2 Timothy 4:6-8, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
As Paul gave his final words to Timothy, encouraging him to a faithful life in ministry, he made the comments found in our text. The apostle was not being proud or presumptuous, nor was he speaking in the sense of simply looking forward to heaven. Rather, in making the statement, “I am now ready to be offered,” Paul is speaking with the confidence that comes from having lived a life surrendered to the Lord. Again, Paul was not claiming sinless perfection, but simply the full assurance that the faithful and merciful God that he served would be pleased with his life and work.
The word ready means “willing; fitted; furnished with what is necessary for the purpose.” The word offered means “presented for acceptance or rejection.” Paul said he was now ready to be offered. He understood that his life was nearing its completion. There was virtually nothing left for him to do or accomplish in regards to his work and ministry. Of course, the words that he wrote to Timothy are of infinite, eternal value and we are grateful that the Lord gave Paul that time to write the truths he did. Paul was fully fitted, or furnished, and wiling to be presented before the Lord, the final Judge, to be accepted or rejected. Yet, therein lays the wonderful truth we are considering. Paul expected to be accepted of the Lord. He states with humble confidence in verse eight, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day.” So, how was it that Paul was able to have that great confidence?
In between his statement acknowledging he was at the end of his life and the statement of confidence that he would be accepted as an offering to God, Paul explains how he knew he was ready to be offered. Let’s examine our lives by the Holy Spirit and see if we, too, can have this confidence and assurance, as we briefly consider the three truths Paul stated concerning his life.
The first thing that Paul said was true is that he had fought a good fight. He had referenced his fight before in 1 Corinthians 9:26 when he said, “[S]o fight I, not as one that beateth the air.” Paul was fighting a real battle with a real enemy. He knew the tactics of his enemy (2 Corinthians 2:11) and he knew what was necessary in the battle, (2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Ephesians 6:10-18; 2 Timothy 2:4). Paul did not give up in the fight and while every confrontation may not have ended the way he would like, he had fought well. Paul knew he was ready to be offered because he had fought a good fight. He used the tools available to him and he stayed with it. Paul’s fight was on behalf of the Lord Jesus Christ. He did not fight the wrong battles for the wrong reasons. It was a good fight. When looking at our own lives, would we have the confidence of being accepted by the Lord because we had engaged ourselves in the battle on behalf of Christ, used the weapons available to us, fought the right battles, and stayed with the fight? Are we fighting a good fight?
The second thing Paul said was true in is life was that he had finished his course. He viewed the Christian life, in part, as a race to be run. Again, he spoke of this in 1 Corinthians 9:24-26. Paul had started with the finish line in mind and as he wrote the words of our text he was speaking as one whose chest was pressed against the tape at the finish line. Earlier in his ministry he had told the elders at Ephesus that his purpose was to not only finish his course, but to finish it with joy, (Acts 20:24). This is certainly the spirit that Paul has as he writes to Timothy. He had stayed in his lane, was not quitting before the finish line, had not disqualified himself, and had not been driven off course by the enemies of Christ. Anyone who runs will, at times, stumble and fall; yet, as a just man, he will rise again to continue the course (Proverbs 24:16). If Paul could be asked, undoubtedly he would be able to tell you of times that the course seemed long and difficult, of falling and having to rise again, and of opportunities to quit the race altogether. But he stayed faithful to the course laid out before him and he was now finished. Are we purposed to reach the finish line having joy, to gain the crown, to rise up when we fall, and to insure that nothing removes us from the course? Are we finishing our course?
The third truth mentioned by Paul was that he had kept the faith. Of course, in order to keep the faith, he first had to be in the faith; I.e., he had to be saved. He spoke of his salvation whenever opportunity arose and never forgot the day that he met Christ. Do we remember and speak often of the day Christ saved us? Following his salvation, Paul stayed faithful. He followed the will of God, he submitted his life to the leadership of the Spirit, he preached and taught the Word of God without compromise, yet with compassion, he stood and spoke on behalf of Christ and those who followed him. Paul was faithful! Are we faithful? Are we obedient and submitted to the leading, reproving, and instructions of the Spirit and Word of God? Do we stand boldly for Christ and His people? Are we uncompromising and compassionate in our preaching and teaching of the Bible? Are we guarding the faith by a holy and steadfast life?
These things are the very things that gave Paul his confidence. He was indeed ready to be offered knowing that he would receive the crown of righteousness. May God help us to follow in his footsteps, and the example of the Lord Jesus (John 17:4), as we approach the day of our departing. Let’s strive to gain the same confidence.