Win the Victor’s Crown
The “stephanos” (stefanoV) the victors crown. It is the symbol of victory given to the winners in the Greek games or a contest. It is a reward or a prize. Stephanos is the word for crown in this discussion of five crowns. It is the crown for the winners in the Christian life. in 1 Corinthians 9: 24,25 says;
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 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”.
The Five Crowns
There are five crowns mentioned in scripture. They deal with different aspects of the Christian life. The crowns reflect levels of maturity in regards to a believers growth and accomplishments of service to the Lord. They are placed here in a possible list in the order that they could be obtained by the believer.
1. Incorruptible Crown – this crown would be the first level a believer would attain to. This crown indicates mastery over the sin nature. The Corinthians are being urged to run the Christian life in such a way as to receive the reward in the end. Here the emphasis is in self-control.
Professional athletes are a good example. They have to go through training camp to get ready for the season. They have to watch their diets and weight in order to be able to successfully compete in the sport they are in. They have to give up a lot of their social life in order to stay in good shape. In other words, they do not live normal lives like the rest of us do. They sometimes lose time away from their families.
Paul then goes on to state that the people who run in these types of races and are forced to be temperate in the way they live their lives, all do it to obtain a perishable crown. Paul then tells us that we should all run the race of this life to receive what will be an incorruptible or imperishable crown that obviously can only be given by God the Father in heaven. God is telling us in this passage that if He does put this kind of special call on your life that will require you to give up many of the normal things of this life, that you will be greatly rewarded for this sacrifice once you enter into heaven.
This verse also seems to be implying that these people will also receive this imperishable crown for the sacrifices they were willing to make for God in order to successfully complete the call and mission that God had called them to do.
If you are willing to do this for the Lord, you just may receive an “incorruptible victor’s crown” for going the extra mile for God and accomplishing for Him what many Christians would be to lazy to shoot for.
2. Crown of Righteousness – The second level of crowns goes to those who live righteously in this world while they look forward to Christ’s return. They are those who are not captivated by this world, but hunger and thirst after righteousness. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 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.”
This crown will be given to those who have lived a good and righteous life for God while living down here on this earth. There are Christians who are righteous before God the Father as a result of being saved through the blood of Jesus Christ, but they are not living righteous lives in their actions, words, and behaviors. They are out committing adultery, scamming people through their jobs, abusing their spouses and children, doing drugs and abusing alcohol. These people may be saved in God’s eyes, but God is not too happy with the way they are living their lives.
We all know Christians who are like this. No one is perfect. We all have our character flaws, weaknesses, and certain temptations that we have a hard time in dealing with. God is not looking for total God-perfection.
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. And when we are having a hard time in trying to do the right thing, we have the power of the Holy Spirit Himself on the inside of us to help us out.
We also know Christians who are “righteous” down to the very cores of their personalities. These are the people who never have anything bad to say about anyone else. They hardly ever lose their tempers, they are totally selfless, and they would give you the shirt off their backs if they had to. We refer to them as being “saints, angels, or angelic.” The world refers to them as “goody two shoes.” The world has always made fun of these types of people.
They were willing to be laughed at and ridiculed by others for not joining in with the rest of the crowd. They have always stayed true to themselves and to their basic convictions and would never go against their basic sense of right versus wrong. These are the people you will be seeing wearing “crowns of righteousness” in heaven. These are the people that God is going to be rewarding big-time when they get into heaven because of the godly and righteous lives they have lived down here on this earth. The Bible says that many of the first will be last once we all enter into heaven and receive our final rewards from God based upon the earthly works we did for Him.
3. Crown of Life – The third level to attain to is to proceed in God’s plan for your life while enduring trials. The believer who moves forward in God’s call and assignment in the face of difficulty, even martyrdom, will receive. In ( James 1:12; Revelation 2:10) Say’s
“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.” “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.”
Testing and trials are part of the Christian life. It should be understood that when faced with test and trials many Christians turn back and do not continue on the path God has called them to run on. Jesus said we would have trouble: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” (John 15:18)
Paul writes to Timothy, “You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith , patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” 2 Timothy 3:10,11,12)
The doorway to the next level towards fulfilling God’s plan is to endure hardships and persecution. The reward is for “persevering” and remaining “faithful”. The reward is not given for having great faith and getting delivered from the trial or test. We are faithful to the Lord in the trial. The Lord is faithful to reward us for enduring the trial.
4. The Crown of Rejoicing – This crown is for those who lead others to Christ or demonstrate fruitfulness by influencing others towards righteousness. In Philippians 4:1; (1 Thess.2:19)
“Therefore, my brother, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!” “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? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.”
Rewards are not just for how we live and what we do, they are also for the influence we have on how others live and what they do.
It was being said in Thessalonica that Paul did not really care for the Thessalonicans, but Paul said he did, and it should be obvious, since they will result in a crown for him if they succeed.
Gabriel tells Daniel in Daniel 12:3, “Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.”
5. Crown of Glory – The greatest achievement is to fulfill your calling and finish the work God gave you to do. The scripture reference is speaking to pastors who finish their work faithfully, but this crown is not only for pastors. It is for anyone who finds and fulfills their assignment God has given them. In (1 Peter 5:4)
“ To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder. . . One who will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care. . .and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”
Again we see the rewards being given upon Christ’s return. Here Christ is seen as the Chief Shepherd paying his workers that he contracted out labor to shepherd for him.
Earthly crowns or stephanos wee made of vines, etc. This crown is made out of Glory! (Isaiah 28:5)
Just like Paul’s crown in 2 Timothy 4:7,8 was available to “ALL who long for Christ’s appearing,” this crown is also available to all who serve at the position and with the capacity they were given. It is not just the office of pastor, although that is the context of the verse. The application extends to all believers who become what God has created them to be and they serve him in that position.
The Five Crowns Incorruptible Crown for mastery over the sin nature. Crown of Righteousness for living righteously in this world. Crown of Life for enduring trials while proceeding in God’s plan. Crown of rejoice for leading others to Christ and in righteousness. Crown of Glory for fulfilling your calling and finishing the work assigned.
Source: Generationword , Bibleknowledge