I’m so blessed to be in London, England, now. One of my highlights was touring the Tower of London and seeing the crown jewels. The official crowns are heavily guarded under lock and key. We “common” viewers had to stand on a moving sidewalk to peer at them through their protective glass cases. Only one monarch of England can wear them. Throughout history, wars have been waged, people have been maimed and framed, and blood spilled, all for the ambition of the crown. Of course, the jewels are priceless, but people risked everything for the power and authority that the crown signifies. It stands for the authority to rule the country, the power of resources at your disposal. None of us, by virtue of our birth or bloodline, can have this crown, but there is a better crown for us.
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.2 Timothy 4:6-8
Crown of Righteousness
Paul looks forward to receiving his crown of righteousness in heaven. None of us are righteous at all, but we’ve been grafted into a royal bloodline through the sacrifice of Jesus. The apostle clarifies that the crown of righteousness isn’t just for him. He says it’s laid up for all of us who “Loved his appearing.” What does that mean to love His appearing? How does that give us a crown of righteousness? We are grafted into the royal line through receiving the blood sacrifice of Jesus. The King died for us to inherit a crown of righteousness. It’s more than silver, gold, diamonds, rubies, or any precious stone. Kings and Queens can’t even attain this crown by their privileged birth. They have to come to God like we do to receive this crown.
and may be found in Him [believing and relying on Him], not having any righteousness of my own derived from [my obedience to] the Law and its rituals, but [possessing] that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.Philipians 3:9
Love His Appearance
How do we love his appearance? It’s a simple concept, but we must purposefully do it. In Greek, the word “ἀγαπάω* means “love, to take pleasure in, long for; denotes the love of reason, esteem.” Appearance in Greek is piphaneia: appearance,* also used for appearing, manifestation, and glorious display. God wants us to experience the joy of coming into his presence and getting to know him. The more we seek him and his glory, the more we fall in love with him. When he shows up for us in our lives, we can’t help but love his “appearance.” To do this, we must make time and space for God to show up in our lives. When we humble ourselves enough to receive his mighty love and acceptance, we begin to love his appearance, but it brings all we need. It’s impossible not to love him when you get to know him.
None of us are second in line for an earthly crown. Those in line for the earthly throne need to work to defend their position, but when they die, the crown will go to their successor. Only because the King of Kings stepped from his throne, and died for us that we can be grafted into bloodline of God’s family with all of it’s privledges of his eternal royal status. The Crown of Righteousness is available to us all, and there’s nothing we can do to earn it. His love for us is mighty, his grace so reachable, and he is waiting with open, loving arms to welcome us into a heavenly family. He became a commoner so that we may become eternally royal.