Q. Let me say first of all that I love your site – it is amazing and so informative. I was reading 1 Cor 9:24-27 and my question is what is the crown that we are obtaining here? (I know it is not salvation) Also, what is the meaning of the strict training?
A. You’re correct in saying it’s not salvation. The people to whom Paul was writing were/are already saved.
The crown he was speaking of in 1 Cor. 9:24-27 is the crown of victory. The strict training is for the purpose of developing the skills we need to counteract the natural tendencies of the flesh.
Success in most things, whether it’s learning to play a musical instrument or some kind of sport, requires the ability to act intuitively without having to stop and think first. We acquire that ability through training. The more serious we are about achieving success the stricter our training regimen will be.
This is especially true in competitive situations. Athletes compete against each other and there can only be one winner. In going for the victory crown, we’re competing against our own sin nature, so everyone of us can win.
Athletes go into strict training to achieve temporary rewards. We do it to achieve eternal rewards. In the grand scheme of things, who should be more motivated to train, them or us?
In Ephes 4:22 Paul said,
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
And in Romans 12:2 he said,
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”