Last week, we began studying about the crown God offers to all and how to achieve the goal of receiving the crown.
Continuing those thoughts, all who desire to wear the “crown” must strive to obey God by following his will. “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully” (2 Timothy 2:5). The Bible is God’s word, and in it we find the instructions on how to be pleasing to God.
We learn today we are living in the “last days” or the Christian age. To be pleasing to God, we do not have to offer the blood sacrifices as the children of Israel did. The Hebrew writer explained: “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices, which they offered year by year continually, make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? Because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices, there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Hebrews 10:1-4).
The offering of animal sacrifices was under the Patriarchal and Mosaic Law. Under the Law of Christ, Jesus was the only sacrifice needed for man to have redemption from sin. Christians are to present themselves as living sacrifices. One gives themselves to God first in obeying the Gospel, by having faith that Jesus is the Son of God, turning from our sins, confessing Jesus as God’s Son before men and being baptized for the remission of our sins. Secondly, we must continue to give ourselves. Paul wrote, “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice — holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).
The “crown” is obtainable, but it takes effort. Some will say it only takes believing in God to attain the crown. This is a misdirected hope of many. God’s word teaches that it takes more than just believing in God. “Nevertheless, among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees, they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue, for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:42).
James also wrote, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble” (James 2:19). James went on to show that to be pleasing to God it takes both faith and works. “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26).
The crown that Paul and Peter talked about is a crown that anyone who desires it enough to follow God may obtain.
Editor’s note: This is part two of a two-part series