“Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” – Revelation 2:10c
Scripture reading: Revelation 2:8-11
Though Christ’s letters to the seven churches often include critique and threaten discipline, every single one of them ends with the promise of a reward. Such rewards are never earned; they are given. Jesus is generous with His gifts, and to the church in Smyrna He promises a wonderful reward: “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
In the Greek of Bible times, there were two words for “crown”. Here the word is not the royal emblem a king wears, but a prize an athlete obtains. When we suffer, we are competing in a contest, and when we finish, we are crowned with life. As he was martyred some 50 years later, Polycarp, the pastor of Smyrna prayed, “I thank you for counting me worthy this day and hour of sharing the cup of Christ among the number of your martyrs.”
Perhaps Polycarp was mindful of Christ’s second promise to the believers in Smyrna (v.11): “The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.” If you are faithful to the point of death—the first death, physical death—you will not be hurt by the second death. You avoid the second death through the second birth, being born again through faith in Christ.
Jesus here gives two wonderful promises for those who endure: you will escape hell, which is the second death, and you will enter heaven, which is the victor’s crown.
Suggestions for prayer
Pray that the rewards Jesus promises the faithful would motivate you to persevere in faith, love, and hope.
Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, ON. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.