The Law of Rewards. By Randy Alcorn. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2003. 135 pp. Cloth. $11.99.
The Law of Rewards is a brief treatment of the doctrine of rewards with special emphasis on financial giving as an eternal investment. In a previous work, Money, Possessions, and Eternity (Tyndale House, 1989; revised and updated, 2003), Alcorn included five chapters on eternal rewards. His material was excellent (and fairly revolutionary at the time). Tyndale House agreed to a thoroughly revised and updated version of the contents included in the above work.
Alcorn’s thesis (i.e., “law”) is “while our faith determines our eternal destination, our behavior determines our eternal rewards” (p. 7). He delineates eight principles that flow from this law. Reward Principle 1: Giving brings greater blessing than receiving (pp. 10-21). Reward Principle 2: When we invest money now in God’s kingdom, we will receive greater rewards later in heaven (pp. 21-28). Reward Principle 3: God offers us rewards that are eternal, imperishable, and inexhaustible (pp. 28-47). Reward Principle 4: When we see our lives through the lens of eternity, our attitude toward wealth will change drastically (pp. 47-66). Reward Principle 5: Obeying God is not only right, it’s smart. It will always pay off in the end (pp. 66-93). Reward Principle 6: We will have differing levels of reward in heaven, depending on our actions and choices on earth (pp. 93-103). Reward Principle 7: Desiring rewards is a proper motivation for serving Christ (pp. 103-13). Reward Principle 8: We are not to be motivated primarily by earthly power, possessions, and pleasures, yet we are offered all three in heaven if we invest now in God’s kingdom (pp. 113-21). The book closes with “Questions and Answers about Rewards and Giving” (pp. 123-32) and a one-page summary entitled, “The Law of Rewards and its eight principles” (p. 135).
In his survey of pertinent passages, Alcorn answers questions such as: What good are works? (pp. 67-70); What does God reward? (pp. 88-93); Eternal differences in heaven? (pp. 93-95); and Can an appeal to our desires really be spiritual? (pp. 116-21).
Included in this work are several fine quotes from men like Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Bunyan, John Wesley, Matthew Henry, C.S. Lewis, and A.W. Tozer. Such quotes begin each chapter and are interspersed throughout the book. These will prove helpful to those who preach and write on the topic of rewards.
Some JOTGES readers may question Alcorn’s treatment of Rev 4:10 where he suggests that Christians will lay their crowns before Christ’s feet (p. 92). Many believe that this is a reference to the angelic realm (see Robert N. Wilkin, The Road to Reward, 109-10). Nonetheless, Alcorn is quick to note, “There is no hint that, once given or withheld, rewards are anything other than eternal and irrevocable” (p. 93).
For a concise treatment on the doctrine of rewards, this book will prove helpful. However, one should recognize that it is only an overview designed to explain the concepts of rewards to those who have never considered this biblical teaching (see also The Life God Rewards by Bruce Wilkinson). Since most of this book is a topical overview (with the exception of an exposition of Luke 16:1-13 [pp. 77-85]), it will be helpful to combine this resource with the expositional approach taken by Robert N. Wilkin in The Road to Reward.
This reviewer knows Randy Alcorn personally and can vouch that he faithfully lives The Law of Rewards. As a result, this miniature book will have a massive impact on the body of Christ.
Keith R. Krell
Emmanuel Baptist Church