GOD REWARDS-NOT TEMPTS
The word temptation may stand for trial and testing, without implying that there is any necessary impulse toward evil; or it may stand for the direct impulse of the evil one. Here, however, it is used in this latter sense. But of whatever kind the temptation is, whether upward or downward, whether of pain and sorrow at the permission of God, or of direct solicitation to evil at the suggestion of Satan, those who refuse to swerve from their high quest of nobility attain to higher levels of life. In the words of this paragraph, they receive the crown of life “here” and hereafter.
Notice the genealogy of sin, Jas_1:15. Lust is the parent of sin, and sin when matured is the parent of death. How different to the blackness of this dark picture is the light and glory of our Father’s home and realm! All the good things of our lives are from His good hand. He is not fickle and changeable. Even our sin cannot make Him turn away. His sun still shines on the evil and the good, and His rain descends on the just and the unjust. See Mat_5:45. (F. B. Meyer comm)
Cross references: the crown: Mat_25:34; Luk_22:28-30; Rom_2:7-10; 1Co_9:25; 2Ti_4:8; 1Pe_1:7, 1Pe_4:13; 1Pe_5:4; Rev_2:10, Rev_3:21
I have five bible commentaries, and could not find one of them that could accurately describe or comment on this verse. There were a great many long winded discourses on them, that went in many directions, but never stayed on the point of what Paul was actually talking about.
I'm not a theologian or bible scholar, but am going to give my viewpoint of it, and some references as well for anyone interested in a deeper study.
In 2Cor chapter 12:1-4, Paul gives and account of a "man"- whom I believe he was speaking of himself, who was caught up to the third heaven-paradise, and saw and heard things he could not even describe, they were so glorious.
2Co 12:1 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
2Co 12:2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
2Co 12:3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
2Co 12:4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
Paul was seeing his future home, heaven. The colors, sounds, the angels and elders in attendance at the Throne, the indescribable beauty of the landscapes, animals, and the eternal abodes and homes of the redeemed. He was given a short tour of his eternal destination. I'm sure he didn't want to come back here. I believe this is what he was referring to in 1Cor 2:9, and was giving it in the verse as a comfort for all who suffer, and mourn in this life now. This life is a brief moment, and the sorrows with it.
When we leave this world, and set our feet on heavens ground-all that we endured here will be a faint memory. I believe if we request it-even that can be erased if we would rather not remember it at all. When I get there, and find I'm wrong on this, I'm sure the Lord will correct me, and I won't mind at all, I welcome His corrections here now, and need them. But, I've had a brief tour of my home in heaven, as Paul did, and I can relate completely with what he was trying to do in these verses-but couldn't find the words. There really is no way to describe that place. But, it's where I've set my vision, and focus until the Lord takes me home.
There's a place prepared for you also, the assurance of getting there is in giving your life and heart to Jesus here in this life now. I hope you will do so, while you have the time to do it here.
references: Isa 64:4, Mat. 25:34, John 14:1-6, Heb. 11:16
There will be future studies on the other 4 crowns spoken of in the bible that believer's may gain, in their walk in this life. In studying these, it has given great encouragement and comfort through the trials of this life. The rewards for the believer are waiting, and the best part-eternal.