I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 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.
2 Timothy 4:7-8
It is gratifying, at the end of our day, to be able to say something similar to what Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:7-8: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 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. In short, Paul was satisfied with his duty and was sure that his Lord would reward him and all who loved the Lord’s coming.
The crown of righteousness is one of the four crowns that have been promised to believers. The other three crowns are: the crown of life, the imperishable crown and the crown of glory. On the crown of life James 1:12 says, 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.
From the imperishable crown speaks 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, 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. 25 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. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
Finally, 1 Peter 5:2-4 speaks of the crown of glory, 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.
Each of the four crowns has a requirement in order to receive the award. In the case of the crown of righteousness, the requirement is to yearn for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and consecrate ourselves to Him. The apostles and millions of Christians over two thousand years have lived their lives with the fervent yearning to see Jesus Christ Descending from heaven full of glory and clothed with the great majesty of His condition as King of kings and Lord of lords. The Word of God does not lie, and no doubt they will all receive the crown of righteousness.
Are we the believers of the twenty-first century ready to receive the crown of righteousness? It is a question that confronts us all. Are we longing for Christ to come or do we ask Him to stay in heaven for a while so we can continue to enjoy our “wonderful” world? Is our longing His coming or the only thing we want from Him is that He make us prosperous and happy on earth and that He continue as He is at the right hand of the Father? If things get worse in the world, are we willing to suffer for Christ or our longing is to get us out of trouble? The coming of the Lord must be above all things to those we love. God bless you.