2 Timothy 4:6-8
“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
Paul has come to the end of his road. While prison was an all too common experience for the apostle, he had been delivered from it, and other perils, time and time again. Somehow, he knew this time would be different, and his deliverance would be through death. Not long after this letter was written, Paul was martyred for his faith in Christ. As his journey concludes, Paul examines his life, looking at his past, present and future.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
Looking back over his years as a believer, Paul sums his life up by comparing it to a race. The simple statement that he has reached the finish line, reminds us of the training, self-discipline, and obstacles he faced along the way. Finishing well starts when we decide to live for Christ. Many sit back, thinking about how they should get more serious about their relationship with Jesus, but as days become weeks and weeks years, they have done nothing about it. If we want to end this life as Paul did, we must decide, today, that we will live for eternity, laying down whatever is keeping us from moving ahead. Paul used another word to describe his life, he called it a fight. While fights may be something we enjoy watching, they are not something enjoyable to do. Sometimes, the only way to get in the race, is to stand firm, and fight against the desires of the flesh that keep us bound.
“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, . . .”
Paul did not see his present situation as a victory for the enemy, but as an opportunity to minister to others. In Old Testament times, the drink offering was to accompany the sacrifices that were burned on the altar. It would add to the beautiful aroma of the sacrifice. Earlier, Paul used the phrase, “if I am being poured out as an offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith” (Philippians 2:17). Paul saw his current struggles as a means to minister to others. Suffering is never pleasant, but God wants to use it in our lives as a witness to others. It is often through the difficult experiences, that we find inroads into reaching others with the Gospel.
“Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
One of the most comforting truths that kept the Apostle moving forward, was knowing death was not the end. He knew a final breath in this body, meant the first step into eternity. As a result, Paul lived to bring glory to God. This led to the expectation that upon entering glory, Paul would be rewarded with the crown of righteousness. This crown is not Paul’s alone, but for all who live committed to Christ, and anticipate seeing Him face to face; they will one day receive the crown of righteousness.
Let’s live today in expectation of His soon return.