Scripture describes our eternal rewards in terms of an inheritance and responsibility. These rewards are symbolized in Scripture
The Bible says these crowns will be our badges of honor reflecting glory upon Christ, Who worked through us to achieve the good works if our life. We will acknowledge His sovereignty by casting our
crowns at His feet while we worship Him in Heaven:
Rev. 4:9 Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders
fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne, and say,
“Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power;
for You created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”
Altogether, the Bible mentions five crowns promised to believers for our obedience to Christ while on Earth:
• The Crown of Victory
1 Cor. 9:24 to 27: Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone
who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27
No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
This reward will be given to all believers who run the race to win. Who discipline
the flesh to make it their slave so they will be able to serve the Lord. Again, note that we can only achieve this by the power of the Holy Spirit, so the reward is ultimately accomplished in God’s power, not ours.
• The Crown of Rejoicing
1 Thess. 2:19 For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming?
1 Thess. 2:20 For you are our glory and joy.
Phil. 4:1 Therefore, my brothers, whom I long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm
in the Lord, dear friends!
This reward will go to those who have witnessed to others and who have built up the church (eg. by teaching, service, etc.).
• The Crown of Life
James 1:12: Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial; because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
first glance, it may appear that the “crown of life” refers to eternal life. That cannot be the case, however, as that would contradict many other Scriptures that clearly state that eternal life comes by faith alone in Christ alone, and which
is given as a gift and not by works (eg. Ephesians 2:8-9). Instead, this crown is given to those who faithfully persevere trials the Lord will put them through. Once again, we can only persevere such trials and tribulations by God’s power
in us (1 Peter 1:5-7).
• The Crown of Righteousness
2 Tim. 4:8: Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which
the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
This verse does not refer to righteousness we achieve by works, as
Scripture makes clear that our righteousness is found only in the imputed righteousness of Christ (eg. Romans 5:19). Rather, this reward is given to those who eagerly await the appearing of the Lord. As believers, we should always be expectantly
looking for the return of our Lord.
John Calvin put it this way:
This is a singular mark which he employs in describing believers. And, indeed, wherever
faith is strong, it will not permit their minds to fall asleep in this world, but will elevate them to the hope of the last resurrection. His meaning therefore is, that all who are so much devoted to the world, and who love so much this fleeting life, as not
to care about the coming of Christ, and not to be moved by any desire of it, deprive themselves of immortal glory. Woe to our stupidity, therefore, which exercises such power over us, that we never think seriously about the coming of Christ, to which we ought
to give our whole attention.
• The Crown of Glory
1 Peter 5:1: To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness
of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest
gain, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
This is a
reward for the elders the Lord has placed in authority in His church.
It’s an exhortation as well as an incentive for the elders to rule as the Lord has directed.
These crowns collectively represent our tangible rewards, which we receive in the Kingdom:
• Treasures in heaven. This was mentioned earlier from Matthew 6. The treasures are not described
for us, although they definitely would include the crowns previously mentioned.
• Ruling with Christ. There will be rewards for our obedience that will include ruling with
Christ in some capacity. Several Scriptures mention this (eg. Luke 19:17-19, Revelation 2:26-27). Matthew 25 is representative of these passages.
We are merely Christ’s slaves, meaning we are to do the will
of our Master. We can only do His will in the power of the Spirit. In doing so, God promises He will reward our obedience of being faithful now, by giving us even greater responsibilities when we rule with Christ later.
Compiled by Greg Fall
Scribes - Prophetic Writings