The Crowns of Inheritance

Works are and always have been based on God’s Will. When a man does a good work, it is based on how he/she feels God led them to do. This is the operation of a spiritually mature Christian, according to Hebrews 13:21. But… in the same verse, the glory is given unto Jesus Christ. This is important, because it shows our good works are not for nothing. However, God does remember these things (Hebrews 6:10). Good works are good and profitable unto men (Titus 3:8). Jesus commanded good works to glorify God (Matthew 5:16). However, as Ephesians 2:8-10 tells us, we are saved by grace through faith, not from ourselves, but a gift given by God that has nothing to do with works to avoid men from boasting about their own works, such as “works helped me be saved” or “works gave me eternal life.” We are His Workmanship, meaning that our good works stems directly from Jesus Christ, because God foreordained us to walk in these good works. Yes, all believers have been foreordained to be ministers. Faith is expressed by our works, because works are faith in action (James 2:14-20; Hebrews 11).

Paul tells us that we are able to obtain an award/prize, an incorruptible crown. What is the key to this? Not works, according to 1 Corinthians 9:24-25, but temperance (self-control). Peter affirms this is true that an imperishable crown is available (1 Peter 1:4). We will also be able to have a crown of rejoicing that is tied to hope and joy, and will be given shortly before the arrival of Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 2:19). Some have equated that this would be the case of wiping away every tear, with no more death and sorrow and pain (Revelation 21:4), but this is a stretch. Although this is true that we will eventually have this, it is not related to the crown of rejoicing.

Next, is the crown of righteousness, which is given to those who loved His appearing, because they endured such a hard race and fought the good fight keeping the faith (2 Timothy 4:5). Then the crown of glory, which is given by the Chief Shepherd Jesus Christ to those who feed the flock willingly without constraint, and being an ensample/example unto the flock (1 Peter 5:2-4).

Lastly is the crown of life, which is tied in with not worrying about suffering, but being faithful unto God until death – which will allow the crown of life to be given to us. He promised us eternal life, and we shall have it (Revelation 2:10; John 2:25). The crown of life is for those who endure temptation, and loving the Lord (James 1:12). So then, what are works, if Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith? These are things that emerge from the Lord unto our heart that He desires us to do. When we do them, we glorify Him (Repeat from above information).

Believers are expected to abound in good works because of their Salvation, but works do not lead to Salvation and Salvation does not lead to works. Works reveal faith to be real, while dead works or no works denote faith as useless. (Romans 3:27; 4:2-6; Galatians 2:16; 3:2-10; 5:6; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:17; Hebrews 9:14; 10:24). Judgment is according to works, with evidence of new life (Matthew 16:27; Romans 2:6; 1 Peter 1:17). Faith and good works are never contrasted in the Bible enough, but justification is based on Salvation, not referencing works (repeat of above reference).

Since we know we will be receiving an inheritance, we should work for the Lord and serve Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:23-24). We are rendered inheritance rewards according to Salvation, which include eternal life (The crown of life can be presumed), glory and honor and peace to those who do good (the crown of glory can be presumed) (Romans 2:6-10). Where will this judgment be for believers? It will be at the judgment seat of Christ that we will be judged based on every good or evil work (2 Corinthians 5:10). Good works are separate from works of the Law, because no human is justified by works of the Law for Salvation reasons, because the Law comes knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20).

We can conclude that works evidence faith; therefore, a fellow Christian can determine that someone may or may not be of faith based on their works. However, since Salvation is not based on works, it is impossible to tell whether someone is saved or unsaved just by their works. This is why required baptism for Salvation fails to function, because it is requiring works to be completed for Salvation to be given.

Back on subject, the crown of righteousness is presumed to be part of the rewards that are bestowed upon us by the Holy Ghost, because we learn that righteousness, peace, and joy are part of the Kingdom of God. Since we are granted access to the Kingdom of God through Salvation, we receive these benefits (Romans 14:17). Joy, hope, and peace overflow in us as we believe in God (Romans 15:13). This also means we are not judged by what we eat or drink or by festivals we celebrate (Colossians 2:16), but we appear to be judged by being given certain portions of the Kingdom of God that we may safely assume without heresy are an inheritance – this is found deeply interwoven with the Fruit of the Spirit. But why no crown of love? Is love the incorruptible crown? The Scripture does not say (Galatians 5:22). But what we do know is that God is Love and since He gave His Spirit to be with us, His Love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost (Romans 5:1-5).

Where then does the incorruptible crown come in? It is the overall crown, we may assume, as we see in 1 Peter 1:4 that the inheritance we receive from God (any inheritance) is incorruptible. We become incorruptible in Salvation, and will resurrect in our new bodies as incorruptible (1 Corinthians 15:52-54). Therefore, we put on, literally immortality (2 Timothy 1:10), because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ – not because of works!

Do your good works grant you an inheritance? No. Does your Salvation grant you an inheritance? Yes. What is that inheritance? The Holy Ghost is given unto us as a mark, which allows us to put on immortality, and thereby receive each crown: glory, life, rejoicing, righteousness. God already planned for us to receive all of what He has for us. We are given grace by the measure of the gift of Christ, because we must reflect on the power of Oneness with God: One body, one Spirit, one hope of your calling, One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all – and God is above all, through all, and in all of His Believers (Ephesians 4:4-5).

Jesus’ Baptism of Immersion where sin turns to Righteousness

The site of Bethany near the Jordan River – believed site for Jesus’ Baptism

In a nutshell: John the Baptist appears to Jesus, preaches, and then baptizes Jesus. What is baptism? Immersion of somebody into water, which turns sin to righteousness – an outward symbol of an inward act. Although it is not required for Salvation, it is a step of obedience for those believing in Christ to help wash them inwardly of sin (symbolically – meaning it helps to cleanse the conscience so we are not as worried about sin).

John was a baby during the time Herod demanded that all male babies be killed (see earlier episodes of this series); therefore, John was saved as well as we see. John was six months older than Jesus Christ.

John the Baptist had a gift that was similar to the Old Testament prophets, and keep in mind that John the Baptist is the fulfillment of the prophecy that the spirit of Elijah will reincarnate – therefore, John is that reincarnation.

John preached repentance, because the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand! Water baptism was part of this, as it was (keyword: was) required by the Law of Moses to be baptized for the elimination of sin. John did say that He (Jesus) was coming one day to eliminate the need for Water Baptism, because He would bring a new kind of Baptism (the Baptism involving the Holy Ghost – Hallelujah). When Jesus approached John at first, John refused to baptize Jesus, as he didn’t feel worthy.

About repentance: Repentance allows someone to make a change in their life, from something bad to good (sin to righteousness), which allows renewing of the heart. For example, if something is bad, you believe, then you can turn your life around for good – which is an act of repentance.

Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist for several reasons identified in Scripture: 1. To identify completely with mankind; 2. Water Baptism is symbolic of Jesus’ death in the future that also involved resurrection; 3. To be set aside for the office of Priest.

Now time for us to explore the Scriptures related to this beautiful event…

Matthew 3: “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Now, before rolling back into prophecy… Let us first read in John 1:19-28, “And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose. These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.”

What a fulfillment of prophecy, the Lord Jesus Christ… Let us read our first fulfillment in Matthew 17:12-13, “But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.”

Now, we go over to Colossians 2:11-12, “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.”Do we understand the depth of Jesus’ Baptism now? If not, please ask questions in this post, and I would love to discuss it with you.