Q. I was wondering about the crowns that we can earn. Why do we want to get them? How can we get them? When will we give them to God? Will everyone have them or will some have none?
A. After we’re saved, we have the opportunity to win rewards, or crowns, which will be presented to us immediately after the Rapture. (1 Cor. 4:5) Jesus Himself will make the presentation in what will be the biggest awards ceremony ever in the history of mankind.
This awards ceremony is sometimes called the Bema Seat, after the Greek word for judgment. But it’s not the kind of judgment that normally comes to mind. In the ancient Olympics, judges awarded ivy crowns (called stephanos) to the winners of the various events at the “Bema Seat”, or judgment seat, just like they award medals to event winners in our time.
The New Testament lists five categories in which crowns will be awarded to qualified believers.
These crowns are identified as the Everlasting Crown (Victory) in 1 Cor 9:25, the Crown of the Soul Winner in Phil 4:1 and 1 Thes 2:19, the Crown of Righteousness in 2 Tim 4:8, the Crown of Life in James 1:12 and Rev 2:10, and the Crown of Glory in 1 Peter 5:4. You can read more on how we get them and why by reading “How To Win Your Crowns”.
According to Rev. 4:10-11 we will lay our crowns before the throne. Since the Rapture takes place in Rev. 4 and the Bema Seat judgment follows immediately, we apparently do this right after receiving them. 1 Cor 3:10-15 implies that not everyone will receive crowns since it’s not just what we do but our motives for doing it that will be judged. The only acceptable motive is pure gratitude for what we’ve been given, and according to John 15:5 our effort will have to be prompted by the Lord and done in His strength. I imagine this is what will cause us to lay our newly received crowns at the Lord’s feet.