Crowned by the Lord from Within (1)
In a very real sense,
the crown we gain from
the Lord when we see Him
must first come forth
from within us today
Every time the believer’s crowns are spoken of in the New Testament, as we said in a recent Note, they represent a reward that is given for faithfully following the Lord; they are never given simply as a free gift of grace (See “The Reward of a Crown.”)and also the 14-minute shortcast I recently did on this topic,
Sometimes the New Testament speaks of crowns in a general way, as when Paul states that he was running the race to gain an “incorruptible crown” (1 Cor. 9:25; cf. Rev. 3:11). However, the New Testament also speaks of three specific types of crowns for the believers: the crown of righteousness (1 Timothy 4:8), the crown of life (James 1:12, Rev. 2:10), and the crown of glory (1 Peter 5:4).
Did you notice something about these different types of crowns? They all speak of divine attributes that were imparted into our being the moment we believed in Christ. In fact, they are all expressions of Christ Himself living within us.
When we believed, we surely received Christ as our righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30); we were also born anew with the divine life (John 1:12-13), which is Christ Himself (John 14:6); and the result is that He Himself has now become the “hope of glory” within us (Col. 1:27).
However, while we have indeed received Christ as the divine righteousness, the divine life, and the divine glory within our being, these have entered into us only as a seed; as Peter tells us, we were born anew “not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible” (1 Peter 1:23). And as with any seed, these virtues now need to grow; in the case of the divine seed that was sown into our being, it needs to grow out from within us so that the righteousness, the life, and the glory that are within it may be expressed for all to see.
And if we allow that to happen in this life, then these attributes will in a very real sense become a “crown” that we wear even now, for when ones contact us they will sense that with us there is something so righteous, so full of life, and even so glorious. How our society and the people we meet need to see such a testimony today!
And eventually, when we see the Lord, we will also receive these attributes as a crown outwardly as a reward; but in fact, that crown will already have come forth from within us. In brief, the crown we receive then will simply match who we are in our living today.
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— 20 May 2023 —