Be Faithful to the End (2 Timothy 22)

BE FAITHFUL TO THE END   (2 Timothy – 22)

READ: 2 Timothy 4:6-8

In his final letter (2 Timothy), Paul reminded Timothy of his duties as a pastor.  He was to grow stronger in his faith (2:1), transmit truth (2:2), endure difficulties (2:3-13), oppose false teachings (2:14,16-19), seek only God’s approval (2:15), be pure (2:20-26), be alert to the growing opposition from the world (3:1-9), be faithful in persecution (3:10-13), live the Word (3;14-16) and preach the Word (4:1-5).  Paul concludes his teaching remarks with a personal testimony of how he is doing in prison (4:6-8).  He doesn’t command or advise Timothy but there is clearly a challenge in it for him and all of us.  “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day — and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:6-8).

What a great note of victory Paul concludes with.  Despite being in prison and facing martyrdom very soon, he keeps his eyes on Jesus.  That was a great encouragement to Timothy and to many since.

He is “poured out like a drink offering.”  This refers to a priest pouring a sacrifice of wine on the alter until it is all gone.  That is how Paul feels.  He admits he is facing tremendous trials and is enduring hardship himself.  Have you ever felt that way?  You have given all and there is no more physical or emotional energy left to give any more.  There have been times I could identify with Paul’s words.  God was very real and close at those times, and I’m sure He was with Paul as well.

Paul knows his death (“departure”) is near and he is offering his life to God as a sacrificial offering.  “Departure” is used of a traveler leaving their country, a soldier breaking camp to move on or a sailor leaving dock.  What a perfect word picture for death.  It isn’t the end, just a major change.  Life doesn’t end, but it does move from this world to eternity.  What a joy that will be!  Paul was really looking forward to it, as should we all.

As he looks back on his life, Paul evaluates his performance with three phrases.  The first is “I have fought the good fight.”  The Greek word used is literally “agony.”  It is used of a boxer or wrestler giving all he has in an extremely difficult battle.  That’s how Paul thought about his life in ministry.  Serving Jesus is a battle, a hard battle.  We fight temptation from sin, Satan and his forces and the opposition of the world around us, the same enemies Jesus fought.  Why should we expect it to be any different for us who follow Him?  Jesus doesn’t remove our battle but helps us win it.   Parents who remove all obstacles from their children will have spoiled, self-centered, immature children.  The same is true of God’s children.  Obstacles make us stronger.

Are you able to look back at your Christian life so far and say you have fought the good fight?  Are you standing firm in the battles you have to fight today, or are you giving in and letting them defeat you?

The second way Paul summarizes his life is that he has “finished the race.”  In his day, it was not just speed that counted in a race, it was finishing with your torch still burning.  That speaks of Paul’s faithfulness to God until the end of his life.  He didn’t turn from the faith or his God-given responsibility.  He had struggles and difficulties, but he persevered through.

Do you continue to faithfully serve just as you did when you first started following Jesus?  Are you committed to doing so for the rest of your life?

Finally, Paul says he “kept the faith.”  This is a military term that refers to standing guard, protecting what was assigned to him.  For Paul, this was the Christian faith, the body of truth conveyed in the Bible.  He was a faithful steward, as the man in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14–30 Luke 19:11–27).  Even during persecution and threats on his life, he never denied or turned from God’s truth as revealed in His Word.  (To be continued in next blog.) (June 26, 2023  Doylestown, PA)

When have you abandoned, turned from, compromised or neglected some part of God’s commands and directions in His Word?  Are there any you aren’t following 100% today?

PAUL’S ADVICE:  Live your life for Jesus now so at the end you can say you have fought the good fight, finished the race and kept the faith.

Who do you know who is an example of someone who is fighting the good fight, running the race and keeping the faith?  What can you learn from them to help you as you live for Jesus?

PRAYER REQUEST: Christian Training Organization (CTO) is sending two men to India June 17-30 to lead pastor’s conferences and speak in churches.  PLEASE for these men as they travel and speak.  Pray for Pastor Moses who organizes and leads the conferences.  Pray for each one who comes to learn and grow in their faith and ministry.  If you want to receive my India blog, pictures and prayer requests email me at


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