2 Timothy 4:6-10
2 Tim 4:6 (KJB)
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
Departure - Loosing or release
Paul knew that his home going was imminent and he stated that he already was being poured out as an offering to God, not that he was paying for his own sins, but that his life was a complete dedication to the Lord. Paul uses a word in the Greek for departure which can also be understood as “release or loosing.” When we are still present in these human bodies, they are a major restriction in continuing ministry. (Heb 7:23 KJV) And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: Not only does death completely stop our earthly ministries, but before that we are subject to disease or disabilities which can curtail those ministries as well. Paul here gives a great encouragement for the believer. At the time of our departure, it represents a freeing or a loosing from the restraints of this life. In Heaven we are going to experience a freedom from all restraints that we could only dream of down here. (Rom 12:3 KJV) For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. On earth, every true believer was given a measure of faith, that is, only a portion or a set amount because of the human restraints we have, but when we get to Glory, there will be no restraints as to the gifts of God given to us. The measure we receive here will be fullness there. So Paul is stating that death is really a liberating event for the believer.
2 Tim 4:7 (KJB)
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Here Paul gives three major aspects of his life as he looks back. He is not bragging but just stating plain facts about his Christian life. First, Paul states that he fought a good fight. Anyone who reads the New Testament will see that Paul was a great warrior for the faith. He never backed down on any confrontations with the false teachers while always keeping in mind his task was to start churches and to be an apostle to the Gentiles. He was a testimony for the truth wherever he went and his ministry was never plagued by any scandals. He was accused wrongly but not one accusation was ever proven against him and that is why he suffered so much. The ministry is a literal fight because we war against the evil principalities of this world and that evil is manifested in the unbelievers who oppose any true ministry.
Then Paul states that he finished his course. The word “finish” carries with it the meaning of “completed.” Paul knew that every assignment the Lord gave him, was completed. Although Paul always had the heart to visit the churches, many times he was hindered or was sent to a different place by the Lord. So being unable to visit by means of divine providence does not mean that a task was uncompleted. It means you were not to do that task at that time or you were not to do it at all. With Paul’s imminent home going, he did not believe anything which the Lord entrusted to him was undone and knew he was going home fulfilled. How many Christians today can make that statement that they have finished their course? The question I also have is how many have been saved for many years and have not even started their course? What would you be able to bring before the Lord? How many souls have you reached? Not how many have you saved because salvation is the Lord’s realm, not ours. Our responsibility is to bring the Gospel to as many as we can. Even if no one becomes saved under our ministry, we are still to be faithful in that Great Commission.
The third tenet of Paul’s life was through all the hardships he faced, he never lost sight of the big picture. He always kept the faith, that is, even in the most difficult of times Paul was faithful to Christ. Paul knew whom he was serving and when times got tough, he didn’t run to a therapist and cry the blues, instead he spoke with the Lord and continued on. (Acts 14:19-20 KJV) And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. {20} Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe. Here is a situation which Paul faced in Lystra where he was stoned by his enemies. They thought that he was dead, so they went back to town. The disciples were there to minister to him and what did he do? He didn’t run away crying and complaining, instead he got up and went into the city. Through all these types of events, Paul had kept the faith faithfully. There are going to be many times in our lives where faith and persecution meet. It is what we do in that situation which determines our faithfulness to Christ.
2 Tim 4:8 (KJB)
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.
Paul now states that from this time forward, he will receive a crown of righteousness. Since the Bible states that the true believers are kings, they shall receive a crown as a king does.
We see there are four different crowns in Scripture which relate to the believer. Every one of these crowns are symbolic of the Christian life. In Revelation 1:6, the Bible refers to Christians as Kings and Priests:
(Rev 1:6 KJV) And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
So in keeping with that description of the body of believers, God would give crowns as the symbol of Kingship of believers. Each of these four crowns represent a tenet of Christianity.
Incorruptible Crown - (1 Pet 1:4 KJV) To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
Crown of Righteousness - (Rev 19:8 KJV) And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
Crown of Life - (John 10:28 KJV) And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
Crown of Glory - (2 Pet 1:3 KJV) According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
There is no great mystery as to the meanings of those crowns, yet hundreds of books have been written proclaiming that they are special rewards and all without biblical justification. They just isolate the verses and run with it. It is a shame that so many pastors and theologians think they are going to receive a special crown or reward for their service. Most of them are getting their rewards right here on earth. (Mat 6:5 KJV) And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. The theology which many of them preach should warrant them a Dunce Cap. Their crowns are no different than any other believer. Paul states that everyone who loves the appearing of the Lord will get a crown as he did. The ones who do not want Jesus to return are the unbelievers but every true believer wants the Lord to return and take us home. No longer will the believer ever have to face any sin or unrighteousness in Heaven as righteousness is the standard in Heaven.
2 Tim 4:9 (KJB)
Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me:
Diligence - Hasten or do one’s best
Paul knows that his time is short but he does not know how short and he asks Timothy to make haste and come to him because he wants to see him. The word “diligence” in the Greek is in the Imperative Mood making it a command. We have seen many commands in the book of second Timothy which means we can conclude that ministry is a very urgent thing.
2 Tim 4:10 (KJB)
For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.
Demas was once called a fellow laborer by Paul. (Phile 1:24 KJV) Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers. It was obvious that Demas was not a saved man because Paul states that he loved this present world. (1 John 2:15 KJV) Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Demas definitely fits the pattern of the unsaved man who loves this world and is tied to it. Crescens was a companion of Paul and was dispatched to Galatia by Paul. Titus was dispatched by Paul unto Dalmatia which was north of Macedonia. Probably Paul thought that by dispatching Titus and Crescens, he would at least have Demas with him but Paul was forsaken by him.