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July 14, 2016

Text: “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”  James 1:12

Oh, what a wonderful prize to consider for ones’s self! But don’t go out just yet and look for a magnificent outfit to wear with this splendid piece. And don’t lose your ardor for that golden bonus. Of course, the crown is really a metonymy  for eternal life. A metonymy is a figure of speech used when a writer substitutes one word for another. We find the word “crown” used several times in the New Testament to indicate eternal life. To be sure, James was speaking of a reality, an eternal reward given to saints who persevere in this dangerous existence and pass on to the eternal reward.

The figure of the crown of life is an incentive to saints to spend every effort to obtain such a sterling prize. Probably most human beings have a longing to obtain or merit some notability or award. Such persons are often idolized because they become heads or symbols of adored public attention. But these are fleeting rewards, just objects or ideas that become passe. Notwithstanding, we do allow ourselves to become obsessed with some objective that we absolutely must have or we “will just die”.  In which case our quest for the crown of life vaporizes.

James begins his epistle by disclosing that the crown of life is preceded by trials and tests God allows us to undergo to assay our worthiness of the crown. He warns that we must expect such tribulations and testings in this life, the overcoming of which may enrich our enjoyments of heaven’s blessings. Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,  for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. ” James 1:2-4 Remember, you must prove that you deserve it before you receive it!

Certainly then, you will take steps to prevent you yourself being disqualified. By means of illustration let us take the case of a C.P.A. If a young person chose to go into that profession he would be required to go to college and obtain a degree which entailed the classes he would need to complete with passing grades. Then he should take preparation to pass a professional test  to get the specific knowledge and skills he will need to pass a C.P.A. exam.  He must then pass the C.P.A. exam. Somewhere along the line he would by scrutinized by a rigid background check. Then he would have to obtain a license certifying his fitness to practice in the state where is a resident. Through the years he would have to take classes to keep up with methods and laws.

The apostle Paul addresses such laborious measures as part of his efforts in living a Christian life.  Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” I Corinthians 9:24-27  Yes! The attainment of the crown of life requires goal-setting, discipline, sacrifice, and consistent hard work!

In probably the last of his Christian writings, Paul visits the subject of the crown of life again. As he sees his death looming closer he writes to his dear friend Timothy with words that make our hearts quiver. He reflects on the exertions and woes of his sacrificial life and evangelistic endeavors. And he casts his attention forward about his certain reward which the Lord himself  will present him.  For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”  II Timothy 4:6

May we all prepare as heartily as the apostle did, and receive a like reward as he was given!



One Comment
  1. Larry permalink

    I like the way you portray “crown.” I read from some authors how every mention of crown in the Bible is a different crown. Some folks just get carried away with crowns and resurrections. It all just confuses folks.–ls

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