By Nathan Jones
What kind of crowns will we receive as heavenly rewards?
To answer that question, Dr. David Reagan and I on our television program Christ in Prophecy invited Glenn Meredith, senior pastor for 30 years of Brookhaven Church in McKinney, Texas. Pastor Meredith is a very gifted communicator who is able to present the depths of God's Word in simple to understand language. Last fall he presented a sermon about heavenly rewards that deeply impressed Dr. Reagan, and so he was invited to share some of what he's learned about this topic.
The Victor's Crown
Nathan Jones: Pastor Glenn, you brought up earlier Ephesians 2:10, which lets Christians know they have a purpose in life. God created us to do good works. But, a lot of Christians don't know that there are rewards that come along with those works. The works of Jesus flows through us, and it's important how we respond to the Lord's calling. How about sharing then what some of these rewards are that people can expect in Heaven?
Glenn Meredith: Nathan, I think that's one of the most important subjects we could talk about today, because I believe so many Christians are under this false impression that they are going to get to Heaven one day and that everybody is going to be the same. That really believe that no matter how you've lived in this world, that we are going to get there and Heaven is going to be the same for everyone.
I think they have come to that conclusion based on really their faulty logic, and certainly not what's taught in the Bible. It's almost like a person reasons within themselves, "Well, if I get to Heaven and someone's got more rewards than me, then I would be jealous. Since there's not going to be jealously in Heaven, then therefore we must all be the same."
And yet, the Bible is very clear that there are a number of different ways that God rewards His people. For example, the Apostle Paul talks about crowns. I know that there are at least five different crowns that are talked about in the Bible. They are talked about in 1 Corinthians 9.
That chapter talks about what we might call the Victor's Crown. Paul talks about how in a race all the runners run, but only one wins the prize. He exhorts believers to run to win the prize. He says these runners in the games run to get a crown that's temporary, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
Nathan Jones: We are talking about an actual, physical crown on our actual physical bodies in Heaven?
Glenn Meredith: I think so, but we'll see. I think that's true.
Nathan Jones: We'll all be walking around with crowns on?
Glenn Meredith: I think that having a crown is sort of a distinction. It's my opinion that I think we'll get to Heaven and we'll be able to look over and say, "There's a person who has the Victor's Crown. That person ran the race that was set before them. They ran faithfully. They laid aside the weights and the sin that so easily besets us."
Dr. Reagan: They exhibited self-control and so received the Victor's Crown.
The Crown of Rejoicing
Glenn Meredith: In 1 Thessalonians 2, it talks about the Crown of Rejoicing, which seems to be the soul winner's crown. This is the crown that designates those who won people to faith in Jesus Christ.
The Crown of Righteousness
Glenn Meredith: In 2 Thessalonians 4, and one Lamb & Lion Ministries is certainly very familiar with, is the Crown of Righteousness. The Crown of Righteousness Paul says will be given to all of those who love His appearing. So, surely the staff of your wonderful ministry will be wearing them and all your partners that help support your ministry. Those people who tune in week after week because they long for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ will get the Crown of Righteousness. The Bible says it will be so.
Nathan Jones: Will we be wearing multiple crowns?
Glenn Meredith: I think possibly.
Nathan Jones: They'll be stackable?
Glenn Meredith: I have no idea.
Nathan Jones: These crowns will be stephanos, not diadems right? Stephanos means they are symbols of authority given to us, whereas diadem means the crown of the ultimate ruler. God wears the diadem, but we wear the stephanos.
Glenn Meredith: That's correct.
The Crown of Life
Glenn Meredith: There's a fourth crown that is talked about in the book of James, and it's called the Crown of Life. That crown is given to those who have been tested and who have been tempted, and yet they've remained faithful to the Lord. Revelation talks about how they are faithful even unto death. Jesus promises, "I will give you the Crown of Life."
Nathan Jones: So, the martyrs get a special crown?
Glenn Meredith: Yes, the Crown of Life is also called the Martyr's Crown.
The Pastor's Crown
Glenn Meredith: Then in 1 Peter 5, it talks about a crown for shepherds of God's flocks. It's called the Pastor's Crown.
Nathan Jones: As a pastor, you'll get a special crown, Pastor Glenn.
Glenn Meredith: Yes, it's for faithful pastors.
So, we have all these different crowns. As you pointed out, Nathan, I believe that certainly it will be possible for some people to be living faithfully for God and winning souls and maybe they'll get multiple crowns. But, I imagine we'll get to Heaven one day and we will see these people walking around with these crowns on and we'll remark, "That person won souls for Christ. That person gave their life and received the Martyr's Crown for Jesus Christ." So, there are distinctions.
In the third part of this series on heavenly rewards, Pastor Glenn Meredith will explain many of the various types of rewards.