Drinking Deeply

Thursday, July 27, 2006 at 2:17 AM

Crowns (2) - Defining the question

So the issue of "crowns" arose as a result of an answer to a question at a retreat. See my previous post.

This is an attempt at defining what the question is, and what I hope to accomplish.

Without further ado:

Question: Will the elect eventually receive additional gifts (treasures/rewards/crowns) in heaven, related in some way to their conduct here on earth?

The answer the speaker at the retreat said, "yes, it is possible to be a Christian, yet not really obey God that much, so you don't get very many crowns at all. But some who obey God a great deal will have a lot (or a very big one)."

Now, having dealt with an underlying assumption that I disagreed with in my previous post, I'm going to briefly address "crowns" itself, before moving on to addressing the "rewards" question.
The speaker at the retreat rattled off a list of verses, all of which I have forgotten. But thanks to the modern wonder of biblegateway, we're able to collect a list of relevant verses. Close examination of them will reveal that there is not strong support for "crowns" as rewards beyond that of eternal life.

These verses are from the NIV, because that's the translation that I assume the speaker was using.

1 Corinthians 9:25

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

Philippians 4:1
Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!

1 Thessalonians 2:19
For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?

2 Timothy 2:5
Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules.

2 Timothy 4:8
Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

James 1:12
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

1 Peter 5:4
And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

Revelation 2:10
Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.

Revelation 3:11
I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.

Revelation 4:4
Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads.

Revelation 4:9-11

9Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:

11"You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being."

As a side note, it is easy to see how someone could, if they understood Christians to fall into two groups, to see these verses and be led to believe that there are crowns as a special reward for those who obey God more (better?).

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