Sunday, 11 October 2020
Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. Revelation 3:11
Jesus, as He has previously stated, poignantly remarks, “Behold, I am coming quickly.” As before, the word translated as “quickly” signifies “without delay.” That can mean “soon,” or it can mean “suddenly.” The Lord will come at the appropriate time, and when He comes, it will be sudden. Those who are not prepared for it will suffer the loss of what the visit anticipates. With that in mind, He next says, “Hold fast what you have.”
This is referring to what was just said in verses 8 and 10. They have kept His word, they have not denied His name, and they have kept His command to persevere. They are to hold fast to such things and remain steadfast as a church. The reason for this is so “that no one may take your crown.”
In verse 2:10, Jesus said, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Whether the reference in this verse is to the crown of life (see also James 1:12) or not remains unstated. Elsewhere, Paul speaks of a crown of righteousness, a crown of rejoicing, and an imperishable crown. Peter speaks of a crown of glory that does not fade away. Because the crown’s purpose here is undefined, it can be assumed that Jesus is speaking in a general way about an honor that is conveyed, and yet one which may be lost.
How this would be lost is probably defined in Colossians 2:18, 19 –
“Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.”
In other words, this is not saying that the crown would transfer from one person to another. Rather, it means that the crown is stolen away from the one to whom it was anticipated would receive it. It is not a crown that is already possessed, but rather a crown which could be possessed if the person remained faithful.
As Jesus’ words in this verse are in the second person singular, He is talking to the church as a whole. Thus, this is not speaking of individual loss of salvation. Rather, it is referring to a loss of what could be obtained by any given member of the church. This is certain based on the note of those who overcome presented in the next verse.
Life application: The church in Philadelphia had “a little strength,” but they still held fast to the truth of the gospel and the message of Jesus Christ. In this verse, Jesus says, “I am coming quickly.” We as Christians are not to miss this fact.
A haphazard attitude toward our faith will only result in sadness. When the Lord returns for the church, it will be in the “twinkling of an eye.” Whether you believe this or not, or whether you accept the premise of the rapture or not, it is what the Bible teaches. We all have our warning and none of us can say we just didn’t know, or we needed a little bit more time.
The areas of the Bible we struggle with are no excuse for being lax in what we do understand. Therefore, Jesus asks us to “hold fast” to what we have. The areas that we are performing well in are areas we need to shore up for the long haul because we don’t know the day of the Lord’s return. If we do hold fast, we can be sure that no one will take our anticipated crown.
Whatever is promised to all can be obtained by each. When it is obtained, it belongs to that person forever. However, for those who fail to receive it, that anticipated crown will be taken from him.
Lord Jesus, of all the things we look forward to in our walk, nothing is more precious than knowing that You came to restore us to life and that You are coming again to grant that life. We love the thought of Your appearing and it is the joy that carries us through this world of trials and grief. We simply can’t wait to be in Your presence! Amen.