It is important to understand what our works get us. Too many preachers and teachers downplay the importance of our works. What does the Lord say? "and I will give to you — to each — according to your works" In this case He is talking about giving out punishment and He says He will kill their children off. Anyone who has kids can understand what this is. Our most prized possessions, the dearest objects of our heart will be ripped away. That's what the Lord is talking about here, depending on our works. I suppose we should be paying more attention to our works...
On the other hand, what does the Lord say?
26and he who is overcoming, and who is keeping unto the end my works, I will give to him authority over the nations, 27and he shall rule them with a rod of iron — as the vessels of the potter they shall be broken — as I also have received from my Father; 28and I will give to him the morning star.
Those of us who do His will to the end, who overcome will rule the nations with a rod of iron. Notice the plural here, not nation but nations. Unlike the politicians of our day who have a million different things to worry about, we will have few things to worry about. We will not be voted out of office, there will be no secret overthrow of our reign, there will be no possible way for the brightest or strongest of all the nations to circumvent our authority. We will rule them with a rod of iron....THANKS BE TO GOD.
Our Lord lays out a convincing case for what we get depending on our works. Do works matter? You bet they do. What kind of works are we talking about? Well, what has the Lord told us to do? Let the Spirit be your guide but what stands out to me, what has been impressed on this writer's heart are faith and obedience. These are the "works" our Lord has impressed me the most with. If we are walking and talking with our God daily, in a loving and faithful relationship, should we be looking over our shoulders in fear of our Lord's retribution? It seems to me that during our daily walking and talking the Lord is going to bring up areas we need to get cleaned up. The Lord has made Himself very clear with this writer about things He is not please with. I know without a doubt when there is a problem and something needs to go, He does not fool around with these things and I do not have to wonder whether or not He wants something to go. It is made crystal clear, that has been His dealing with me.
This should have some applicability to you as well. Where is the law or the doctrine against a simple faith in Christ and walking in obedience with Him? How will we be ashamed if we are daily bringing our burdens and questions and faith and requests to Him? He is a God who speaks to His people whether people realize it or not. We are not talking about an audible voice here, we are talking about the infinitely different ways He has of communicating with us.
The Lord does speak to us through impressions on the heart, through leaping Words off the pages of the Bible, through other people, through circumstances of all different kinds. Surely He is a God who speaks. To give you an example of something weird, the other night I was watching that show "the Voice" where Taylor Swift is a guest helping out the judges. She was talking to one of the contestants when she said something to the effect that "if you are just coasting, you are backsliding." Those were not the exact words but my ears perked right up and my heart instantly turned to the Lord. She actually used the word backsliding. Taylor Swift speaking the mind of God to people? I am sure she had no idea what she was saying to me personally. Anyhow, that is one tiny example of the manifold ways our Lord has of communicating with His people. It can be anyone, anything, anyhow and He can get His message through to those with ears to hear what the Spirit is saying.
The punishments are devastating, and the rewards are awe inspiring. Our works count, but the real lesson here (in this writer's mind) comes back to daily communion, walking and talking with our Lord in complete obedience. If there are things that need to be cleaned up in our life, lets clean them up. Ask the Lord for what you need. Walk with Him. Talk with Him. This is not about 8 hour marathon prayer sessions on your knees, I am talking about moment to moment communion with Him. This walking and talking with the Lord has been a continual emphasis with this writer over 2014. Be a man (or woman) who walks with God, and do whatever good your hands find to do.
grace and peace