As those who serve the living God, we occasionally need to consider the eternal “crowns” being set aside for God’s servants. What an intriguing study!
There are at least five specific crowns promised in the Bible. For our purpose here, I will simply list the eternal crowns mentioned in the New Testament and offer a brief explanation of each. We’ll cover three today and the other two next week.
1. The Imperishable Crown (1 Corinthians 9:24–27)
This reward is promised to those who victoriously run the race of life. Taking into consideration verses 26 and 27, that is, the “buffeting” of the body, it is clear that this reward will be awarded those believers who consistently bring the flesh under the Holy Spirit’s control, refusing to be enslaved by their sinful nature. In other words, those who carry out the truths of Romans 6:6–14.
2. The Crown of Exultation (Philippians 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:19–20)
This crown will be one over which its recipients will glory and rejoice! This is the “soul-winners crown.” It is claimed by Paul regarding two bodies of believers whom he had led to and discipled in Christ Jesus . . . the Philippians and the Thessalonians. Our Lord will distribute this crown to those servants who are faithful to declare the gospel, lead souls to Christ, and build them up in Him. And remember: the rewards at this judgment will be based on the quality not quantity of our earthly works (1 Corinthians 3:13).
3. The Crown of Righteousness (2 Timothy 4:7–8)
The crown of righteousness will be awarded those who live each day, loving and anticipating Christ’s imminent return . . . those who conduct their earthly lives with eternity’s value in view. Kenneth Wuest captures the complete meaning of verse 8 with these words:
To those who have considered precious His appearing and therefore have loved it, and as a result at the present time are still holding that attitude in their hearts, to those the Lord Jesus will also give the victor’s garland of righteousness.[ref]Kenneth S. Wuest, The Pastoral Epistles in the Greek New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1956), 163.[/ref]
Those who qualify for this crown anxiously look for His return from one day to the next.