As the Apostle Paul neared his journeys end he expressed his faith
in Christ, and the assurance of his salvation in 2TI 4:8. After giving his personal
testimony he said, "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 crown of righteousness is not obtained without a life long effort, striving
lawfully as a soldier of the cross. "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good
soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this
life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive
for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully," 2TI 2:3.
The Apostle Pauls confidence in his obtaining his crown of righteousness was
supported by his testimony as a good solider of the cross. When he spoke of his departure,
and assurance of receiving the crown, he testified that he was ready "
offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I
have finished my course, I have kept the faith."
What is this crown of righteousness referred to in our text? This word
"righteousness" comes from the Greek word "dikaiosune" which would
mean "Integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking, feeling,
and acting--or the doctrine concerning the way in which man may attain a state approved of
I must hasten to point out that the God-Man, Jesus Christ in our human nature, is the
only One who ever lived a perfect righteous life, therefore neither the Apostle Paul, nor
any man can claim any thing we do has any merit. However, our evidence that Christ has
been formed in us, is that we walk in that same Spirit of Christ.
Our Saviour made this point clear as He spoke of the Day of Judgment, explaining on
what basis He shall separate the sheep from the goats, issuing the "crown of
righteousness" unto His sheep!
"Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my
Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: "For
[or because] I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I
was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited
me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me," MAT 25:34-36.
This spirit of Christ producing a life of righteousness, was not claimed in
Christs illustration of the Judgment Day as being meritorious, but it is the
evidence of Christs righteousness imputed, and imparted to us.
See how those who received this crown of righteousness responded as Christ crowned
themand the dialog that followed. MAT 25:37-40 says, "Then shall the righteous
answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave
thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or
when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say
unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of
these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
Certainly no man shall receive this crown of righteousness for any merit in what we
have done outside the perfect obedience of Christ being imputed unto us, but our labour of
love is our evidence that we have a crown of righteousness laid up for us.
"Wherefore...give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do
these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you
abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ," 2PE
Beloved, the blood of souls stains so deeptherefore, I must be faithful to your
soul. How can you know that there is a "crown of righteousness" laid up for you?
See what Scriptures teach whereby we may know!
"And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that
saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in
him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know
we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even
as he walked," 1JO 2:3-6. Amen.
THE LAW OF LIBERTY
The gospels the law of the Lamb;
My soul of its glories shall sing;
With pleasure my tongue shall proclaim
The law of my Saviour and King;
A sweet law of liberty this;
A yoke that is easy and mild;
Of love it the precious law is,
Unknown unto all but a child.
The law of the Spirit of life,
That takes the old yoke from our neck,
Proves Zion to be the Lambs wife,
And Zion with beauty does deck;
Provides her a clothing divine,
And makes her all-glorious within;
Nor angels are clothed more fine,
Nor can it be sullied with sin.
Its beauties all center in Christ,
For Christ is the substance of it;
It makes broken hearts to rejoice,
And insolvent debtors will fit.
Tis wisdom, tis strength, and tis love,
Tis all that a sinner can need;
And all that are born from above,
By Jesus from Moses are freed.
This law is the poor pilgrims rule;
With boldness this truth Ill maintain;
Thrice happys the man, though a fool,
That in it can look and remain;
This man shall be blest in his deed,
For Jesus and he are but one;
Hell therefore supply all his need,
For ever and ever. Amen.