As I have stated in earlier blog articles, 2 Timothy was Paul’s last letter. He was in a Roman prison, awaiting execution.
Paul viewed his situation like this:
As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come.
I have fought the good fight; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.
From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing (2 Timothy 4.6-8).
Paul finished the “race of life” well. Like a good soldier, he was faithful to God’s plan and purpose for his life.
The reward for Paul’s faithfulness and for everyone who loves Jesus is “the crown of righteousness.”
The “crown of righteousness” is probably not a physical crown. The crown is possibly the finest gift any human can receive.
Paul wrote, “I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard the deposit I have entrusted to him” (2 Timothy 1.12). His confidence in Jesus allowed him to face the Roman executioner with courage.
Living well allows people to die well. I have many stories of people who have lived and died well.
One dear lady had an incurable case of pneumonia. A ventilator was keeping her alive. Her husband, son, doctor, and nurse joined in singing Amazing Grace prior to removing her from the machine.
She wrote notes on a tablet expressing her desire to go to heaven. This faithful servant of the Lord left earth to join the Lord in heaven in a matter of minutes with an atmosphere of awe and peace.
Like Paul, she had put her trust in Jesus and had fought the good fight of faith. She was ready to begin eternity with her Savior.
Not Everyone Is Faithful
Friends and fellow followers of Jesus turned their back on Jesus while he has in prison.
He wrote, “Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica” (2 Timothy 4.10).
“At my first defense no one came to my support, but all deserted me. May it not be counted against them!” (2 Timothy 4.16).
I would hate for my name to be placed in the “deserted Jesus” column prior to the final judgment.
Jesus told the Parable of the Sower to alert the church that not everyone would be faithful. Three kinds of people will desert Jesus.
(1) “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path” (Matthew 13.19).
(2) The second is “the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy,
“Yet such a person has no root but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away (Matthew 13.20-21).
(3) The third is “the one who hears the word, but the cares of this age and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing” (Matthew 13.22).
Just as there are people who live well and die well, there are people who come into contact with the Lord and for one reason or another turn away from him.
We are well advised to examine our lives and see if we fall on the faithful side or not.
Imagine the difference between Demas and Timothy. Demas loved the world more than Jesus. Timothy was a faithful follower.
Hopefully, there came a time when Demas changed his mind and began following Jesus once again.
May we all finish the race faithfully!
Rudy Ross and I talk about this passage today on YouTube. You can see the video on the Bob Spradling channel.
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