Do we receive crowns in Heaven? Is that our eternal reward
(This article is part of our series on Eternal Rewards.)
Scripture describes our eternal rewards in terms of an inheritance and responsibility. These rewards are symbolized in Scripture as crowns. Since we do not receive our actual rewards, it seems we are awarded crowns as tokens of our reward for the time we spend in the throne room awaiting Christ's Second Coming to earth to establish His Kingdom.
The Bible says these crowns will be our badges of honor reflecting glory upon Christ, Who worked through us to achieve the good works if our life. We will acknowledge His sovereignty by casting our crowns at His feet while we worship Him in Heaven:
Altogether, the Bible mentions five crowns promised to believers for our obedience to Christ while on Earth:
The crown of victory
This reward will be given to all believers who run the race to win. Who discipline the flesh to make it their slave so they will be able to serve the Lord. Again, note that we can only achieve this by the power of the Holy Spirit, so the reward is ultimately accomplished in God’s power, not ours.
The crown of rejoicing
This reward will go to those who have witnessed to others and who have built up the church (eg. by teaching, service, etc.).
The crown of life
At first glance, it may appear that the “crown of life” refers to eternal life. That cannot be the case, however, as that would contradict many other Scriptures that clearly state that eternal life comes by faith alone in Christ alone, and which is given as a gift and not by works (eg. Ephesians 2:8-9). Instead, this crown is given to those who faithfully persevere trials the Lord will put them through. Once again, we can only persevere such trials and tribulations by God’s power in us (1 Peter 1:5-7).
The crown of righteousness
This verse does not refer to righteousness we achieve by works, as Scripture makes clear that our righteousness is found only in the imputed righteousness of Christ (eg. Romans 5:19). Rather, this reward is given to those who eagerly await the appearing of the Lord. As believers, we should always be expectantly looking for the return of our Lord.
John Calvin put it this way:
The crown of glory
This is a reward for the elders the Lord has placed in authority in His church. It’s an exhortation as well as an incentive for the elders to rule as the Lord has directed.
These crown collectively represent our tangible rewards, which we receive in the Kingdom:
Treasures in heaven. This was mentioned earlier from Matthew 6. The treasures are not described for us, although they definitely would include the crowns previously mentioned.
Ruling with Christ. There will be rewards for our obedience that will include ruling with Christ in some capacity. Several Scriptures mention this (eg. Luke 19:17-19, Revelation 2:26-27). Matthew 25 is representative of these passages:
We are merely Christ’s slaves, meaning we are to do the will of our Master. We can only do His will in the power of the Spirit. In doing so, God promises He will reward our obedience of being faithful now, by giving us even greater responsibilities when we rule with Christ later.
To get up to speed on this important area of Biblical truth, please read the following series of articles:
6. What are the "crowns" given to believers as reward?