Last week we spoke of the "Crown of Victory’. The gospel message is the "key" to man’s salvation. When Jesus told Peter He would give to him the "keys" to the kingdom of heaven. On the day of Pentecost, Peter used the keys; he preached the gospel of Christ.
All who desire to wear the "Crown of Righteousness", 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 Tim. 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 did the children of Israel. We are to present ourselves as sacrifices. We give ourselves 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" (Rom. 12:1, 2).
The "Crown of Righteousness" 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). Let us all strive as did Paul to obtain the "Crown of Righteousness" by obeying God’s will.
Paul wrote in 2 Tim. 4:8, "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."
When Peter spoke about this crown he called it a crown of glory. "And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away" (1 Peter 5:4).