Tuesday, February 09, 2010

2 Timothy 4:6-8

V6-8 – 6For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing.

Certainly Paul exhibited the characteristics that he has encouraged Timothy to embrace. He views his life as a sacrifice to Christ. Then he reminds Timothy of his suffering and impending death, all on behalf of true, gospel ministry. In fact, Paul’s imminent death is his motive for extending his appeal to Timothy to this point. And as stated earlier in the study of Timothy, Paul measures success in ministry, as we ought, by faithfulness, not the number of converts. He issues three metaphors in v7 as evidence of his faithfulness – fighting the good fight, finishing the race, and keeping the faith. The enemies of God may have claimed that Paul failed, since his life ended in imprisonment and death; but that truth actually, ironically, proves that he was immensely successful in his ministry. He hadn’t wasted the time he’s had since conversion, and he doesn’t want Timothy to waste his time either.

Paul has now in his sights “the crown of righteousness” (1 Corinthians 9:27; James 1:12; 1 Peter 5:4; Revelation 2:4; 4:4). He knows that he will receive his reward “on that day,” speaking of Judgment Day. “Apparently,” says one commentator, “Paul believed that believers would be with the Lord at death (2 Corinthians 5:8), but the rewards and full fellowship awaited Resurrection Day (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).” Paul is not selfish about this crown; he knows that others, in fact “all who have longed for His appearing” will receive it as well. This is the crown of righteousness, the immutably sinless state we’ll embody in eternity. And so we cry out, “Marantha! Come Lord Jesus!” We want the end to come; we’re not afraid of death. We hope with joy, a sign of true Christianity.

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