The apostle Paul was a great worker for the Lord. From the time of his conversion he began to grow as a Christian.
Paul, or Saul at the time, was told how to become a Christian by Ananias (Act 9, 22).
Paul suffered many things for Christ and was able to write 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.”
Paul was not the only apostle to write about this crown. Peter also talked about the 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). This crown is one to be sought after.
The “crown of righteousness” will be worn by all those who serve loyally the king of kings. Any person who will obey the gospel and live righteously will be able to receive this crown. Jesus died to make this possible (Heb. 2:9).
John tells us that Jesus made propitiation for everyone. This means that Christ has made the atonement for all men (1 John 2:2). He is the ultimate sacrifice for all mankind.
The gospel is to be preached to the entire world (Mark 16:15, 16). It does not matter who the individual may be, be they king or beggar, rich or poor, educated, or illiterate, the message of the gospel is for all.
When Paul wrote to the brethren at Rome, he stated that the gospel is the “power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16). The gospel message is the “key” to man’s salvation.
Jesus, speaking to Peter near the coast of Caesarea Philippi, 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 (Acts 2).
They stopped his sermon and asked what they needed to do. Peter’s response was, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:38, 39).
All who desire to wear the “crown of righteousness” must strive to obey God, by following his will. “And if a man also strives for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully” (2 Tim. 2:5).
The Bible is God’s word, and in it one finds the instructions on how to be pleasing to God. To be pleasing to God, one does not have to offer the blood sacrifices as did the children of Israel.
In the Christian dispensation one is to present their selves as sacrifices. One gives themselves to God. 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 all strive as did Paul to obtain the “crown of righteousness.”