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QUESTION: Will we get Crowns in Heaven?
ANSWER: The Bible does speak of rewards for faithfulness. There are at least five specific crowns that can be earned. The first one I will call the Soulwinner’s Crown. It is earned by those who turn many to Christ as Saviour (1 Thessalonians 2:19).
The second crown is given for a righteous life (righteous means holy and separated). (2 Timothy 4:8) Think about this crown when your pastor says something like, “If you are looking forward to the return of the Lord, you’ll live like it.”
Third, there is a crown for successfully enduring trials (James 1:12). This “crown of life” is also awarded to those who are martyred for the faith (Revelation 2:10). You Bible students will be blessed as you search the Scriptures and see why that is.
Next we have an incorruptible crown (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). As you read through the passage you’ll see that the context is that of a crown given to those who faithfully resisted the world, the flesh and the devil – all the way to the finish. Finish strong child of God!
Finally there is a crown for faithful ministry (1 Peter 5:4). In context it seems that this crown is given to faithful pastors who feed the flock of God without concern for financial remuneration or with an attitude of dictatorship. They simply have a good testimony both before their flock and the world.
It is important to distinguish that eternal life (salvation) is not a reward for victory over sin, the flesh or the devil, as we will now see...
When it comes to rewards I would like to remind you of a couple Bible truths. First, the fact that we are going to Heaven is not and was not determined by reward (good works). There is no verse that speaks of eternal life as a reward for righteous living. In fact, there are dozens that say just the opposite (cf. Galatians 2:16; Titus 3:5; Acts 13:39; and Philippians 3:9). Think with me for a second… We saw above that there is a crown given to those who remain faithful. Why would that crown be necessary if “remaining faithful” is what gets you into heaven in the first place? No, Heaven as our home was secured by grace through faith in the shed blood of the King of kings on the cross of Calvary.
A second thing I would like to remind you of is that crowns (rewards) can be lost. Read Revelation 3:11, “Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” Rewards are lost when we fail to “play within the rules” – just like an athlete who steps out of bounds does not gain the full reward s/he may have thought they had coming. Cf. also 2 John 1:8. Notice that rewards can be lost but salvation can never be lost because rewards are based on our own faithfulness, while salvation is based on God’s righteousness!
What will we do with our crowns? According to God’s Word we will throw them at the feet of our Saviour (Revelation 4:10-11). He is worthy!
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