In this several part study we will be looking at what many consider to be the five ‘main crowns’ in the Scriptures, and how to obtain them. Of course, the crown that the believers mind generally turns to is the crown of thorns that was laid upon the brow of our precious Savior, but His eternal crown is one of Glory and Honor. (Heb.2:9)
There are many instances of the word crown in the Scriptures, many of them are related to ordinary crowns, as it were, manufactured pieces of metal, gold, silver and precious stones, or simple ones of flowers or leaves woven together. They were, and are, made to signify a position of leadership, or hierarchy within a societal group, or for placing in a particular position in a sporting event. Our souls can be blessed by our Lord for instance as in psalm 103:4, with a crown of loving kindness and mercies, the prudent can be crowned with knowledge, (Prov. 14:18) grandchildren are the crown of old men, (prov. 17:6) the joy and crown of Paul was the Philippians, (Phil. 4:1) as should all those that we have blessed to be able to lead to the Lord. The woman clothed with the sun in Rev.12:1 has a crown of twelve stars, the dragon in Rev.12:3 has seven, and the beast in Rev.13:1 has ten crowns upon his head.
Crowns in the Scriptures can reveal authority, a test passed, an honor deserved, a task accomplished. They are not simply handed out as a participation trophy as is so common today, in the Word of God not everyone comes in first place. You will reap what you sow, and no one sows salvation, “it is the gift of God, not of works.” (Eph. 2:8-9) These five crowns we will discuss can only be earned, they are given to no one ‘just’ because they have accepted Jesus as Savior, for he is our greatest reward.
Many religious organizations will disagree with this statement, saying that we should not work for anything, but they are incorrect. Others state that all of our works have already been ordained by God, so we should never attempt to gain anything but what He has placed in front of us, never searching on our own in the free will He has blessed us with for ways to serve and grow, others believe that all our works are as filthy rags, (Isa. 64:6) and would therefore be dishonorable if offered to the Lord. Rewards are earned by diligent service done willingly.
Would you have anyone that claims to love you do only those things you ask and never attempt on their own to find new and unique ways to please you, to show the love that they have for you in their own way and of their own free will. When we only do that which we were commanded to do, we are to call ourselves unprofitable servants. (Luke 17:10) Our Lord has placed before us opportunities to gain something, to earn something, to obtain crowns that we will be blessed with to cast before the throne of our Lord.
I have envisioned since beginning the endeavor of this study those that will be in heaven on that day who have nothing to offer Him, have received no crown to cast before Him in thanksgiving. These will be in the back, as it were, watching those who have done diligent service in obtaining what was set before all, what was offered to each of His children to obtain. These crowns are given only to those who have had a desire to work diligently for them here on earth, to strive for them. Contrary to what some believe, not everyone who enters into the Kingdom of God are going to hear, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant,” many will hear only “Welcome.”
Is the time served the same as the way it is served, of course not, for those that think being a Christian means only going to church occasionally, putting something in the offering plate, and every once in a while praying for someone else besides themselves, a rude awakening awaits. Can you, or anyone you might know, expect to walk the same places as Moses, David or Paul will walk in heaven or the new Jerusalem? Should someone who receives two crowns in the Kingdom expect the same “privileges” that another who has gained five will receive? Are we all blessed with the same opportunities in heaven, no matter the works that we have accomplished here on earth for Christ? There are degrees of rewards for believers just as there are degrees of punishments for the lost.
These crowns cannot be obtained once we are in heaven, for the works of this world end with our time here. There will be an incredible joy that will be experience by those who will blessed to cast their earned crowns back at the feet of Christ, and a shame I do not want to experience will be felt by those who have nothing to offer Him, for no works that glorified His name were done by them here on this earth. Shame for knowing, but not doing, will be theirs. I speak only as a man here, but I do not believe that there will be any animosity or bitterness by those who have nothing towards those that do, nor will those that have given back what they have worked for feel any ill-will towards those that have nothing to offer. All will know is that everything we have was only by His strength, His greatness, His sovereign design, and that it was the Holy Spirit working in us to glorify the name of Jesus in all that we did.
“There is nothing that will affect your life as much as the knowledge that you are going to stand in the presence of God and give an account of your life.” (J. Vernon McGee)
It is not a question of whether you are saved or not, for if you have been saved by grace through faith, you are a child of God. It is a question of rewards, and not for you to be able to glory over them, but so that our Lord will be glorified, so that you can stand in His presence on that day and say, “Thank you, here, these are yours.”
Every believer has been blessed with a gift, some with one, others with more, if we do not use that gift for our Lord, we are more than unprofitable servants. The crowns are similar, we have blessed with abilities to earn these crowns, to seek after them for His glory, to be diligent workers for the Kingdom of Heaven. These crowns have been placed before all His children, all have the opportunity to work for them and the ability to work towards them can only come from the power of the Holy Spirit within each of us. Crowns are given as rewards to believers, a crown is not salvation.
Strive for them, strive for all of them.
“It’s not a question of whether or not you are saved or lost, it is a question of whether or not you are going to get any reward or recognition.” (J. Vernon McGee)