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Receiving The Crown

Being Approved By God

Linked Bible studies and articles:

The Gospel, The Word Of Truth

A dream about finishing the race (article)

The Testimony (article)

Like any race in the world, we will not receive the crown (wreath) of life, eternal life, until the end of the race. The genuineness of our faith must be proven first through trials and testings. These are also used by the Holy Spirit to strengthen our hearts in the areas of our weakness. He doesn’t expose them to condemn us, but rather to help us "lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us so that we may run with endurance the race that is set before us." (Hebrews 12:1)

The “once saved, always saved” doctrine of demons says that you receive the crown automatically once you have started the race of salvation in Christ. The Bible clearly teaches otherwise. We are taught, instead, through many passages in the Bible to remain standing firm, in Christ, through obedience to the will of God in order to be established and proven. Afterwards, when we have been approved at the end of the race of salvation in Christ, we will receive the prize of eternal life, the “crown of life” that James refers to.

James 1:12 James tells us that receiving the crown is based upon being approved which occurs when we persevere in Christ when under trial. This is why the truth is so important regarding finishing the race we have entered in Christ. It will exhort us to encourage one another, like runners sometimes do with each other when they are struggling to finish the end of a race, especially as we see the day of the Lord approaching. David declares in Psalm 21:1-4, “O Lord, the king rejoices in your strength. How great is his joy in the victories you give! You have granted him the desire of his heart and have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah. You welcomed him with rich blessings and placed a crown of pure gold on his head. He asked you for life, and you gave it to him — length of days, for ever and ever.” (NIV)

12 Blessed is a man who perseveres [5278] under trial; for once he has been approved [1384], he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.


NT:5278 hupomeno (hoop-om-en'-o)

(Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

from NT:5259 and NT:3306; to stay under (behind), i.e. remain; figuratively, to undergo, i.e. bear (trials), have fortitude, persevere:

KJV - abide, endure, (take) patient (-ly), suffer, tarry behind.

(Thayer’s Greek Lexicon)

1. to remain i. e. tarry behind (Acts 17:14)

2. to remain i. e. abide,

a. to persevere: absolutely and emphatically, under misfortunes and trials to hold fast to one's faith in

Christ (Matt. 10:22)

b. to endure, bear bravely and calmly: absolutely, ill-treatment (1 Peter 2:20)

NT:1384 dokimos (dok'-ee-mos)

(Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

from NT:1380; properly, acceptable (current after assayal), i.e. approved:

KJV - approved, tried.

(Thayer’s Greek Lexicon)

1. properly, accepted, particularly of coins and metals (Gen. 23:16)

2. accepted, equivalent to acceptable, pleasing (Romans 14:18)

1 Thessalonians 2:1-4 Paul says that God approves a person first before entrusting them with the gospel, the word of truth and the message of salvation (see The Light Of The Gospel, The Word Of Truth in the Bible studies The Promise, and The Gospel Word Of Truth). This occurs through various trials and temptations that we must endure.

1 For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain,

2 but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition.

3 For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit;

4 but just as we have been approved [1381] by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts.


NT:1381 dokimazo (dok-im-ad'-zo)

(Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

from NT:1384 [see definition below]; to test (literally or figuratively); by implication, to approve:

KJV - allow, discern, examine, like, (ap-) prove, try.

(Thayer’s Greek Lexicon)

to try

1. to test, examine, prove, scrutinize (1 Peter 1:7- see below)

2. to recognize as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy (1 Cor. 16:3)

1 Peter 1:6-7 Peter says that trials prove the genuineness of our faith.

6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,

7 so that the proof [1383] of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;


NT:1383 dokimion (dok-im'-ee-on)

(Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

neuter of a presumed derivative of NT:1382; a testing; by implication, trustworthiness:

KJV - trial, trying.

(Thayer’s Greek Lexicon)

1. equivalent to to dokimazein, the proving (James 1:3)

2. that by which something is tried or proved, a test

3. equivalent to dokimee

2 Timothy 2:15 To be approved unto God, or, to be pleasing in His sight (see def. for 1384 above), we must “accurately” handle the gospel, the word of truth.

15 Be diligent [KJV- “Study”] to present yourself approved [1384- see def. in James 1:12 above] to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


Hebrews 11:39-40 The next two passages from Hebrews tells of those who gained God’s approval by doing what He said, proving the genuineness of their faith and love. To gain His approval is to be a true witness who testifies before men the truth of the gospel in word and deed.

39 And all these, having gained approval [3140] through their faith, did not receive what was promised,

40 because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.


NT:3140 martureo (mar-too-reh'-o)

(Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

from NT:3144; to be witness, i.e. testify (literally or figuratively):

KJV - charge, give [evidence], bear record, have (obtain, of) good (honest) report, be well reported of, testify, give (have) testimony, (be, bear, give, obtain) witness.

(Thayer’s Greek Lexicon)

to be a witness, to bear witness, testify,

a. in general; absolutely, to give (not to keep back) testimony (John 15:27)

b. emphatically; to utter honorable testimony, give a good report: with a dative of the person (Luke 4:22)

c. the middle voice, according to a false reading, to conjure, implore (1 Thess. 2:12)

Hebrews 11:1-4 In these verses in the chapter of great faith among God’s people, the writer of Hebrews speaks of Abel’s faith, proved by his acceptable sacrifice unto God (he was a “doer” of God’s word), gained God’s approval (along with many others) and testimony that he was righteous.

1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

2 For by it the men of old gained approval [3140].

3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.

4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous [see the article The Testimony], God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.


The Reason Why We Must Persevere Under Trial (James 1:12)

Hebrews 10:36 Patient endurance, patiently continuing in doing the will of God, is the only way to receive the promise of the crown of eternal life.

36 For you have need of endurance [5281], so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.


NT:5281 hupomone (hoop-om-on-ay')

(Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

from NT:5278; cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy:

KJV - enduring, patience, patient continuance (waiting).

(Thayer’s Greek Lexicon)

1. steadfastness, constancy, endurance (James 5:11)

2. a patient, steadfast waiting for;

3. a patient enduring, sustaining (2 Cor. 1:6)

James 1:2-4 The perfecting of the saints will occur among those who persevere in their faith, standing firm through trials, not falling away in unbelief. This is how we finish the race set before us.

2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,

3 knowing that the testing [1383- see def. above] of your faith produces [“to finish”] endurance.

4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.


Luke 21:19 It is through standing firm, remaining “in Christ” as the Bible says, that we are saved.

19 "By your endurance [5281- see def. above in Hebrews 10:36] you will gain your lives.


Luke 21:19

19 By standing firm you will gain life.


The Way To Gain Perseverance

Romans 5:3-5 It’s tribulation that God uses to produce perseverance in us. There’s no shortcut.

3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations [“pressure”], knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;

4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;

5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.


Running To Receive The Eternal Prize

1 Corinthians 9:24-27In his letter to the church in Corinth, Paul explains how to gain the eternal prize of salvation in Christ. It is through strict training, self-control, bringing our bodies into submission to the will of God (Hebrews 10:36 above) so that while in this race for the crown of eternal life we are disqualified. I also see the “one” who gets the prize as the “one” united Body of Christ.

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. [See the article A dream about finishing the race.]

25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.

27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.


Hebrews 12:1-3 After describing those in the great hall of faith, the writer of Hebrews then encourages us throw of all hindrances and the sin which easily entangles us, and to run with perseverance the race marked out for us. It’s marked so that we do not go outside God’s boundaries and get disqualified.

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out [4295] for us.

2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.


NT:4295 prokeimai (prok'-i-mahee)

(Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

from NT:4253 and NT:2749; to lie before the view, i.e. (figuratively) to be present (to the mind), to stand forth (as an example or reward):

KJV - be first, set before (forth).

(Thayer’s Greek Lexicon)

1. properly, to lie or be placed before

2. to be set before,

a. to be placed before the eyes, to lie in sight; to stand forth (Jude 7)

b. equivalent to be appointed, destined:

c. to be there, be present, be at hand (2 Cor. 8:12)

Philippians 3:12-16 Paul teaches us to keep reaching forward to lay hold of that which we were laid hold of, pressing on toward the goal for the prize. Obviously, he didn’t talk or act as if he had already obtained it when he first believed. Neither than should we.

12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.

13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,

14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;

16 however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.


Colossians 2:16-19 Paul speaks again in this letter about being disqualified (defraud or cheat in other versions) from the prize.

16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.

17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions.

19 He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.


2 Timothy 2:3-5 Once again Paul teaches in regards to how to win the prize which is according to the rules. The rules are learned by the Holy Spirit as you continue running the race of salvation.

3 Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

4 No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.

5 Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.


Acts 20:24 In Paul’s word to the elders of the church in Ephesus he states his goal of finishing the race and completing the task the Lord Jesus gave him (see John 17:4). What task what that? I believe it is the same task for all those who followers of Jesus Christ; the task of testifying through word and deed to the gospel of God’s grace in truth (Col. 1:6; see the Bible study The Gospel Word Of Truth).

24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.


To Love God (James 1:12) Is To Obey His Commandments

1 John 2:3-6

3 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.

4 The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;

5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:

6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.


1 John 5:2-3

2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments.

3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.


John 14:21-24

21 "He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him."

22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, "Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?"

23 Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.

24 "He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me.


John 15:10

10 "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.


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