Crowns or wreaths

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Van, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. Van

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    Mar 4, 2011
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    New Testament writers refer to crowns or wreaths several times. Christ’s crown of thorns, and the crowns like gold of the Elders, or Christ’s golden crown as King, seem to have a straightforward meaning So lets just look at the other eight times crowns or wreaths are mentioned and see if we can discern what is being said.

    Paul mentions crowns or wreaths 5 times (1 Cor. 9:25; Philippians 4:1; 1 Thess. 2:19; 2 Tim. 2:5, 4:8) and he seems to use an illustration of a victor’s wreath in a game or race as a metaphor for a “reward” associated with steadfast love and service to Christ. Those who plays by the rules and win receive a “Victor’s crown” (2 Timothy 2:5). Next, we will receive a “crown of righteousness” when we meet Jesus “on that day.” So the reward is fellowship with God, through Christ, rather than separation and judgment of the lost (2 Timothy 4:8).

    But Paul speaks of a different reward, up and above eternal life, in several passages. In 1 Corinthians 9:25, Paul refers to the fact our “crown” will last forever. Well certainly the crown of righteousness, eternal life with our Holy God rather than separation because of unrighteousness, lasts forever. But is that the crown or wreath Paul is referring to? Paul says he needs to exercise self-control, walk the talk, or he will be “disqualified” and thus not receive what he would have received if he had played by the rules. A preacher that is divorced twice has a hard time teaching love honor and obey till death do us part. So what would Paul lose if he could no long proclaim the gospel?

    In Philippians 4:1, we see that Paul’s joy and crown are Paul’s brothers (and sisters) in Christ. So Paul’s reward, his “crown of rejoicing” is fellowship with other believers, folks he helped enter the kingdom. And if he was disqualified from doing that, helping others enter the kingdom, he would not receive as large a crown or there would be fewer jewels in the crown. In 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20, Paul clearly explains that fellow believers are his crown of glory. Those that have eternal life will never “fade away.”

    James uses the “crown of life” to illustrate the reward of eternal life for those that “love” Christ (James 1:12). This fits well with Paul’s picture of steadfast love and service. Peter refers to the “crown of glory” that does not fade away, illustrating the reward of eternal life (1 Peter 5:4). And lastly, John tells us to be faithful to the point of death, because of the reward of the “crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).

    In summary, the rewards for steadfast love and service are eternal life with God, the crown of life, glory, righteousness. And beyond that reward is the reward of fellowship with those who helped you enter the kingdom, including Paul himself, and fellowship with those you helped enter the kingdom, perhaps you grandchild. May God Bless.

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