What is a crown? Who will wear a crown? A literal crown? What determines the extent of this crown/honor? How does on[e] receive a crown? Thank you, God bless.
The Bible does promise a crown or crowns for people who are saved, and meet certain conditions.
We have the promise of an INCORRUPTIBLE CROWN. I Corinthians 9:16-25 says, “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel. For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now THEY DO IT TO OBTAIN A CORRUPTIBLE CROWN; BUT WE AN INCORRUPTIBLE.”
Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines incorruptible as “not subject to decay or dissolution.” Whether this is the NAME OF THE CROWN for faithfully giving out the gospel, or whether this is simply describing the NATURE OF THE CROWN (that it will not grow old and decay and lose its value or beauty), I am not sure. Whatever the case, this crown will be of a lasting nature — not temporary.
Think of the trophies that students earn or win in school, and sports teams win. Have you looked in the trophy cases of any high schools or colleges lately? What happens to them? They grow old and tarnish. They lose their luster, and their meaning or value over time. Does it really matter in 5 or 10 years who won the state championship in football? Does it really matter who won the district championship in 1960 in baseball? The whole point is that what we do for Christ will be of an eternal nature. It will matter in eternity. What we do for Christ will never become unimportant over time. The context here is the gospel. When we get the gospel out to people, and their repent of their sins and place their faith in Jesus Christ, they then obtain an eternal salvation. I Peter 1:3-5 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, TO AN INHERITANCE INCORRUPTIBLE, AND UNDEFILED, AND THAT FADETH NOT AWAY, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Philippians 4:1 also talks about a crown. “Therefore, MY BRETHREN, dearly beloved and longed for, MY JOY AND CROWN, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.” Here the word “crown” is used in a figurative sense for fellow Christians. When we get to heaven, other believers whom we have had a part in seeing saved, and/or helping grow in the Lord, are going to be a crown to us. II Corinthians 1:14 speaks along those same lines. “As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that WE ARE YOUR REJOICING, even as YE ALSO ARE OURS in the day of the Lord Jesus.” I Thessalonians 2:19,20 says, “For what is our hope, or joy, or CROWN OF REJOICING? ARE NOT EVEN YE in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For YE ARE OUR GLORY AND JOY.” We often fail to remember how that ministering to the saints is also going to bring rewards one day. Hebrews 6:10 says, “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have showed toward his name, IN THAT YE HAVE MINISTERED TO THE SAINTS, AND DO MINISTER.”
How many saints need encouragement along the way? Everyone of them. The apostle Paul is probably much more well known than Barnabas, but Barnabas was the one whom God used to encourage the believers to accept Paul, and then to encourage Paul to get involved in missionary work. Acts 9:26-28 says, “And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but THEY WERE ALL AFRAID OF HIM, AND BELIEVED NOT THAT HE WAS A DISCIPLE. BUT BARNABAS TOOK HIM, AND BROUGHT HIM TO THE APOSTLES, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem.” And then later in Acts 11:22-26 says, “Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord. THEN DEPARTED BARNABAS TO TARSUS, FOR TO SEEK SAUL: AND WHEN HE HAD FOUND HIM, HE BROUGHT HIM UNTO ANTIOCH. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” What a needy area this is today of encouraging others to faithfully serve the Lord.
II Timothy 4:6-8 describes another crown. “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” This is a crown for those who love the Lord’s appearing. Why this is called a “crown of righteousness” can be seen in passages which deal with the Lord’s return, and the impact it has upon the person who is looking for His coming. Titus 2:12-14 says, “Teaching us that, DENYING UNGODLINESS AND WORLDLY LUSTS, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; LOOKING FOR THAT BLESSED HOPE, AND THE GLORIOUS APPEARING OF THE GREAT GOD AND OUR SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
Another crown in found in James 1:12, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the CROWN OF LIFE, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” This crown is for those who endure temptation, and remain faithful to the Lord. Revelation 2:10 talks about the same crown. “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall 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 a CROWN OF LIFE.”
I Peter 5:2-4 describes yet another crown. “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a CROWN OF GLORY that fadeth not away.” Those who faithfully lead will be rewarded for it.
Revelation 3:11 tells us something about crowns. “Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” Salvation can NEVER be lost, but crowns can be lost if a person becomes unfaithful serving the Lord. Crowns are given out according to faithfulness in the areas discussed. If a person becomes unfaithful to the Lord, the crown can be lost. I Corinthians 3:6-15 may shed some light on that subject. “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s WORK ABIDE which he hath built thereupon, he shall RECEIVE A REWARD. If any man’s work shall be BURNED, he shall SUFFER LOSS: BUT HE HIMSELF SHALL BE SAVED; YET SO AS BY FIRE.” Saved, but no rewards.
That crowns are literal is seen in Revelation 4:4, “And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and THEY HAD ON THEIR HEADS CROWNS OF GOLD.” Verses 9-11 of that same chapter tell us what they do with those crowns. “And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, AND CAST THEIR CROWNS BEFORE THE THRONE, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” The crowns which we obtain through faithful service to the Lord here upon earth, will bring glory to the One who washed us from our sins, and gave us the strength to live for Him.