Thursday, 25 June 2020 2 Timothy 4: 1- 22
“And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” -2 Timothy 4:18
Apostle Paul’s life is a testimony to all, with how he fully gave himself to the call of God upon his life and ran his race well! It is history that soon after writing this epistle to Timothy, Apostle Paul was martyred by the Romans. His statements about having accomplished all that God had for him, awaiting his reward and that God would preserve him for His kingdom are bold declarations of his faith.
The “Book of Acts” and the Epistles of the New Testament provide a very detailed account of hardships Apostle Paul had during the eventful 30-35 years for the cause of Gospel. He had his first encounter with Jesus Christ near Damascus on a noonday. As some theologians say, till then apostle Paul was seeing in the “noonday light of the law of Moses” and the followers of Christ were seen as enemies to him. But the “glorious heavenly bright light” of the new covenant of selfless love opened his eyes and changed his perception, though (literally) he was blind for the next three days! This is one of the most important events in the history of Christianity, considering all that God had revealed through this “good and faithful servant” by the NT books he has written, as well as the spread of the gospel by his relentless efforts.
In between writing these great letters, the numerous perils he went through are unbelievable! A few details by him in 2 Corinthians 11:24-28 are - five times received forty stripes save one, thrice beaten with rods, once stoned, thrice suffered shipwreck, a night and a day spent in the deep; often, in perils –of waters, of robbers, by own countrymen, by heathen, in the city, in the wilderness, in the sea, in hunger and thirst, in cold and nakedness and beside these care of all the churches. Even in the midst of all these sufferings apostle says very gladly in 2 Corinthians 12:9 – GOD’s grace is sufficient for him!
From this great example of Apostle Paul we see that deliverance and preservation by the Lord need not be without perils always. So it is not the perils or at the most death itself that matters, but GRACE. This grace is freely offered to any one, out of God’s selfless love towards us (John 3:16). By accepting Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Lord anyone can come under this grace. But sadly, many who accepted Christ as their Saviour and Lord stumble in spite of the grace extended to all- while others like Paul stood without failing. Are we who stumble not under this grace?
Paul says in Ephesians 3:2, "Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you…" We realize that Grace comes with responsibility. From Apostle Paul’s life we see the great responsibilities he has fulfilled towards the Gospel and the Gentles. The epistles to Timothy lists many of these responsibilities, an evangelist or elder of the Church needs to fulfill towards the church, which Paul in his ministry was fulfilling wholeheartedly.
While fulfilling of these responsibilities may put us in peril, the grace from the “One who knows the heart” flows abundantly so that we can stand against all odds to complete the race in front of us. Thus He shall preserve us till the end and the “end” however it is, is best left to Him who knows better. And He “makes it work for the good of them who are called according to His purpose” as Paul himself wrote in Romans 8:28.
Prayer: Dear LORD, Thank you for Your abundant grace in our lives always. Help us to understand our responsibilities towards Your kingdom and help us to strive without looking at the perils we may endure. We know that You are faithful and You will preserve us till the end for the heavenly kingdom. Amen