Posted by: Pastor J Jacobs on Sun, Jan 1, 2017
We saw how Paul was anticipating his arrival in the Paradise of Heaven, when he wrote his second letter to Timothy. Looking back on his life he could say ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness’ (2 Timothy 4:7-8). In Scripture crowns have two significant meanings – they are either indicative of position and authority (for kings) or they are rewards (for the saints). Here Paul is looking forward to his reward.
Paul calls the crown he’s looking forward to receiving a ‘Crown of Righteousness’. But in Revelation 2:10 the crown we’re told will be given as a reward is called a ‘crown of life’. James also talked about the crown of life and said, ‘Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him’ (James 1:12).
The righteousness that Paul saw was not his own righteousness, but the righteousness that is ours by virtue of what Jesus, the Lamb of God, achieved for us on the Cross. It’s only because of His righteousness that the enemy could have no hold upon Him, and it’s only when we enter into whom He is, that His righteousness becomes our covering. So the crown of righteousness is, indeed, a crown of life – for without the righteousness we have in Christ, there is no life in Heaven for us to look forward to! Through His righteousness we have access to the fullness of life.
Revelation 2:10 tells us what the primary condition is for receiving the crown of righteousness – ‘Be faithful, even to the point of death’. In the Amplified Bible this reads, ‘Be loyally faithful unto death, even if you must die for it, and I will give you the crown of life’. Revelation 3:11 says, ‘hold on to what you have, so that no-one will take your crown’ or, in the Amplified again, ‘hold fast what you have, so that no-one may rob you and deprive you of your crown’.
Remaining faithful throughout our earthly pilgrimage is seen as the primary qualification for receiving the reward of the crown of righteousness.
In the parable that Jesus told about the man who left his affairs in the care of his servants, giving each of them a number of talents to use in business during his absence, Jesus tells of the reward that was awaiting the servants who did what they had been asked. The master said, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your Master’s happiness!’ (Matthew 25:21).
Here again that word faithful creeps into the reason why the servants were to be rewarded – they had been faithful to what they had been asked to do. I think we need to look a little more carefully at this important word!
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