Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Final Deliverance

As Paul closes his epistle to Timothy, he charges him before God to preach the word and fulfill the ministry to which he is called. Paul then reflects on his own ministry that is soon coming to a close.

In his reflections, Paul declares a satisfied end and a sublime expectation. He sees his own activities as a good fight, a finished course, and a kept faith. He had “kept back nothing...taught…publickly, and from house to house…testifying…repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ…” and had “not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” (Cf. Acts 20:20-27.) He knew his labor was not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58) and had a hope founded on the resurrected Lord whom he preached (1 Corinthians 15:19-20). A crown of righteousness awaits him, and he has no regrets (v. 8). “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21.)

In his reflections, Paul interjects disheartening incidents and day-to-day activities. Though the apostle sees his expected end just over the horizon, he will continue to “finish the course” until its conclusion. He desires a visit from Timothy, with Mark, in his lonesome estate. Only Luke of his co-laborers is currently present, and even one of them, Demas, has left the faith to fulfill his love for the world. He asked Timothy to bring simple items, inquiring after a cloke and some reading materials. Paul cites Alexander the coppersmith as an opposer of the truth and warns against him.

In his reflections, Paul concludes the surety of God’s deliverance (who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us; 2 Corinthians 1:10). God had stood with him (against Alexander, for example), and he will continue to stand with him. Paul trusts God’s deliverance and preservation. The final deliverance may look like the defeat of death to the world – but the final deliverance will be the best!

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? … thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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