No Degrees In Glory
I encourage you to read and carefully study the parable of the labourers (Matthew 20:1-16). In it our Lord Jesus teaches us, as plainly and clearly as possible, that in the kingdom of heaven all the Lord’s servants shall be equal. The last and the first shall be the same. All receive the same reward. All are made equal. Those who labour most, labour longest, and labour with the greatest measure of success (as seen in the eyes of men), are exactly the same and have exactly the same reward. In other words, the penitent thief who was saved in the eleventh hour and the apostle Paul, brother Abraham and righteous Lot have the same inheritance.
Contrary as that appears to the flesh and the reasonings of human religion, it is the plainly revealed truth of Holy Scripture. Though there shall be degrees of punishment for the wicked in hell because there are degrees of wickedness (Matthew 11:20-24), there shall be no degrees of reward and glory among the saints in heaven because there are no degrees of redemption and no degrees of righteousness. Consider these six facts…
1. Heaven, and all that it is, was earned and purchased for all God’s elect by Christ, who has now taken possession of it in the name of His elect, as their forerunner (Hebrews 6:20).
2. We were predestined to obtained our inheritance from eternity. Indeed, we have already obtained it in our Surety (Ephesians 1:11).
3. All believers are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17).
4. Our Saviour gave all the glory He earned as our Mediator to all His elect (John 17:5; John 17:20).
5. In Christ every believer is presently worthy of heaven’s glory (Colossians 1:12).
6. Glorification is but the consummation of salvation; and salvation is by grace alone, according to God’s eternal purpose of grace in Christ (Romans 8:28-30).
That means that no part of heaven’s bliss and glory is the reward of our works, but all is the reward of God’s free grace in Christ! All spiritual blessings are ours from eternity in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). And that with which God blessed us in Christ before the world began, He will not take from us when this world is no more (Romans 11:29).
Salvation is by grace alone. Man’s will, man’s worth, and man’s works have absolutely nothing to do with God’s salvation. Our works contribute nothing to our justification, our sanctification, or our glorification. “Salvation is of the LORD.” (Jonah 2:9)