receive a just recompense of reward (Hebrews 2:2).
Believers—A believer who does wrong “shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (1Corinthians 3:15; 2John 1:8)
The unbelieving—All unbelievers will lose their own souls (Matthew 16:26; Mark 8:36) and “…shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8) Because of their deeds some of the unbelieving will suffer more than others (Matthew 10:14-15; 11:23-24).
Advice to the unbelieving—I recommend reading the gospel according to John. In his gospel, John wrote, “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:30-31) “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).