Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness,.... The happiness of the future state of the saints is signified by a crown, on account of the glory and excellency of it; and in perfect agreement with the character of the saints, as kings; and who are raised to sit among princes, and to inherit the throne of glory, and have a kingdom prepared for them; and this is called a crown "of righteousness", because it comes through the righteousness of Christ; it is that which gives a right unto it, and without which it cannot be enjoyed; and because it is obtained and possessed in a righteous way, and not by force and usurpation, as crowns sometimes are: it is God the Father's free gift unto his children, what they are born heirs unto, and have a meetness for, through regenerating and sanctifying grace, and have a legal title to it through the righteousness of Christ. Moreover, this may be expressive of the perfect holiness and righteousness of the heavenly state, and of the saints in it, wherein will dwell none but righteous persons, and who will be entirely without sin. And this happiness, signified by a crown, is "laid up"; in the covenant of grace for the saints, which is ordered in all things and sure; and in Christ, in whose hands their persons are, and their grace is, and with him also is their life of glory hid and secured: and this also is laid up in heaven, and reserved there, and that
for me, and thee; for particular persons, for all the vessels of mercy, for all that are chosen in Christ Jesus, and redeemed by his blood, and sanctified by his Spirit;
which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day. By the Lord is meant the Lord Jesus Christ; as is evident from his character, as a Judge, for the Father judgeth no man; and from mention being made hereafter of his appearing: Christ is ordained Judge of quick and dead, for which he is abundantly qualified, and a "righteous" one he will be; he is righteous as God, and as man, and as Mediator, in the discharge of all his offices, and so he will be as a Judge, in the administration of that office; righteousness will be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins; and from Christ, under this character, the apostle expected to receive all his future glory and happiness; and that both in a way of gift, as a free grace gift from him, and through him, and in a way of righteousness; and this seems to be a Jewish way of speaking. One of the Septuagint interpreters, whom Ptolomy king of Egypt sent for from Judea, to translate the law of Moses into Greek, in answer to a question put to him by the king, uses this phrase of στεφανος δικαιοσυνης, "a crown of righteousness"; and which he represents as the gift of GodF26Aristeae Hist. 72. Interpr. p. 91, Ed. Oxon. :
at that day; either at the day of death, the time of his dissolution, which was at hand; or at the day of the resurrection, and of the last judgment, when Christ will appear under the above character: and the apostle further observes, to the comfort and encouragement of Timothy, and others, that this happiness was not intended and prepared for himself only, but for others:
and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing; that is, his appearing at his second coming; which is to be loved, and so looked for by the saints, not only because it will be glorious in itself, in its attendants and consequences, but will be of great advantage to the saints; Christ will appear unto salvation to them, and so to their joy; they will appear with him in glory, and be like him, and enjoy the everlasting vision of him. The devils believe this appearance of Christ, but tremble at it; wicked men will behold him, and fear; saints know, believe, and love both Christ and his appearing; and such will wear that crown: the Ethiopic version renders it, "who love him at his coming"; all that love him now, will love him then.