At the close of the Grecian games the successful athletes were rewarded victory crowns. The crowns were a public recognition of success in their event. In the same way, the crowns received by a Christian are in recognition of how we live our Christian life. They are rewarded for the goodness and quality of the believer’s work, thoughts and actions. These things are measured by God in righteousness.
Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s kingdom. Anyone who has ears should listen!
I tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak.
The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom;
his tongue speaks what is just.
35 For I was hungry
and you gave Me something to eat;
I was thirsty
and you gave Me something to drink;
I was a stranger and you took Me in;
36 I was naked and you clothed Me;
I was sick and you took care of Me;
I was in prison and you visited Me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or without clothes and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and visit You?’
40 “And the King will answer them, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’
1 Corinthians 4:5
Therefore don’t judge anything prematurely, before the Lord comes, who will both bring to light what is hidden in darkness and reveal the intentions of the hearts. And then praise will come to each one from God.
The crowns are to given out at the bema seat of Christ. At that time, we will stand to be rewarded for deeds done in the body.
1. Acceptable works in the sight of God (1 Corinthians 3:9-15)
1 Corinthians 3:9-15
9 For we are God’s coworkers. You are God’s field, God’s building. 10 According to God’s grace that was given to me, I have laid a foundation as a skilled master builder, and another builds on it. But each one must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no one can lay any other foundation than what has been laid down. That foundation is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on that foundation with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw, 13 each one’s work will become obvious, for the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire; the fire will test the quality of each one’s work. 14 If anyone’s work that he has built survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, it will be lost, but he will be saved; yet it will be like an escape through fire.
2. Work is done rightly…no shame or wrongdoing (Mark 12:1-4; 1 Corinthians 6:5; 1 Samuel 15:1-3, 9). Doing what is right is based solely upon our obedience to God…not just in what appears to be good.
1 Then He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug out a pit for a winepress, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and went away. 2 At harvest time he sent a slave to the farmers to collect some of the fruit of the vineyard from the farmers. 3 But they took him, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Again he sent another slave to them, and they hit him on the head and treated him shamefully.
1 Corinthians 6:5
I say this to your shame! Can it be that there is not one wise person among you who is able to arbitrate between his brothers?
1 Samuel 15:1-3, 9
15 Samuel told Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you as king over His people Israel. Now, listen to the words of the Lord. 2 This is what the Lord of Hosts says: ‘I witnessed what the Amalekites did to the Israelites when they opposed them along the way as they were coming out of Egypt. 3 Now go and attack the Amalekites and completely destroy everything they have. Do not spare them. Kill men and women, children and infants, oxen and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”
9 Saul and the troops spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, cattle, and choice animals,[a] as well as the young rams and the best of everything else. They were not willing to destroy them, but they did destroy all the worthless and unwanted things.
3. There is no compromise with sin (Proverbs 13:15; 25:26).
The righteous hate lying,
but the wicked act disgustingly and disgracefully.
A righteous person who yields to the wicked
is like a muddied spring or a polluted well.
4. Our right actions result in our needs being met (Isaiah 33:15-16).
15 The one who lives righteously
and speaks rightly,
who refuses gain from extortion,
whose hand never takes a bribe,
who stops his ears from listening to murderous plots
and shuts his eyes to avoid endorsing evil—
16 he will dwell on the heights;
his refuge will be the rocky fortresses,
his food provided, his water assured.
Example: Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln – Presidential Race (The Lincoln-Douglas debates). There were seven debates, and each of them focused on the topic of slavery.
“If slavery is not wrong, then nothing is wrong” –Abraham Lincoln
It is not good to say that sinful behavior is acceptable in our mind…with Jesus Christ, there is a clear difference between right and wrong. It is an eternal difference and distinction.
2 Timothy 4:8
There is reserved for me in the future the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved His appearing.
1 John 3:2-3
2 Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure.
On that day it will be said,
“Look, this is our God;
we have waited for Him, and He has saved us.
This is the Lord; we have waited for Him.
Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.”
God will judge us on right and wrong, for His kingdom is about righteousness, and we have to deal with a world filled with perversion by practicing a life of righteous living. Doing the right thing means making a decision to trust God.
Then people will say,
“Yes, there is a reward for the righteous!
There is a God who judges on earth!”
…for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
The Lord God is a righteous judge. Your works will be examined. All that we do in obedience and righteousness is empowered by the Holy Spirit.
But you, why do you criticize your brother? Or you, why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before the tribunal of God.
2 Corinthians 5:10
For we must all appear before the tribunal of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or worthless.
1 Corinthians 3:13
…each one’s work will become obvious, for the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire; the fire will test the quality of each one’s work.
The Spirit is the One who gives life. The flesh doesn’t help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.
As they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work I have called them to.”
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons.
We are right when we love and not hate.
We are right when we help others.
We are right to show mercy to others.
We are right to reveal grace.
We are right to deal with truth.
Every moment of each day, we are choosing to do what is right or what is wrong. Each of us will give an account to God for what we do or say. The future crowns of righteousness are recognition for being a “good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).