My Life, My Race, His Promise

I have fought well. I have finished the race, and I have been faithful.      2 Timothy 4:7 (CEV)

These are well-known words of Scripture. I didn’t always know the context of the words. It is thought that this letter to Timothy may have been Paul’s last letter that he wrote before he was executed in Rome. It does seem fitting that he wrote to his ‘son’ in those last hours, sharing the thoughts closest to his heart. He began the letter remembering Timothy’s history of faith through his mother and grandmother and affirming that he, Paul, sees that same faith in Timothy. Paul tells Timothy not to ever be ashamed of the message of the gospel of Jesus and that the Good News is worth any suffering or hardship. He says that all Scripture is “God-breathed” and should be used to teach and correct so that we would be well-equipped for serving God. Paul warns Timothy that there will be a time when mankind will turn from these God-inspired truths and only listen to what they want to hear.

Paul is sitting in a prison cell, chained and condemned to die. There are no disciples there to encourage him. There is no one that can change the events that are going to happen except God Himself. I believe that God had revealed to Paul what was going to happen. God had let Paul see the truth that it was in His will that Paul should now leave this life and die. But to God, and to Paul, that meant that he was coming home. Paul had finished this life and had kept his faith firmly on the Son of God, Jesus Christ, and so now was the time to receive what he wanted so much – to spend eternity with God!

Timothy had never had a teacher like Paul. He would never have another teacher like Paul. Paul gave Timothy two truths to remember through all his many writings: he was once lost to sin and the law but now he was saved through the sacrifice and love of Jesus Christ. He had spent all his life telling anyone who would listen (and more than a few who wouldn’t!) these two facts. It had cost him everything until all he had left…was his faith. That was all he needed.

No matter what I achieve in my life; no matter how many people know my name, when those last days, hours, and minutes come – my faith in Jesus is all I will have and all that I need.

At my first defense, no one came to my assistance, but everyone deserted me. May it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the proclamation might be fully made through me, and all the Gentiles might hear. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil work and will bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom. To Him be the glory forever and ever! Amen.            2 Timothy 4:16-18 (HCSB)

 

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