Doctrine of Surpassing Grace Blessings

July 23, 2010

The Doctrine of Surpassing Grace (SG3)
I. Definition and Preliminary Considerations
A) Surpassing Grace (SG3) refers to the special blessings and rewards for the
believer in eternity (Phase 3), which are above and beyond the universal
blessings for believers.
1) universal blessings include:
a) a resurrection body – 1Jn 3:2B “… We know that, when He appears, we
shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.”
b) the total absence of pain, crying, sorrow, tears, or death – Rev 21:4 “and
He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer
be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain;
the first things have passed away.”
c) experiencing the presence of the Lord, face to face – Phi 1:23 “But I am
hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be
with Christ, for that is very much better”
B) The nomenclature is taken from Eph 2:7: “so that in the ages to come He might
show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus”
1) other vocabulary used to describe SG3 includes:
a) do,xa – doxa = glory, majesty, excellence, splendor; emphasizes the source
of SG3, the Essence or glory of God, which He desires to share with us –
Rom 8:17-18
b) evlpij – elpis = hope, expectation, or confidence; it views SG3 as a future
reality, which provides motivation to apply in time – Col 1:5; Eph 1:18
c) evpaggeli,a – epangelia = a promise, that which is promised; points out
that the veracity of God is at stake in the matter of SG3 – Heb 6:11, 17-18
d) qhsauro,j – thēsauros = treasure or valuables; emphasizes the true value
of SG3 – Mt 6:19-21; Lk 12:33
e) klhronomi,a – klēronomia = inheritance, property received upon the
bequest of another; deals with the fact that God the Father has personally
determined we should have SG3, and has made us co-inheritors with Jesus
Christ, the Heir of all things – Col 3:24A; Heb 1:2
f) misqo,j – misthos = what one is paid for work, wages that one earns;
points out that Ph2 works are required to obtain SG3 – Mk 9:40; 1Cor 3:8
g) misqapodosi,a – misthapodosia = payment of wages; we receive a just
recompense for our loyalty to God under testing – Heb 10:35, 11:26
h) plou/toj – ploutos = riches, wealth; stresses that SG3 is the true treasure,
without compare in this present life – Eph 2:7
i) the phrase “eternal life” is sometimes used as an expression for SG3,
focusing on the fact that as life is made more enjoyable by possession of
certain accoutrements, so those who possess SG3 will enjoy heaven to a
greater degree – 1Tim 6:12 cp 17-19
j) “a better resurrection”; demonstrates that the believer with SG3 will have
more than just the normal/universal blessings of heaven – Heb 11:35
k) “the kingdom of God”, in certain contexts, refers to full realization of its
benefits – 2Th 1:5
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C) Every aspect of God’s Plan is based on grace, as opposed to works.
1) Ph1 – Rom 3:24 “being justified as a gift by His grace through the
redemption which is in Christ Jesus”
2) Ph2 – Rom 5:1-2 “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace
with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have
obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we
exult in hope of the glory of God.”
3) Ph3 – Eph 2:7
D) Once one believes and accesses the grace of God, they should attempt to order
their lifestyle according to the dictates of Scripture, embarking on a course of
works with the aim of pleasing God. Col 1:10; 1Th 4:1
1) it must be observed that these Ph2 works are produced from the source of
faith, which is in accordance with the principle of grace – 1Th 1:2-3
2) although our works are based on faith and proceed from the principle of
grace, God has clearly revealed that He will reward appropriate activity, just
as He will judge unrighteous activity – Mt 16:27; Jn 5:28-29
3) since we walk according to the standards of grace and faith, God’s worksproduced
reward system is still a system compatible with, and dependent
upon, grace. 2Cor 5:7 “for we walk by faith, not by sight”; Heb 10:38
II. The Judgment Seat of Christ (bh/ma – bēma) is the place of administration of SG3 to
the Royal Family. 2Cor 5:10
A) The basis for SG3 is our accumulated Divine Good Production (DGP) in time.
1) DGP is defined as the activities performed by the believer based on an understanding
of and faith in the Word of God; these works must be done under
the Filling of the Holy Spirit – cp Rom 8:3-4
2) works of any kind are not admitted in Ph1 salvation – Rom 3:28 “For we
maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.”
3) works are an issue in Ph2 salvation (sanctification), and the lack of acceptable
works demonstrates a lack of orientation to BD – Js 2:14-20
4) each increment of BD that we correctly apply accrues an increment of reward
(no matter how insignificant it may seem) – Mt 10:40-42
5) human good, which proceeds from fleshly activity and power, is not recognized,
and will not be rewarded, by God – Jn 15:5 “…he who abides in Me,
and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
6) failure to apply BD is tantamount to a denial of the Truth, and Christ denies
us reward – 2Tim 2:12-13
7) if a believer accumulates some SG3, but then enters reversionism, God will
still bestow any reward achieved prior to their defection – Heb 6:10
B) Considerations of the Bema
1) in the Greco-Roman world, the Bema consisted of a raised platform at which
an official sat to pass judgment on applicants – Jn 19:13; Ac 18:12f
2) at the Rapture, the Church Universal will be assembled at a meeting of the
Lord – 1Th 4:13-17
3) at this time each believer will have their Ph2 evaluated: all human good will
be destroyed, all DGP will be rewarded – 1Cor 3:10-15; 2Cor 5:10
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4) Christ states explicitly that He is bringing His reward with Him when He
returns – Rev 22:12 cp Isa 40:10
5) some believers will not have any rewards, and will be ashamed at this
ceremony – 1Cor 3:15 “If any man’s work will be burned up (1ST CL), he shall
suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire.”; 1Jn 2:28
6) due to differences in volitional response to the Word of God and differences
in applications, there will be differences in rewards, resulting in class
distinctions in heaven – Mk 9:35; Lk 19:12-17
7) there are two distinct reactions among believers when the Lord returns:
a) shame, humiliation, and disgrace awaits the negative believer, who did
not prepare for this event – 1Jn 2:28
b) ecstatic happiness will be the response of those that saw and embraced the
importance of DGP and SG3 in time – 1Pet 4:13
III. DGP must have the necessary components to qualify for reward:
A) The believer must be in fellowship, with the STA isolated – Jn 15:4, 6
B) They must assemble regularly, with the day of reward in view – Heb 10:25
C) They must be receiving the correct teaching – 1Cor 3:10-15
1) technically, this passage is to be interpreted as relating to communicators and
their building/teaching of individual churches
2) by application, it is applied to all believers and their approach to the CWL
3) Paul, as the founder of the church in Corinth, laid a foundation that is
analogous to the gospel – vs 10 cp Lk 6:48 & Mt 16:18
4) he instructs all future communicators to respect his work and be very careful
as to how they build upon it
5) the two distinct categories of building materials refer to doctrinal teachings
a) gold, silver, and precious stones are categories of sound doctrine, taught
by adjusted communicators, that enable believers to adjust to God and His
Plan, understand the issues involved, and produce Divine Good
b) wood, hay, and straw refers to unsound doctrines (traditions of men,
human viewpoint, or doctrines of demons), that do not advance believers,
but keep them disoriented to the true issues of the CWL – Eph 4:14
6) those that build with the correct materials are assured of eternal rewards,
those that build with incorrect materials will suffer loss of reward
7) this passage also reinforces the supreme importance of the communicator in
the lives of believers – 1Th 5:12-13
8) again, while this verse is, strictly speaking, interpreted as regarding pastorteachers,
each believer is responsible before the Lord for their own priesthood
and the type of doctrine to which they expose themselves
D) They must personally believe the BD – Js 1:21 “Therefore putting aside all
filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word
implanted, which is able to save your souls.”
E) They must have the correct motivation/mental attitude orientation – Mt 6:1
F) Receipt of SG3 is based only on one’s own applications – 1Cor 3:8 “Now he who
plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward
according to his own labor.”
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IV. SG3 totally surpasses anything this world has to offer. 1Cor 2:9 “but just as it is
written, “things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not
entered the heart of man, all that god has prepared for those who love him.”
A) Though SG3 is described in humanly understandable terms (the prize; gold,
silver, precious stones; riches), we must understand it is of such a nature that it
cannot be truly appreciated in our frame of thinking, and that the language used
is only to provide insight into its impact for eternal posterity.
B) Peter offers a four-fold description in 1Pet 1:4 – “an inheritance which is
imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you”
1) imperishable – not capable or liable to be reduced to a worse or lessened
state, not subject to the law of entropy, not subject to the aging process
2) undefiled – not able to be stained, polluted, or contaminated, not able to be
deformed, broken, or reduced to any less-than-perfect condition
3) will not fade away – will never lose its newness, glamour, or luster, will
always provide stimulation and enjoyment
4) reserved in heaven – attended carefully, guarded by God Himself, guaranteeing
SG3 is not subject to being misplaced, lost, or overlooked
V. SG3 and the Millennium
A) Saints from the OT and Daniel’s Seventieth Week (DSW) are rewarded at the 2nd
Advent. Dan 12:13 cp Isa 40:10
B) The twelve Apostles will rule over the twelve tribes of restored Israel. Mt 19:28
C) Faithful members of the Royal Family will rule over the nations. Rev 2:26-27
VI. The wreath (commonly known as the crown) represents the supreme category of
SG3 the Lord bestows upon believers.
A) Paul relates it to finishing one’s course. 2Tim 4:7-8 “I have fought the good
fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid
up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will
award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His
B) Not everyone will receive a crown; in fact, the prize can be forfeited via negative
volition. 1Cor 9:24-27; Rev 3:11
C) This “crown” (Greek ste,fanoj – stephanos , not dia,dhma – diadēma) is called by
four names:
1) the “crown of life”; full enjoyment of heaven is available to those who desire
it – Jam 1:12; Rev 2:10
2) the “crown of righteousness”; emphasizes that righteous activity is necessary
to receive it, and verification of that activity – 2Tim 4:8
3) the “crown of glory”; this reward, like all others, comes from the Essence of
God – 1Pet 5:4
4) the “crown of boasting/exultation”; sanctified proof of the believer’s accomplishments
– 1Th 2:19
D) It is also seen under the figure of “the prize” in 1Cor 9:24-27.
1) the background for this athletic analogy is the Isthmus games that were held
in Corinth
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2) the “race” refers to the CWL, and all believers are runners – cp Heb 12:1
3) the fact that many run in the race and only one wins teaches the reality that
the vast majority of believers will not complete their course; only a small
minority will make it successfully to the end
4) the race is run on a specific course, with specific rules to which the believer
must adhere, if they are to win
5) the goal of any contest is to win, and the human viewpoint that just
competing is sufficient makes a mockery of the event
6) this race demands a consistent exercise/training regimen that involves “selfcontrol
in all things”, and “buffeting the body”, teaching the necessity of
isolating the STA and consistent application of resident BD
7) the believer must recognize and have legitimate fear that they can be
disqualified at any time during their Ph2 marathon, by:
a) failing to deal with the STA – Gal 6:8
b) not maintaining the priority of MPR – Heb 10:25
c) allowing non-sinful things to interfere with training – 1Cor 8:12-13
d) ceasing to run – Heb 10:36 “For you have need of endurance, so that
when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was
VII. The incredible nature of SG3 is such that it will more than surpass the nature of any
suffering we may face in Ph2. 2Cor 4:17 “For momentary, light affliction is
producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison”
A) This is designed to motivate us in the face of testing. Js 1:2-3
B) Suffering, when kept in perspective, has little influence in the believer’s overall
continuation with God’s Will. Rom 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of
this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be
revealed to us.”
VIII. SG3 is one of the primary motivators in the CWL, since it glorifies God for all
eternity, as well as the obvious personal benefit it brings. 1Tim 4:10 “For it is for
this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is
the Savior of all men, especially of believers.” cp vs 7
IX. Areas in which the believer can maximize their SG3 include:
A) Enduring persecution – Mt 5:11-12
B) Prayer – Mt 6:6
C) Giving – Phi 4:17
D) Hospitality – Mt 10:41
E) Suffering for the sake of Christ – Mt 19:29; 1Pet 4:13
F) Evangelization – 1Cor 9:16-17 cp vs 23
G) Passing the tests associated with the physical body and its inevitable
deterioration – 2Cor 4:16-17
H) Proper function under employment – Col 3:22-24
I) Applying BD under testing – 1Pet 1:6-7
J) Diligence/perseverance – Heb 6:11
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X. Things that negate SG3 include:
A) Wrong motives
1) seeking to please men – Gal 1:10
2) approbation lust – Mt 6:1-2, 5, 16
B) Not being in fellowship – Jn 15:4
C) Unrepentant STA activity – 1Cor 6:9-10; Gal 5:21
D) Lack of diligence regarding BD – 2Jn 8
E) Not completing one’s course – Rev 2:10
F) Altering the Word of God – Rev 22:19
XI. Concluding observations:
A) The heroes of the faith were motivated to apply BD in their niche based on their
understanding of this doctrine.
1) Noah – Heb 11:7
2) Abraham – Heb 11:8
3) Moses – Heb 11:24-26
4) anonymous, though known to God, believers – Heb 11:35
5) Jesus Christ – Heb 12:2
B) Our knowledge of the reality of SG3 should motivate us to follow their example.
Heb 12:1-2
1) the believer should have accumulation of SG3 as their priority, not focusing
on the temporal blessings of life, but the eternal – Col 3:1-2; 1Pet 1:13
2) recognize our time on earth is insignificant compared to the eons of eternity –
2Cor 4:16-17
C) The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the earnest, or down-payment, of our
inheritance. Eph 1:14
D) The adjusted PT desires those under his charge to fully appreciate, understand,
and achieve this doctrine. Eph 1:18; 2Jn 8 “Watch yourselves, that you might
not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward.”
XII. Shame awaits those who fail to attain to full SG3. 1Jn 2:28 “And now, little
children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not
shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.”
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also
reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but
the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life;” Gal 6:7-8