Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.
1 Corinthians 9:24–25
Scripture distinguishes between salvation and reward. Salvation is by grace alone, completely apart from human merit or works of any kind. Reward is for service rendered in loving devotion to our Lord as we seek to glorify Him in this world. This is the race we are called to run and in order to do so it is imperative that the servant of Christ exercise godly self-control over all physical appetites. The imperishable crown is the reward which we hope to receive at the hand of our Lord when we stand at His judgment seat. To miss this token of His approval will be loss indeed!
Not at death I shrink or falter,
For my Saviour saves me now,
But to meet Him empty-handed,
Thought of that now clouds my brow.
H. A. Ironside, The Continual Burnt Offering: Daily Meditations on the Word of God (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1994), 276.