The Christian’s Heavenly Bank Account

by Barry Newton
A popular misunderstanding of grace and faith over-reacting to a works-based salvation appears to be the primary culprit behind relegating a clear and powerful teaching of Jesus and Paul into near obscurity. Our demonstrations of love do influence our future inheritance.

Jesus bluntly proclaimed, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide yourselves purses that do not wear out — a treasure in heaven that never decreases” (Luke 12:33 NET). Paul echoed the Son of God’s pronouncement with, “Tell them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, to be generous givers, sharing with others. In this way they will save up a treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the future and so lay hold of what is truly life” (1 Timothy 6:18,19 NET).

Mixing the metaphors of a bank ledger and fruit trees, the Philippian letter reveals Paul’s deep yearning to clarify in practical terms how his friends needed to live in their present situation to be prepared for Christ’s return. They should produce fruit and make deposits.

Beginning with his opening prayer, Paul had identified the essential key for empowering fruitful investments. An abounding love would cause them to be blameless on the day of Christ as those filled with the fruit of righteousness coming through Jesus.

As this friendly letter exhorting Christians to embrace the mind of Christ draws to an end, Paul rejoiced over the heavenly deposit his Christian friends had made when they seized the opportunity to demonstrate loving concern (Philippians 4:10). Paul literally described their gift of love as, “the fruit that increases into your account” (Philippians 4:17).

God loves to see his children producing such fruitful deposits. In Paul’s words they constitute “a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, very pleasing to God” (Philippians 4:18, NET). What’s more, it would be God, not imprisoned Paul, whose friendship would reciprocate by supplying all of their needs through the glorious riches in Christ (Philippians 4:19).

How are we doing with our deposits?

2 thoughts on “The Christian’s Heavenly Bank Account

  1. Jesus bluntly proclaimed, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide yourselves purses that do not wear out — a treasure in heaven that never decreases” ( Luke 12:33 NET).
    Does this aply to all christians or only to His 12 apostles?
    Art

  2. Thanks for the feedback. Well, let’s take a look at the text.
    The context of Luke 12 is a crowd of many thousands who had gathered and Jesus spoke to his disciples (Luke 12:1,22).
    Luke also records Jesus teaching the same principle to the rich young ruler (Luke 18:22).
    Paul taught Timothy that he should teach this principle to Christians (1 Timothy 6:18-19).
    Matthew records Jesus telling the crowds to store up treasure in heaven, not upon the earth (Matthew 6:19-20). This particular context (Matthew 6:19-34), which largely parallels Luke 12:22-34, does not specify how someone actually stores up treasure in heaven. Nevertheless the heart and one’s use of “mammon”/ money is clearly in view.
    Does scripture provide us reason to believe this teaching was intended only for the apostles?

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