Grace and Peace,
As one from the Catholic Tradition, I continue to struggle with Merit and Reward and I want to understand the Orthodox Understanding of this...
The Old Testament declares the meritoriousness of good works before God. "But the just shall live for evermore: and their reward is with the Lord" (Wisdom 5:16). "Be not afraid to be justified even to death: for the reward of God continueth for ever" (Ecclus., xviii, 22). Christ Himself adds a special reward to each of the Eight Beatitudes and he ends with this fundamental thought: "Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven" (Matthew 5:12) In His description of the Last Judgment, He makes the possession of eternal bliss depend on the practice of the corporal works of mercy (Matthew 25:34 sqq.). Although St. Paul insists on nothing more strongly than the absolute gratuitousness of Christian grace, still he acknowledges merits founded on grace and also the reward due to them on the part of God, which he variously calls "prize" (Philippians 3:14; 1 Corinthians 9:24) "reward" (Colossians 3:24; 1 Corinthians 3:
, "crown of justice" (2 Timothy 4:7 sq.; cf. James 1:12). It is worthy of note that, in these and many others good works are not represented as mere adjuncts of justifying faith, but as real fruits of justification and part causes of our eternal happiness. And the greater the merit, the greater will be the reward in heaven (cf. Matthew 16:27; 1 Corinthians 3:8; 2 Corinthians 9:6). Thus the Bible itself refutes the assertion that "the idea of merit is originally foreign to the Gospel" (" Realencyklopädie für protest. Theologie," XX, 3rd ed. Leipzig, 1908, p. 501). That Christian grace can be merited either by the observance of the Jewish law or by mere natural works this alone is foreign to the Bible. On the other hand, eternal reward is promised in the Bible to those supernatural works which are performed in the state of grace, and that because they are meritorious (cf. Matthew 25:34 sqq.; Romans 2:6 sqq.; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
I don't hear Orthodox speak of merit and reward... what is the Orthodox Understanding of these passages?