Luke 18:28-30 reads, “Peter said, ‘Behold, we have left our own homes and followed You.’ And He said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life” (NASB).

The subject here is DISCIPLESHIP, and the REWARDS one will receive for following the Lord Jesus. This passage is NOT teaching us how to “receive eternal life,” for eternal life is a free gift to all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 6:23 states emphatically, “For the wages of sin is death, but THE FREE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD.” Ephesians 2:8-9 declares, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that NOT OF YOURSELVES, IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD; NOT OF WORKS, SO THAT NO ONE MAY BOAST.” We must take these verses at face value and if we do, we will be clear that eternal life and salvation are both THE GIFT OF GOD. You can’t earn them, so you can’t boast. Jesus also made it clear in John 5:24 that eternal life is a PRESENT POSSESSION; it says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, HAS ETERNAL LIFE, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” All these passages are clear and we know that God never contradicts Himself, so Luke 18:29-30 can NOT mean that we earn eternal life by leaving our homes and loved ones. So, what does that passage mean?

As we stated earlier, this passage speaks of DISCIPLESHIP. A disciple is “one who follows Jesus.” After one has been saved and has eternal life, they will have a desire to FOLLOW CHRIST. And we learn in these verses that whatever we “give up” to follow Him will be amply REWARDED. In contrast to the free gift of eternal life, REWARDS COST US SOMETHING! We may be called to leave our home and family to spread the gospel in faraway lands. Yet the Lord Jesus graciously promises us that if we are willing to leave our home and loved ones, we will be REWARDED “at this time and in the age to come.”

What rewards will we experience “at this time?” Let’s read a parallel passage in Mark 10:29-30, “So Jesus answered them and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive A HUNDREDFOLD NOW IN THIS TIME—HOUSES AND BROTHERS AND SISTERS AND MOTHERS AND CHILDREN AND LANDS” (NKJV). We may leave “house and loved ones” but we will find ourselves in the homes of MANY FELLOW-BELIEVERS where we will be blessed with warm hospitality. These BELIEVERS will be greater in number than the family we left behind and our relationship with them will be on a higher plane than with our blood relatives. This reminds me of Matthew 12:48-50 where Jesus said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers? And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, ‘Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

What rewards will we experience “in the age to come?” Mark agrees with Luke and says we will receive “in the age to come, ETERNAL LIFE.” But we have already seen that the believer already possesses eternal life, so how do we reconcile these two things? I believe it simply means, as another has said, “Those who forsake all will be rewarded with A GREATER CAPACITY FOR ENJOYING ETERNAL LIFE IN HEAVEN.” All believers will be in heaven and in a state of bliss, but there will be varying degrees of enjoyment based on one’s faithfulness in following Jesus in this present life.  (203.7)  (DO)