The key words in his verse are, blessed, endures,
crown of life, and love.Nearly all of
these words have been misunderstood and misapplied, making this entire verse
and passage in James confusing for most folks.
First, understand that there are five crowns mentioned
in the Bible.
Three of the crowns apply to ones self: the crown of victory or incorruption – 1 Cor.
9:25, the crown of life – James 1:12, Rev. 2:10-11, and the crown of
righteousness – 2 Tim. 4:8.And, the
other two crowns apply to others that your life may affect: the crown of rejoicing or soul winner – Phil.
4:1, 1 Thes. 2:19, and the crown of glory – 1 Pet. 5:4.
The first three crowns deal with residence in
fellowship (crown of victory), testing in ones life or trials in ones life
(crown of life), and the attainment of integrity or spiritual maturity (the
crown of righteousness).These three
crowns apply to your own self.
The last two crowns deal with bringing others to
Christ or their salvation through your evangelism (the crown of rejoicing or
soul winner), and your activity with regard to helping others learn doctrine
and to grow up in their spiritual life (the crown of glory).
All five crowns are available to everyone for winning
their possession.Crowns are
representative of phenomenal rewards of the spiritual life, both in time and
especially in eternity.We are warned to
hold fast onto the crowns that we have, lest others may take them away.
Crowns are representations of Gods blessings or
rewards, for ones attainment of these various components of the spiritual life.
The first three deal with your own spiritual life,
ie., living in fellowship as much as possible, living the spiritual life
through thick and thin and not falling away from your spiritual life especially
when times get tough, and finally achieving spiritual maturity and holding on
to it.The second two crowns deal with
your interaction and help for others, whether family, friends, neighbors, or
In our passage, we are dealing with the crown of life
(testing).Testing can come in many
forms.For the wealthy it may deal with
greed verses charity.For the poor it
may deal with the frustration of life and still sticking with your Bible
study.For us all, problems, disasters,
tests of all sorts can come into our lives, and how we deal with them in
frustration, heartache, stress, anxiety, greed, self-righteousness, and on and
on, will tell the true measure of our spiritual strength.
We have already studied the definition of love in 1,
2, 3 Jn. Love is the content of the scriptures. Love is not an emotional feeling, passion, or
desire.Doctrine is love, and when you
have doctrine in your soul, then you have the content or principles, or
mandates, etc., of love within you.
Therefore, those who pursue their spiritual life –
residing in fellowship, studying, learning, applying, and growing up in their
spiritual life, will have the inner resources for dealing with life and all of
When difficulties arise, then they will sail right
through them, looking to God through doctrine, maintaining their
responsibilities in life, to help them survive and thrive spiritually. To them will come the blessings of the crown
of life – survival and sustaining of ones faith while under trials.
Note that these crowns are designated for believers
only, and only spiritually advancing believers can achieve them. Immature or indifferent believers cannot gain
For anyone who has believed in Christ, but does not
advance in their spiritual life, these rewards are not available. Thus the warning we find in Revelation to
seize them and hold them lest someone else take them away from you.
At the Judgment Seat for Christ, we will all stand
before Him for our individual evaluation.
Those who have been faithful in advancing in their spiritual life, will
possess these crowns, and will receive eternal rewards because of them.
Those who have not advanced in their spiritual life,
will not possess the crowns and will lose their eternal rewards (not salvation
though).Those who have possession of
their crowns will receive the undistributed share of rewards, which are lost by
those who lost their rewards (see the Parables of Christ).
So, lest your share be distributed to other mature
believers, you should want to pursue your crowns and hold on to them. Thus the warning here in our verse. He who perseveres in his spiritual life,
though the world hammers you, will receive credit for your crown. But, he who gets upset, blames God, quits his
Bible study, gets angry, refuses to believe doctrine, rejects doctrine, doubts (as
we have already studied in this chapter), will lose rewards as well as whatever
rewards he has achieved in life.
The big danger in life is advancing in ones spiritual
life, and then simply falling away from ones spiritual life because of
frustration, anxiety, greed, hardship, etc.
The reality of life is that the world is a reflection
of Satanic policies.Life is not going
to be easy.Don’t expect it to be. You are going to be hammered from so many
directions, opinions, philosophies, disasters, that it will make your head
swim.And that is why sticking with your
Bible study is so important, so that you do not get blindsided and headed down
the wrong path without your realizing it.
Bible doctrine gives you discernment, and crowns give
you a gage (maturity awareness) to monitor your spiritual advancement and in