The Christian’s great reward is not that he shall become some sort of superhuman or angelic being; it does not lie in the promise of 72 virgins or of men grovelling under his feet; it does not lie in controlling the elements and in being one with nature; it does not merely lie in tranquil peace and comfort as we are served like awesome gods of the earth; I dare say, it does not lie in glorification as its end! The Christian hunts for an infinitely richer and more valuable game; he forages the world in search of the eternal food. The Saint counts on a transcendent prosperity; his bounty stretches as far as His eye can look and see. This abundant reward is Christ Jesus Himself!
Christ is our great treasure; He is our supreme pleasure; the eternal wage of our quest; the goal of all our existence; the very end of our being alive; the perfect home of rest that we are ever seeking! O, be not mistaken — Satan shall offer you the satisfaction of this earth in exchange for Him; he shall offer all the exhilirating experience of fame and worldly acclaim; he shall offer us worldly thrones and mighty seats to judge his blind subjects and reign with him in the temporal; he shall offer the whole wide world for a prize; he shall give the tribes of lost men into your hand on a silver platter. The devil insists that you take up the successes of conquering an untamed earth at the seemingly trivial cost of following Jesus; he shall hide its wasting appearance and show you its devious allure; pockets full of corrupt money shall bombard your feeble mind; pleasurable experiences of past sin shall replay over and over in your weak heart; the laughter of young and loose girls drunk on wine shall be in your hearing; the temptation to be better than others in all things shall he have you consider. Yet, with what shall we compare the Lord, Christian? Is there a better reward than His very own self? Tell me of it and I shall hear you; speak it with your mouth, Saint, if you dare! Shall you forfeit the appearance of God’s own face for that ugly and filthy rotten system that shall be no more shortly? Shall you love the loose woman in your heart and inherit her wages of death? Shall you or I spend our goods in the summer and have the winter find us without food or shelter? Is that not to depend upon a stinging scorpion for pity? Shall we so sin against the Lord our God as to presently give in to our eternally miserable yet deceitfully short pleasures, whose fruit is sweet in taste but fatally poisonous to our eternal health?
No, beloved Saint of God! It is Christ Jesus that we pursue. That Christ Who is both God and Man, Who having been from eternal days stepped into time and took up the infirmities of the flesh in order to die for us; having died and been buried, He awoke in an undying and perfect resurrection on the third day, securing Salvation for us; Who even now sits at the right hand of power as He awaits the humiliation of His enemies; Who ever so joyfully pleads our case before the Almighty, having experienced our own infirmities, and become our true Brother; Who now knows no sin, no defeat, no pain, no sorrow, no humiliation, no hunger, no thirst, no hopelessness, no death — having undergone all these for our undeserving selves through His obedient life and shameful death; Who never changes nor can lie; Who holds all the world in His Almighty hand; Who is Sovereign Ruler over angels, Omnipotent Judge of all flesh and Gracious Redeemer of His elect; Who, in Glorious fame, lives and shall forever more live to be worshipped by all. This Jesus Christ we shall have, even if we have to give up all our material, even our own precious lives. He has overcome Satan; He has overcome the world; He has overcome sin in the flesh — it is surely done. He has performed these things not for Himself but for His own chosen people, that is, the Church. He has caused us to see Him; to love Him; to obey His Gospel call by Faith; to humbly do His bidding; to love one another in sincerity; to co-inherit the glorious promise of His Father’s vast and everlasting kingdom! Christian, see your Treasure! Saint, see your Portion! Friend, see your eternal Friend! May You have us, dear Lord Jesus. Amen!