To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. (Rom. 2:7)

THE WORD JUDGE ELICITS negative feelings. Our first thought is usually of a price to be paid for a misdeed. But another kind of judging awards a prize for exceptional deeds. This second kind of judgment is anticipated by 4–H members, talent show contestants, Olympic athletes, and other award hopefuls.

When judging a talent contest and awarding scholarships from a large university, we were told to emphasize the contestants’ positive qualities and keep negative comments constructive. We were to award prizes based on the participants showing “persistence in doing good.” This was judging with commendation rather than condemnation. There was no punishing price, only praising prizes! “Congratulations! You have just won a 1,000-dollar scholarship to a Christian college!”

Believers in Christ and the price He paid for our sins have no fear of judgment but are promised “glory, honor and immortality.” The price was paid so we may have the prize of eternal life. And that prize is infinitely more valuable than blue ribbons, scholarships, and gold medals.

So, when Christians hear the word judge, we should think of rewards rather than punishments. “For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). This “perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment” (1 John 4:18).

Write down three things you’re looking forward to in heaven.

James N. Watkins loves God, his family, writing, speaking, and deep-dish pizza—in that order.

© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.