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Your Eternal Reward

God rewards those who are righteous and obedient. His reward is an eternal one—if we follow Him, we can receive eternal life and return to live with God and our families forever. However, Jesus Christ also taught that when He returns, “he shall reward every [one] according to his [or her] works” (Matthew 16:27), suggesting that God’s consequences will be just.

There are many examples throughout the scriptures of Jesus Christ rewarding those who are faithful and obedient and promising them great blessings of salvation and eternal life.

What is God’s “eternal reward”?

Evil for evil, good for good

Because Heavenly Father is a just God, He will “give every one according to his [or her] ways” (Jeremiah 32:19). Our unrighteous actions and decisions in mortality may result in fleeting, temporal rewards, such as short-lived happiness, attention, or glory (see Matthew 6:2), or in unhappy consequences, like punishment for breaking civil laws. But disobeying eternal laws will result in eternal consequences: “The Lord shall reward the doer of evil according to his [or her] wickedness” (2 Samuel 3:39). On the other hand, righteous actions bring eternal blessings. As King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon taught, “I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness” (Mosiah 2:41). So what does that mean for you?

Temporary rewards after death

The Book of Mormon explains that after death, “the spirits of all . . . , whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life” (Alma 40:11). But this is a temporary state. The spirit world is “a space between death and the resurrection of the body, and a state of the soul in happiness or in misery until the time which is appointed of God that the dead shall come forth, and be reunited, both soul and body.” At the appointed time, we will all “be judged according to [our] works” (Alma 40:21). Righteous spirits will go to spirit paradise, which is “a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow” (Alma 40:12). Disobedient spirits will go to spirit prison (see 1 Peter 3:18–20).

Learn more about what happens after death. 

Long-term rewards after death: immortality

The scriptures also teach that there are two types of death—physical and spiritual. When your physical body dies, your spirit continues to exist. Because Jesus was resurrected, your spirit will be reunited with your body again: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22). All people who have ever lived will be physically resurrected and live again forever. This immortality in itself is a reward from God to all.

Long-term rewards after death: eternal life

Spirit paradise, where righteous spirits dwell in heaven before resurrection and final judgment, is rightfully called. Here, righteous people experience peace after death. But this state is only temporary; there is an even greater reward for the righteous: eternal life with our families and with God the Father. This “is the greatest of all the gifts of God” (1 Nephi 15:36).

Why is it an eternal reward?

This life is a test

You are a “[child] of God” (Romans 8:16). Before you were born, you lived in His presence. God knows you and has a plan for your progress and growth. His plan involved you leaving His presence so that you could learn and improve by experiencing the joys and challenges of mortality. The Book of Mormon explains, “This life is the time for men [and women] to prepare to meet God” (Alma 34:32).

Actions have consequences

Heavenly Father is a “just God” (Isaiah 45:21); He seeks eternal justice. He allows you to experience both the good and bad outcomes of your own and others’ decisions so that you can learn from them. Just as there are consequences in mortality for the decisions you make, there are also eternal consequences for obeying or disobeying God’s eternal laws, or commandments.

God asks that we strive for perfection

The scriptures teach, “No unclean thing can dwell with God” (1 Nephi 10:21). God desires that you return to live with Him again—and that means you must be perfectly pure and free from sin. But God gives you mortal life knowing that you are not perfect and therefore will not always keep the commandments—that you will sometimes make mistakes and sin: “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). So how is it possible to return to God’s presence?

Jesus Christ is your Savior

The promise of salvation is at the core of God’s plan. God promises that your sins can be removed and you can be pure and worthy again to be in His presence. It is Jesus Christ who made this possible by “[offering] himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law” (2 Nephi 2:7). In other words, Jesus Christ suffered the negative consequences for your sins—for every sin of everyone—so that you don’t have to pay that eternal price. In return, God asks that you repent of your sins and turn your heart to Jesus Christ in faith, doing your best to follow Him. Jesus alone can offer salvation: “There is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ” (Alma 38:9).

How does God reward?

God’s judgment and rewards

After the Resurrection, all will be judged by God (see Revelation 20:12). Your actions today will be judged in the future. “The Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts” (1 Chronicles 28:9). He knows your deepest intentions—both good and bad—and you will be judged accordingly.

Righteous people who accept the Atonement of Jesus Christ by doing their best to be obedient and continually repenting when they fall short will dwell in glory with God. Though unrepentant people will suffer guilt as they await their resurrection, they too can experience peace because of Christ’s Atonement. Jesus taught, “In my Father’s house are many mansions” (John 14:2). The Apostle Paul further explained that there are different glories in heaven and that the glory you attain is based on your faith and works on earth (see 1 Corinthians 15:40–41).

You determine your eternal reward

“Men [and women] should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life . . . they should . . . be restored unto that which is good. And if their works are evil they shall be restored unto them for evil” (Alma 41:3–4). Jesus Christ taught that to qualify for all that Heavenly Father has, you must “[do] the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Your eternal reward will be the result of Jesus Christ’s Atonement coupled with your willingness to live His doctrine and receive His saving ordinances such as baptism.

Salvation requires effort

Eternal life and salvation through Jesus Christ are available to “all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered” (2 Nephi 2:7). You must repent and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ to receive salvation: “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7).

Jesus Christ invites “all to come unto him and partake of his goodness” (2 Nephi 26:33). If you accept His invitation, you will receive peace and blessings in this life and in the world to come.

One of the greatest blessings of eternal life is being with your family. Chat with a missionary to learn why members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that families are forever. 

Read more scriptures that describe God’s eternal reward for us, and learn how to achieve salvation. Request a free copy of the Bible or Book of Mormon

Do you have questions about heaven or what God has in store for you? Schedule a visit with the missionaries; they’ll tell you more.