Ever heard of them? In recent times, to the common man, the "Five Crowns" are unheard of. Not to all, but many. Others know of the five crowns. Whether you personally have heard of them or not, let us take a look at these crowns - how we earn them, and what they are. (Photo credit to: Dallas Vintage)
Do you think Christians believe by blind faith? Many do, and Jesus says "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (John 20:29) We walk by faith, not by sight. But you do not need to have "blind faith" as some call it, to believe. Look around you! Something intelligent designed everything around us, science has a law that everything must have a creator - but because God IS the creator, he did not need to be created, for he is outside linear time. There is much archaeological, historical, physical, and spiritual evidence to prove the Bible.
Put plainly, after you become a true follower of Christ, you also gain the capability to have rewards in Heaven. But what other the rewards? Is your mansion bigger than the next? Is your robe heavier? Well, one of the upcoming topics I plan to cover is what the Bible gives us description-wise about Heaven. But in this entry, we'll look at the crowns rewarded to the faithful.
The Bible mentions five literal crowns. The Crown of Incorruption, The Crown of Rejoicing, The Crown of Life, The Crown of Glory, and The Crown of Righteousness. Sounds too fantastic to be true, right? Believers being sent to a "mystical place" where they wear white robes and get crowns, living under the reign of Jesus? Nothing is too hard for the Lord.
With God, the impossible becomes possible. None of what the Bible tells us is too hard for the Lord, too great a feat to be accomplished. That said, let's take a look at each Crown and how they can be obtained. Bear in mind that more than one kind of crown can be obtained by any one person.
The Crown of Incorruption. This crown is given to those who live a disciplined life. Mentioned in 1st Corinthians 9:25, "Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last [corruptible crown]; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever [incorruptible crown]." The simple truth: only those who strive in life will get this crown, those who do not, will not.
The Crown of Rejoicing. This crown is given to those who joyously express their faith. I have met many people throughout my life who have done so, and it would not surprise me in the least if they got this crown. 1st Thessalonians 2:19, "For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes..."
Other translations explicitly say "crown of rejoicing." If you do not joyously express your faith, you will not gain the crown, put bluntly. Daniel 12:3 says, "Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever." Many scholars take this to mean, if you lead others to righteousness by expressing your faith, you will receive a crown that will shine like the "brightness of the heavens."
The Crown of Life. James 1:12 says, "Blessed are those who persevere under trial, because when they have stood the test, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." The Crown of Life is given to those who are patient, who endure the trials and tribulations in life. Revelation 2:10 says, "...Be faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life." This crown is also referred to as the "Martyr's Crown."
The Crown of Glory. This Crown is given to those who are faithful in ministering to the world. 1st Peter 5:2-4 says, "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; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away."
The Crown of Righteousness. 2nd Timothy 4:8 says, "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 crown is for all those who long for the return of Jesus. Those who do not believe that Jesus will return or do not care will not receive this crown.
That, dear readers, are the five crowns. But are these the only rewards in heaven? Certainly not. Let's learn a little more about these rewards. Revelation 3:11 says, "I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown." In other words, we are to guard ourselves, to be on our guard and to continue in faithfulness.
Crowns can be lost. (Matthew 6:2, 2nd John 1:7-8) However, as stated, if you stay faithful to God, we will not lose rewards in Heaven. Revelation 4:4 says, "... They were all clothed in white and had gold crowns on their heads." Jesus himself wore a crown of thorns at his death.
However, when he returns, John tells us that "on his head were many crowns." (Revelation 19:11-19) When Christ returns, he will show his true standing, as we know him to be the Son of God. There are many scripture references to that fact that crowns and rewards in heaven are for those who overcome, who are victorious. (Philippians 3:12-14, 1st Corinthians 9:24-27, Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; 21:7)
The Bible teaches that there will be a "reward system" in Heaven. Do not live your life merely for rewards, but know that whatever hardships you may face in life, if you have accepted Jesus as the only one who can save you, have confessed that "Jesus is Lord," believe that he is risen from the dead, and ask God for forgiveness of your sins, you will enter Heaven. God makes it clear that if you do not, you will not enter Heaven.
The crowns are where our works come into play. You have heard it said that works cannot get you into Heaven, and that is true. If you stand before a Judge, and try to explain how you've been a good person, the Judge [God] is going to say, "That's great, but you are on trial because you have broken the law." (The Ten Commandments, which we have all broken.) The only way to get to Heaven, to be saved, is not through Mary, not through false worship of other demi-gods, but by accepting Jesus, accepting the penalty that he paid for us.
However, good works will get rewarded. That's why we are told to "store up our treasures in Heaven." So what can we take away from all of this? Follow Colossians 3:2. "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." That wasn't a suggestion, folks. That was a command from the Word of God. Now, am I telling you that bills should not be paid, you shouldn't worry about raising children or about work? No, what I am telling you is the same thing Christ told us - stop worrying so much about temporal things, and worry about where you're going to spend eternity.
We have got - at the most, due to the sins of Noah's generation, 120 Years to live. We used to have 1,000, but we ruined that for ourselves. After that, what next? Will your next conscience thought be at Heaven - or Hell? Ask yourself. An atheist could stand before God and say, "I don't believe in you." God could turn around and say, "I don't believe in you!" Of course, I do not think that would exactly happen, but we need to be mindful of everything we do, for in everything we do, we ought to honor God. (See entry: What does it mean to walk by faith?)
I thank you for taking the time to read this, I trust that you have been able to take away something from this, and that it improves your relations with God and man. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit the facebook page, or leave a comment. God Bless You, and Take Care. Troy Hillman