Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.James 1:12
One of our rewards for faithfully following Jesus in this life will be to receive the crown of life in the next. To fully appreciate this crown, we need to understand all the different things that God crowns us with according to scripture.
First, we know that humanity, by being created in God’s image, is already crowned with some things. Psalm 8:5 says of humanity, “You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.“
There is a certain glory and honor to every human being simply because we are created in the image of God. Yet, there are certain additional benefits to having a relationship with God. Psalm 103 says:
Praise the Lord, my soul;Psalm 103:1-5
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Not only that but Psalm 149:4 says, “For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.” Likewise, Proverbs 10:6 says, “Blessings crown the head of the righteous…“
The prophet Isaiah prophesies of even more crowns for those in relationship with God. Isaiah 51:11 says, “Those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”
Then in Isaiah 61:3 he prophesies of Jesus’s mission and ministry saying that the Messiah will, “provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes…”
And all of these things–love, compassion, victory, blessing, joy, beauty–are characteristics of our ultimate crown. Paul told the Corinthians that we will “get a crown that will last forever.”(1 Corinthians 9:25). Paul then wrote to his protege Timothy to remind him:
“Now there is in store 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 longed for his appearing.”2 Timothy 4:8
Peter says the same thing when he wrote, “And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.” Jesus Himself speaks to the church in Philadelphia and says, “I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown“(Revelation 3:11).
How is it that we get to wear this crown of life–this crown of righteousness and glory that will last forever?
What has happened is that we get to wear the crown meant only for Jesus because on the cross He wore the crown meant only for us. We get to wear an incredible crown of life because Jesus, the Lord of glory, endured this:
They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.Matthew 27:28-30
And this is why when we finally wear this magnificent crown of life on our heads, we will do what the 24 elders are now doing continuously before the throne of God.
Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 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,Revelation 4:9-11
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.”