The Fleeting Reward of Hypocrites

Then Jesus says in Matt. 6:2, “Truly, I say to you.” Jesus is very emphatic here. “Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.” Actually, the verb, “received” is present indicative. “They receive their reward”; or, “they have their reward.”

The rabbis taught that almsgivers receive a big reward. Jesus says that the hypocrites have their reward. But that’s it; and that’s all. They shall receive no reward from the Father in heaven.

They receive their reward from people here and now. But they receive no reward from God there and then, in heaven. The problem is the reward of this world is very temporary and very limited. But the reward of God is eternal and limitless and immeasurable!

R. T. France wrote that that their reward is limited because their vision is limited; they cannot see beyond the praise of people, to see the praise of God.[1] That is the sad thing about these hypocrites.

I hope and pray that we do not behave like the hypocrites. We should serve God, not for the praise of people in this world, but for the praise of God in heaven. I’d like to encourage you to take a long-term view of your Christian life. The long-term goal is to get to the city of God. That was the goal of people of faith in the Bible. In Heb. 11, it is the life lived by faith in God. Heb. 11 says that Abraham left his city to go to where God wanted him to go. He looked forward to the city of God. That should be our long term perspective. It does not matter if we don’t get the praises of men on earth; so long as we receive the praises of God in heaven. Go beyond the praise of men in this day and age, to the praise of God in eternity.

Which kind of reward do you want? If it’s God’s reward, don’t show off when you give to the poor. Don’t do it where people can see it. Don’t announce it so people can know it.

[1] R. T. France, The Gospel of Matthew (NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007), 237.

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