This article is essentially a continuation of The Bema or Judgment Seat of Christ... Unfortunately many Christians, draw the conclusion that since all our sins have been forgiven, our works cannot possibly be considered at the judgment Seat of Christ.. Not true according to I Corinthians 3:9-13.
Rewards [mis-thos'] in the Bible means pay for service… literally or figuratively, good or bad… exemplified by Revelation 22:12...
"Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work" (Revelation 22:12).
The following two verses are one example each of good and bad.
And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; [2Peter 2:13-15]
Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: but each shall receive his own reward according to his own labor. [1Corinthians 3:8].
The wicked are also ‘rewarded’, but this article concerns itself solely with the ‘good’ rewards’.
Rewards Vs. Salvation
It will be well to make it clear from the outset that Salvation and Rewards are two totally different things. Salvation is a free gift, but rewards are earned by our works after we are saved. The Bible clearly teaches good works will not get us into heaven. Salvation [forgiveness of sin and entrance to heaven] is based on Jesus’ work on the cross and God shows no partiality regarding salvation (Acts 10:34). [See Salvation].
However, the Bible also makes it clear that the saved will also receive rewards in Heaven over and above forgiveness and eternal life, and that the level of reward will be based on works done here on earth. Apparently there are those that will make it to heaven, but who have earned little or no additional rewards. Right after assuring us that salvation is not by works in Ephesians 2, Paul says this, "We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do".
It is the consistent teaching of the New Testament that God promises to reward believers for their good works… mentioned explicitly in many verses!
"The Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works" (Matthew 16:27).
"[God] will render to each one according to his deeds" (Romans 2:6).
"He who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor" (1 Corinthians 3:8).
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding (excelling) in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. [1 Corinthians 15:58]
Whatever you are doing, work at it with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not for people, because you know that you will receive your inheritance from the Lord as the reward. Serve the Lord Christ. [Colossians 3:23-24]
And implied in many more…
And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed are ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy: for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for in the same manner did their fathers unto the prophets. But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you, ye that are full now! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you, ye that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for in the same manner did their fathers to the false prophets. (Luke 6:20-26).
knowing that whatsoever good thing each one doeth, the same shall he receive again from the Lord, whether he be bond or free. (Ephesians 6:8).
whatsoever ye do, work heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that from the Lord ye shall receive the recompense of the inheritance: ye serve the Lord Christ. (Col 3:23-25).
"God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister" (Hebrews 6:10).
Some of the good works mentioned in Scripture which will be rewarded include
perseverance under persecution (Luke 6:22-23), caring for the needy (Matthew 25:34-36), treating enemies kindly (Luke 6:35), prayer (Matthew 6:6), fasting (Matthew 6:18), and generous giving (Matthew 19:21).
While Matthew 16:27 tells us that God’s reward is “according to what we have done”, doesn’t Matthew 20:1-16 contradict this, inasmuch as all the laborers received the same wages or ‘reward’?
Matthew 20: 1-16
Matthew 20:1-16 is a parable about workers, who were all found and hired at different times of the day … ranging from the third to the eleventh hour.
When evening came, the foreman (under instructions from the owner of the vineyard) paid the laborers beginning with the last group (hired about the eleventh hour), who were paid one denarius. The parable goes on to tell us that when those hired first came to be paid, they thought that they would receive more money, but each of them also received a single denarius. They then grumbled at the landowner since they had worked through the scorching heat of the day and yet had been paid no more than those who had worked little time. At which the landowner answered…
“Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?”
This parable is clearly about salvation not degrees of rewards. The emphasis is on the length of time of each man’s workday not on the quality of each man’s work, of which we are told nothing. The parable does not tell us that the workers who were hired first worked any harder than the workers hired much later in the day... only that they worked longer. All who come to Christ regardless of whether they do so in the tenth year of their lives or on their death beds get the same ‘reward’, that is.. Heaven. And although some have struggled through many years of “scorching heat”, we may not grudge the Lord’s generosity toward those who have made it into Heaven at the last possible minute.
However common sense (and the Bible) tells there has to be a difference between the murderer who repents on death row and the person who has spent their whole lives working for the Gospel. Each will make it to heaven, but once there the works done on earth will make a difference through eternity.
The Nature of The Rewards
That God will reward us for good works is certain, but the Bible says very little about what we will receive. Matthew 10:41 talks about a prophet's reward, a righteous man's reward, and a disciple's reward.
He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward: and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.
Scripture also speaks of different types of crowns.
“The crown was among the Romans and Greeks a symbol of victory and reward. The crown or wreath worn by the victors in the Olympic games was made of leaves of the wild olive; in the Pythian games, of laurel; in the Nemean games, of parsley; and in the Isthmian games, of the pine. The Romans bestowed the “civic crown” on him who saved the life of a citizen. It was made of the leaves of the oak. In opposition to all these fading crowns the apostles speak of the incorruptible crown, the crown of life (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10) “that fadeth not away” (1Peter 5:4). Compare 1Peter 1:4.” [Eastons Bible Dictionary]
Although it is unclear as to what these ‘crowns’ are (literal or metaphorical), all the crowns mentioned in the New Testament are reserved for those who earn them
The Soul-Winner's Crown - For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of glorying? Are not even ye, before our Lord Jesus at his coming? [1 Thessalonians 2:19]
The Crown Of Righteousness - "Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing." (2 Timothy 4:8:)
The Crown Of Glory - "And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away." [1 Peter 5:4]
The Incorruptible Crown – “And every man that striveth in the games exerciseth self-control in all things. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” [1 Corinthians 9:25]
The Crown Of Life - "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he hath been approved, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to them that love him. [James 1:12]
The Crown Of Life - Fear not the things which thou art about to suffer: behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life. [Rev. 2:10] (Also called the martyr's crown.)
“Some authors have likened rewards to crowns or medals, while others have said that having a larger reward will translate into something like having a larger house in heaven. While these images may turn out to be true, they say more than what the Bible says on the subject and probably assume too much.
However, the amount of reward you have will probably not dictate the level of your happiness or joy in heaven. The Bible is clear throughout that our happiness is not dependent on how much we have but rather on how we live in relation to God. It seems contrary to suppose that a God who says "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven" (Mark 10:21) could finish the sentence by saying "where the more you have, the happier you will be". In heaven our relationship to God will be perfect and therefore our happiness will be complete. .
It certainly does seem that God's rewards includes some form of responsibility, with which we will be entrusted: In Jesus' parable of the talents, He spoke of rewarding those who had been faithful by putting them "in charge of many things" in His kingdom (Matt. 25:21 23). Also
"He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he shall rule them with a rod of iron." (Revelation 2:26)
Which echoes the parable in Luke in which the Lord where rewards the servant who was a faithful steward of his money, saying
"because you were faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities."
Isn’t it Presumptuous to Expect Rewards From God?
“If we imagine that we are righteous enough to merit God’s approval, or if we suppose that we have a right to divine rewards, then yes, that is presumptuous. But if we understand divine rewards as the Bible does (i.e., as the icing on the cake of God’s grace, as rewards for good deeds that God himself causes us to do), then no, that is not presumptuous. We cannot expect divine rewards if we think God owes us something. But we can expect God to keep his promises, one of which is to reward us for the good deeds that he himself works in us (Ephesians 2:10)”. 
However rewards are not a sort of celestial Federal Reserve System (as I have heard it expressed). The motivation behind our good works is not be how many jewels we can accumulate in our crowns but what we can do to extend the love of God to our fellow man. How much compassion we have for those that are lost and/or suffering. A selfish motive behind our works will probably not gain us very much at all… since the God who sees all is also reads our hearts.
It is also possible to lose our rewards and for someone to take our crown
Look to yourselves, that ye lose not the things which we have wrought, but that ye receive a full reward. (2 John 8),
I come quickly: hold fast that which thou hast, that no one take thy crown. (Revelation 3:11)
 http://www.essential-truth.org/faq/are-there-rewards-in-heaven.cfm (Page is no longer valid)
 http://www.generousgiving.org/page.asp?sec=43&page=428#901 (Page is no longer valid)