8th November, 2020
RECEIVING THE CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Text: 2 Timothy 4:7-8
The Bible contains a list of several crowns the believer in Christ could win. Some of the crowns mentioned in the Bible are
1. Crown of Rejoicing (1 Thes. 2:19)
2. Crown of Life (James 1:12, Rev. 2:10)
3. Crown of Glory (1 Peter 5:4)
4. Crown of Gold (Rev. 4:4)
5. Crown of Righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8)
It therefore seems to me that heaven will be a parade of crowns. They shall be our symbols of royalty, dignity and grandeur. May your head not be empty when others are wearing their crowns. Amen. One of the crowns mentioned in the Bible is the crown of righteousness. Apostle Paul stated clearly that this crown was laid up for him by the Lord, the righteous Judge and it will be given to him and the good part of it is that, it is also available to all those who love Christ’s appearing. Without much doubt, many love to win and wear the crown, but the truth is, there is a prize to pay.
THE PRIZE TO PAY
If anyone will receive the crown of righteousness, there are at least three things to do according to Paul. These are:
1. FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT
In the Christian journey, there is always a fight to fight and it is a good fight of faith. (1 Tim. 6:12) The Christian life is often represented as a conflict or warfare. We are always at conflict with sin, the world, the flesh and the devil. The battle might be tough, but it is a good fight. To receive the crown, there is a good fight to fight.
2. FINISH THE RACE
To receive the crown of righteousness, there is a course to follow and it must be followed to the finishing line. The greek word “dromos” interpreted course in KJV could mean “race” as well. Much more than the race of life, Paul meant the course of his ministry which he desired to finish with joy and was now finishing. (Act 13:25) The Christian life also is often represented as a “race” to run. (1Co 9:24-26.)To finish the race, we must run rightly, speedily, patiently, cheerfully, circumspectly and perseveringly. It is not enough to run the race, we must finish the course.
3. KEEP THE FAITH.
As we fight the good fight, striving to finish the course, we must also ensure we keep the faith. Keeping the faith means we must hold fast without wavering our profession of faith. Our faith must be kept pure and incorrupt against all opposition. The Syriac and Ethiopic versions render it, “I have kept my faith”; meaning I have been faithful to my trust as a good steward. It means keeping the faith at the face of trials and tribulations.
When Bernard Palissy, the inventor of a kind of pottery called Palissy ware, was an old man, he was sent to the French prison known as the Bastille because he was a Protestant. The king went to see him, and told him he would be set free if he would deny his faith. The king said. “I am sorry to see you here, but the people will force me to keep you here unless you recant.” Palissy was ninety years old, but he was ashamed to hear a king speak of being compelled. So he said, “Sir, they who can compel you cannot compel me! I can die!” And he remained in prison until he died. To keep the faith, we must steadfastly maintain the faith of the gospel; living a life of fidelity to our Master. The expression here signifies that we faithfully observe our vows and engagements, faithful to our glorious Master and hold on with integrity and constancy in His service. Those who are truly kept by faith must keep the faith. Without keeping the faith, our good fight and running of the race shall be in vain.
There is indeed the need for harmony between righteousness and the crown of righteousness. This crown cannot be laid on any other head but that of a righteous man. This crown can never fit the head of the indolent, the lover of ease or the self-indulgent who shuns the trouble of inquiry and of choice. We must contend, strive and fight to conquer even as the conqueror alone can win the crown. It is the crown of righteousness and righteousness is the perfection of all moral character and virtue following after Christ’s example. A lady in a dream wandered around heaven, beholding its glories and came at last to the crown-room. Among the crowns, she saw one that was exceedingly beautiful. “Who is this for?” “It was intended for you,” said the angel, “but you did not labour for it, and now another will wear it.” May that not be our portion.
To finish our course well, we must run the Christian race casting off every weight; depend upon Christ and run with patience, courage and resolution. We must be watchful and diligent. We must be on our guard, keep pressing forward and persevering to the end so that no one shall take our crown. (Rev. 3:11) The goodnews is every one that fights the good fight, finishes his course and keeps the faith shall surely receive the prize. A young boy in a secondary school fell during the first leg of an 800meters race and was only able to find his feet when his colleagues were running the final leg. But this boy kept running and ensured he concluded the race even when others have finished. At the end of the race, newsmen asked him why he continued knowing fully well that others have concluded the race. His reply was, my coach told me that if I do not come first in the race, I must ensure I finish it. So I ensured I finished the race.”
The crown of righteousness is still available for those who could fight the good fight, finish the race and keep the faith. Above all, we must love His appearing. May your crown not be given to another. Amen. Shalom.