The 5 Promised Crowns
There are five Crowns which can be given to believers, found in the scriptures.
1 Cor. 9:24,25 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.
1 Thess. 2:19,20 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For you are our glory and joy.
James 1:12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
2 Tim. 4:8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
1 Peter 5:1~4 The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords 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 does not fade away.
1. The incorruptible crown: 1 Cor. 9:24,25. This is also called the imperishable crown. This crown is given to believers who faithfully run the race, who crucify every selfish desire in the flesh and point men to Jesus. God calls some people to do things that will require some sacrifice in the way they will live and conduct their lives. Some people may be called to be a missionary in a far off and poor country. They will literally be working for almost nothing in earthly terms. They will have to sacrifice the money, possessions and life style they could have had, if they stayed home in their own country. This verse also implies that these people will also receive this crown for the sacrifices they were willing to make for God in order to successfully complete the call and mission God had called them to do.
Basically run whatever race that God has set out for you and be the best you can be for God. Be willing to make whatever sacrifices there may be to successfully complete the mission that God has set out for you.
2. The crown of rejoicing: 1 Thess. 2:19, 20. & Dan 12:3 To those who faithfully are witnesses to the saving grace of God and leads souls to Jesus. This crown has also been named the soul winner's crown. It seems to indicate here that God will be giving a crown to those who have been witnessing to others and leading people to Christ.
Telling others about the grace of God, telling others about Jesus, is the greatest thing that you can do for someone while here on this earth. When you help someone to be led to the Lord, you have just been used as a vessel of God.
God will judge you by your willingness and desire to be used by Him to witness to others, not necessarily on how many actually get saved, because we are to water and He gives the increase. There are many Christians who are simply too busy to be willing to be used by God to try to lead others to the Lord. God can fit opportunities for you in your life to witness and work for Him if you allow Him to. Some could be your unsaved friends, family members or co-workers, etc.
3. The crown of life: James 1:12. For those believers who endure trials, tribulations, and severe suffering, even unto death Rev. 2:8-11. This crown is also referred to as the martyr's crown.
Jesus says that He will give this crown to those who undergo severe hardship, testing, tribulation and/or physical death on His behalf. Probably being willing to die for your faith in God would be the ultimate sacrifice. It is the greatest act of courage and love that you can show God. Christians who have been martyred for their faith throughout history will not only be given this crown of life, but other rewards once they enter into heaven.
God the Father will honour each ones trials and tribulations and thus will be rewarding them accordingly. Also consider this verse from Rev. 2:10.
"Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life."
4. The crown of righteousness: 2 Tim. 4:8. To those who love the appearing of Christ, who anxiously wait and look forward to the day when He will return for His saints. This crown is given to those who have lived a good and righteous life for God while living down here on earth.
First, if you are a believer you have been made righteous before God the Father as a result of Jesus dying on the cross for all of our sins. This means that the righteousness of Jesus has now been imputed to you.
Second is that it refers to us living a good and righteous life for God the Father with what time we have left down here. There are Christians who are righteous before God the Father as a result of being saved, called Justification, through the blood of Jesus Christ; but they are not living righteous lives in their actions, words and behaviours, called Sanctification. There are some people may be saved in God’s eyes, but who continue to do are still do evil works that the unsaved would do. We all have our flaws, weaknesses, and certain temptations that we may struggle with. It is not perfection but direction that God is looking for. The Bible says that, we all have sinned and have fallen way short of the glory of our God. We all know right from wrong! God just wants each one of us to choose to do the right thing when faced with certain temptations or choices to do something bad. When it is all said and done, these Christians will probably be receiving some of the greatest rewards that God can hand out once they enter into heaven. To live a righteous life for God will really be worth your while as you will definitely be given this crown by God Himself once you enter into heaven.
5. The crown of glory: 1 Pet. 5:1~4. This is the pastor’s crown and will be given to the ministers who faithfully feed the flock of God. . This probably could also include preachers, teachers, Sunday School teachers, missionaries and all those who teach the Word of God in their respective ministries. This crown may signify the importance and sacrifices of bringing up others into the ways of God. God wants those who are saved to grow and learn as much as they can about Him, His Son and His Holy Spirit and to do that he uses mature believers who are willing to each others.
God can use you to teach and shepherd others. God shows you the extreme importance that He is placing on those who teach and preach the word. Being willing to teach and educate others after they are saved is one of the greatest things you can do for them this side of heaven.
Rev. 4:10,11 the twenty–four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honour and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created."
These elders place their crowns at Jesus feet and if they do, would not all of us want to more so do because of our love for Him. As you can see each crown is given to those who do a good work on His behalf and it appears that we will want to place whatever crowns we may have at the feet of Jesus when we come face to face with Him.