15. Crowning

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 5
"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day. 2 Tim. 4:7-87I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7‑8)
We must run the race before we wear the crown. If you set the crown on Christ's head while you live, He will set the crown on your head when you die.
Behold, what manner of love is this, that Christ should be arraigned and we adorned, that the curse should be laid on His head and the crown set on ours.
"Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness." A Christian's best things are to come. We are here as Princes in disguise, the world knoweth us not; but there is a crown laid up. While we are laying out for God, He is laying up for us.
If you would wear the crown of righteousness, then walk in the way of righteousness. "In the way of righteousness is life" (Prov. 12:2828In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death. (Proverbs 12:28)). But, alas, this is a very untrodden way.
Some know the way of righteousness but do not walk in it.
Others commend the way of righteousness, but do not walk in it.
Others instead of walking in the way, they are good only at crossing the way; they oppose the way of righteousness; such are persecutors.
Others walk a few steps in the way and then go back again. These are apostates, as if they were going to heaven backwards.
Others walk half in the way and half out: these are loose professors who under a notion of Christian liberty do walk carelessly, crying up justification that they may weaken the power of sanctification. Surely were there none other Bible to read in, but the lives of some professors, we should read but little Scripture there.
Others instead of walking in the way do traduce and slander the way of righteousness. The way of truth shall be evil spoken of (2 Peter 2:22And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. (2 Peter 2:2)).
Others creep in the way, they do not walk; they go on but very slow. Those who look on can hardly tell whether they make any progress or no.
O! all you that would wear the crown of righteousness, walk in the way of righteousness; walk so that if we could suppose the Bible to be lost, it might be found again in your lives.
"The time is short", saith the apostle. We are ready to strike sail, we are almost ashore, and then we shall be crowned. The crown is hard by, you sail apace... Though we bear the cross, we shall wear the crown.
A Christian's work is soon over, but not his reward. How great is that reward which thoughts cannot measure, nor time finish.
In the future life the saints shall be out of the noise of the drum and cannon, and not one stroke shall be struck more; then shall they not appear in their armor, but their white robes.
The cross is heavy, but the sharper the cross, the brighter the crown.
Heaven itself is not a saint's reward. "Whom have I in heaven but Thee?" (Psa. 73:2525Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. (Psalm 73:25)).
"Hold up my goings in Thy paths that my footsteps slip not" (Psa. 17:55Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not. (Psalm 17:5)). "Lord, hold me up that I may hold out. Thou hast set the crown at the end of the race, let me run the race, that I may wear the crown"; it was Beza's prayer, and let it be ours, "Lord, perfect what Thou hast begun in me, that I may not suffer shipwreck when I am almost at the haven."
Love takes possession of glory, but faith gives a title to it. Love is the crowning grace in heaven, but faith is the conquering grace upon earth. "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."
"Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed" (Rom. 13:1111And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. (Romans 13:11)). You are within a few days' march of heaven. Salvation is near to you. Christians, it is but a while and you will have done weeping and praying, and be triumphing; you shall put off your mourning, and put on white robes; you shall put off your armor, and put on a victorious crown.
Heaven's glory only is commensurate to the vast desires of an immortal soul. The soul is never satisfied till it has God for its portion, and heaven for its haven. The glory of heaven is pure and unmixed. There gold has no alloy. There the rose of Sharon grows without thorns. There is ease without pain, honor without disgrace, life without death. Physicians there are out of date: no distemper there, no passing bell, or bill of mortality. "Neither can they die any more" (Luke 20:3636Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. (Luke 20:36)).
The glory is distributed to every saint. In an earthly kingdom the crown goes but to one, a crown will fit but one head; but above the crown goes to all (Rev. 1:66And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 1:6)). All the elect are kings. The land is settled chiefly upon the heir, but in heaven all the saints are heirs. "Heirs of God, and co-heirs with Christ" (Rom. 8:1717And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (Romans 8:17)). God has land enough to give to all His heirs.