“henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to be on that day and not only to me, but also to all who have loved his appearing.” [2 timothy 4:8]
paul ends his living eulogy here and he comes to this and talks about the crown of righteousness. this is the crescendo, the point of it all is this crown of righteousness that’s waiting for him when he goes to be with the Lord.
but what is this crown? why is this such a big deal?
crowns were a big deal in the ancient world and paul references them in 1 corinthians as well,
“do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? so run that you may obtain it. every athlete exercises self-control in all things. they do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.” [1 corinthians 9:24-25]
crows or wreaths were awarded to the runners or athletes when they won their race or competition that they were in. so it’s fitting here that paul would refer to a crown after comparing the Christian life to running a race with endurance.
but as Christians, unlike the crown given to an athlete, our crowns don’t magnify our glory. they don’t tell the world how great we are.
the crowns we are given are crowns of righteousness, but not our own righteousness, instead they’re crowns of Christ’s righteousness
“and because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”[1 corinthians 1:30-31]
so after enduring and running the race in the strength of Christ, we are given a crown because of Christ. none of this is by our strength, so that we can’t boast, but rather, rejoice and glorify our risen savor.
i pray that this morning, our hearts would rise in worship and we would spend time in the presence of God worshipping our creator and sustainer. the one who gives us the endurance to run the race he’s called us to, the one who has given us his righteousness and eternal life. and just like the twenty four elders in revelation 4 may we lay our crowns at his feet and worship the living God, the King of kings who loves us more than we can imagine.
“and day and night they never cease to say, ‘holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God almighty, who was and is and is to come!’
and whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
‘worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.’” [revelation 4:8-11]
~ josiah bridges