“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.” That verse is from the King James. Listen to it in the Message Bible: “All that's left now is the shouting — God's applause! Depend on it, he's an honest judge. He'll do right not only by me, but by everyone eager for his coming.”
Do you know I went for about 50 years, literally, before I realized the total implications of that verse! I mean that literally.
“There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness.” It didn’t dawn on me until some time back that that is exactly what it means. All these years it sounded to me like a spin or just rhetoric. But I know better. God’s Word isn’t just poetry! It has real meaning.
That crown of righteousness is a crown on the righteousness of Christ that has flowed through us believers through the years.
Let me explain. We know from God’s Word that every bit of OUR righteousness, yours and mine, even as a believer, is nothing but filthy rags, according to the Bible. Our joy, our love, our integrity, our faithfulness is nothing but filthy rags in God’s sight, because of our flesh, our sinful nature, our total inadequacy for living a Godly life.
But, watch this! When we make Jesus Christ the Lord of our life. HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS begins to flow through our lives, BY HIS SPIRIT! Then, because of His Spirit in us, we MANIFEST the righteousness of Christ! That’s what the Bible means when it says that we are to abide in Him and He abides in us.
Why I didn’t see that clearly before these later days of my life, I really can’t tell you; however, I believe there’re many Christians who have not grasped this profound truth from God’s Word.
All of us from time to time may have heard our pastor or some television minister tell us that we can’t be saved through OUR righteousness, but we’re saved by the righteousness of Jesus Christ. But what happens is so many times the average believer simply understands that to mean that God is watching us through “rose colored” glasses so that He “substitutes”, in His thinking, the righteousness of His Son for our righteousness.
There is no “substitute” at all, There is an actuality of the righteousness of Christ BLENDING with our total personality so that we in reality become THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST, just like the Scriptures say.
This is a powerful truth that helps us reaffirm that every single believer that wants to be ready to make heaven his home, must, absolutely, receive Christ as a PERSONAL Lord and Savior. We are IN HIM and He IN US!
The bottom line is, don’t depend on church membership, or trying to be good or any other religious thing to make certain of your eternal life. Be sure you depend on Jesus alone, and nothing else, for your soul’s salvation!
There’s a crown of righteousness, meaning, as a reward for His righteousness, awaiting every one of us who believe.
Click to write to Pastor Strader, E-Mail Pastor.