There are many who ascribe to their being five crowns given to Christians by Christ because of the mere word “crown” is used and given attribution in a dubious context. There are actually three crowns given in Heaven by Christ for deeds of ones character on Earth.
There are many who subscribe to an imperishable or incorruptible crown because of its mention in Corinthians, or a crown of rejoicing as depicted in Thessalonians, the ONLY place a rejoicing crown is mentioned in scripture.
Philippians 4:1 is also used for this attribution. But these crowns are given out of context erroneously.
“Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.” Philippians 4:1
“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-25
The mention of this incorruptible crown refers to the conditions the crowns are in Heaven, incorruptible, which is NOT to say there is such a thing as an incorruptible or imperishable crown in and of itself, it is to say the crowns given in Heaven will not corrupt or blemish.
“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?” 1 Thessalonians 2:19
The rejoicing crown is also not a physical crown, it is an expression by Paul in the context of exhorting the brethren. Paul was talking about the difficulties they faced in the service and ministry of the Lord and that the salvation of these brothers who received the word of the Lord are the glory and crowns to rejoice in. The context is important…. 1 Thessalonians 2:10–20
The actual crowns that exist are as follows.
Crown of Glory:
“And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of Glory that fadeth not away” 1 Peter 5:4
This is associated with your glorified body in Heaven.
Crown of Life/Salvation
The Crown of Life is referred to in James 1:12 & Revelation 2:10, Jesus references this crown when he speaks to the Church in Smyrna.
“Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Revelation 2:10
The crown of life is salvation, for without salvation there is no life. They are one in the same. It is associated with those who persevere through challenges and persecutions. The reason for this association is because many break under the pressure and do not overcome. Jesus made this point repeatedly and each time with more and more clarity.
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:13-14
“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” Revelation 2:7
“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.” Revelation 2:11
“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” Revelation 2:17
“And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:” Revelation 2:26
“He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” Revelation 3:5
“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.” Revelation 3:12
“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation, for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him” James 1:12
These passages connect directly to what it is to overcome, it includes an examination of your work in the process. To be “tried” refers to the judgment seat of Christ. Jesus will test every aspect of your heart and works (2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Corinthians. 3:13-15; Hebrews 4:12).
Crown of Righteousness:
The Crown of Righteousness is to those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior which places them in right standing with God, which is what righteousness means.
“There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day, and not to me only, but unto them also that love His appearing” 2 Timothy 4:8
God does reward us, both in this life and in the life to come. There are different types of rewards in addition to these, rewards are based on our labor in the faith in this life, which is completely separate and apart from salvation.