The crown of righteousness is a reward that is mentioned in one of Paul’s letters to Timothy:
2 Tim 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
This verse tells us that a crown that awaits us. It is “laid up,” meaning it is safely kept. “At that day,” we will receive our crowns from the Lord Himself. “That day” is a reference to the judgment seat of Christ, which will take place following the Rapture when all who belong to Jesus (both dead and alive) will be bodily resurrected.
The Judgment Seat of Christ
All Christians will stand before Jesus at His judgment seat:
1 Cor 3:13-15 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
Our works will be judged and rewards given. However, the “crown of righteousness” is not a crown based on our works, but on Jesus’ work for us. Therefore, every Christian will receive the crown of righteousness for Paul said the crown would be given to all who “love His appearing.” The Lord’s appearing will be at the Rapture, and all who are Christ’s will certainly rejoice in His coming. It will be a day of a journey to Heaven, a bodily resurrection for all who died in Christ, and a body and soul resurrection for those still alive in Christ at His coming.
1 Th 4:16-17 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1 Cor 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead [in Christ] shall be raised incorruptible, and we [all who belong to Christ] shall be changed.
As Christians, we wait for the crown that is laid up for us. But in this life we have a “crown” of acceptance in Jesus:
Eph 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Because we are Christians, we belong to Jesus, and we will receive the crown of righteousness. Jesus has saved us (Rom 10:9-13, Eph 2:8), washed our sins away (Rev 1:5), and justified us (Rom 3:24). He has declared us righteous we stand before God in the righteousness of Christ imputed to us (Read: What are the Doctrines of Imputed, Infused, and Imparted Righteousness?)
Rom 4:24 But for us also, to whom it [righteousness] shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
In 1656, Thomas Watson preached a funeral at which he said:
“There is a righteousness by imputation. This is as truly ours to justify us—as it is Christ’s to give us.
“There is a righteousness by implantation. The one is by the merit of Christ, the other is by the Spirit of Christ. Now this implanted righteousness is in the soul, as an intrinsic quality…”
In this sense, we have been crowned now with Christ’s righteousness, credited to us and working in and through us. Therefore, we “rejoice, because [our] names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). And we look forward with joy because, “henceforth there is laid up for [us] a crown of righteousness” (2 Tim 4:8)
Read also: What Five Crowns Will Believers Receive?
What If You Aren’t Crowned Now?
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