by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Study # 22 February 4, 1998 Harlingen, Texas
Thesis:Why is 'approval' required for the acquisition of the crown of life?
Introduction:Last week we spent most of our time dealing with the question: What, specifically, is the Crown of Life? We concluded that it is a condition in eternity in which relational harmony with Christ has been maximized in joy. The crown of life is a reward of special intimacy with Christ that not everyone in heaven is going to have. In effect, the crown of life is the priviledge of being in an inner circle of those who fellowship more deeply with Christ than the norm. Life is knowing Christ. The Crown of Life is the epitomy of knowing Him. Now, this evening, we want to ask one more question of James 1:12: why is 'being approved' a requirement for the acquisition of this special priviledge?
I. The Clarity of The Text.
A. There are multiple prerequisites to the acquisition of this Crown of Life.
1. There is no point to descriptive qualifiers that are not real qualifiers.
2. The qualifiers include...
a. Love for the Lord...the promise is for all who genuinely love Him.
b. Being subjected to temptation/trial...the promise is made to those who face trial.
c. Successful endurance of the trial...the promise is not to those who cave in.
d. Achieving 'approval'...the promise is not to those who occasionally succeed; it is to those who succeed the majority of the time.
B. The multiple prerequisites indicate that there is a finite, but very great, variation in the actual condition of the eternal experience of those who inherit eternal life.
II. The Implications of the Text.
A. That there IS a 'salvation apart from love for God'.
1. The issues are complex.
a. 1 Corinthians 16:22
b. Agape as a system of values where God is a competitor with multiple competitors.
c. Agape as a single-issue issue: where is God on the scale when YOU are the only other thing on the scale.
B. There is a salvation apart from facing trial or temptation: deathbed; thief on the cross; etc.
1. This is the basic root: justification based upon the work of Christ alone.
2. There is no opportunity for any sanctificational development based upon the work of the Spirit.
C. There is a salvation that includes failure to endure: this is, again, justification unto the bare package.
D. There is a salvation that includes successful conflict with the forces of death.
1. This kind of salvation includes...
a. Sufficient education to give insight.
b. Sufficient volitional response to permit the Spirit to fill and empower.
c. Sufficient love to submit personal interests to God's.
d. Sufficient willingness to endure for the long haul so that the heart is retrained and the mind is refocused.