I think a lot of Christian understanding involves reward. The reward of heaven, pearly gates, a private heavenly mansion, streets of gold, no illness, and no IRS is the reward idea. This idea is supposed to motivate and prevent despair while here on earth ‘living among sinners in their worldliness’ or some such thing.
The problem with the reward idea is that it is based on performance. If we work really hard and do a really good job, we will get a really good reward. This makes God into a chain gang foreman instead of a Father. It makes us into prisoners and slaves instead of sons and daughters.
Recently I watched about 10 minutes of the National Dog Show on the Animal Channel and noticed for every right move and action the dog performed, the trainer would give the dog a little treat, a little reward. It kept the dog performing for the reward. I instantly saw this as the accepted theology of a whole lot of Christians. If we perform well, God will give us little treats along the way and then someday when we die we will go to the great bone in the sky.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” Jesus