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Will believers earn crowns in Heaven?

Quick Answer: Will believers earn crowns in Heaven? The imagery of crowns is used in different ways in the New Testament. However, crowns are never presented as heavenly rewards for good works. The crown of life, the crown of righteousness, and the crown of glory all refer to Jesus Himself and what He means to us.

Diving Deeper: Many teach that God will reward His faithful children with crowns in Heaven. But this is not consistent with the New Testament.

The New Testament often uses imagery to convey certain truths to readers. Crowns are a great example of this symbolism. For example, James 1:12 and Revelation 2:10 both speak of a “crown of life” given to those who persevere under trial. Elsewhere in the New Testament Jesus is presented to be our eternal life (John 14:6; Colossians 3:4). So, the crown of life seems to be Jesus Himself. He is the great reward that awaits those who endure. Of course, we learn throughout the New Testament that we only endure because we are more than victorious through Christ (Romans 8:21) and God Himself is able to make us stand (Romans 14:4).

Another crown, the “crown of righteousness,” is mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:8. Paul says this crown will be given not only to him but to all believers. What exactly is this crown? Once again, Jesus! Jesus is our righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30), and there is no righteousness outside of Him.

Peter speaks of another crown, the “crown of glory” (1 Peter 5:4), that believers receive at Jesus’ second coming. We know that God has already given us His glory as a free gift, and Jesus Himself is our source of glory (John 17:22). So, this crown is, once again, symbolic of Christ Himself.

Elsewhere, crowns are used to describe people. In Philippians 4:1, the Apostle Paul describes the church at Philippi as his “joy” and “crown.” Evidently, the church itself was Paul’s crown, because they had received his message about Jesus.

In conclusion, the New Testament does not use the imagery of crowns to indicate that jeweled prizes await those who exerted extra effort on Earth. Instead, crowns are simply the imagery used in the New Testament to convey who Jesus Christ is to us – our life, our righteousness, and our glory.

This is precisely why in the vision that John recounts in Revelation 4:10-11, twenty-four elders each receive a crown and then toss them at the feet of Jesus, declaring that He is worthy of all honor: “the 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: ‘You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power’” (Revelation 4:10-11a).

Let’s Make It a Conversation!
1. What have you heard about Christians receiving crowns?
2. Crown of life. Crown of righteousness. Crown of glory. What do all these have in common?
3. Why do you think it’s so tempting for us humans to invent theologies of “heavenly materialism”?
4. React to this statement: Jesus Christ Himself is our crown.


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