A DYING CHRISTIAN’S TESTIMONY
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.”
Paul gives a great testimony as he waited martyrdom. Paul is the one that said, “To depart and be with Christ is far better.” The saints of God today can trust this testimony and assure their hearts at the time of death.
THE READINESS OF THE CHRISTIAN FOR DEATH
Paul is quite clear on this. Most of us will say, “I’m not ready.” It is almost like one wants to die. Notice the words, “I am now ready to be offered.” The “now” is a faithful testimony that the New Birth and obedience to the faith has assured him.
Jesus said in John 11:25 26, “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?”
There was a Christian Science teacher speaking at the funeral of one of their congregation’s members. He explained that this man was not dead. He just thinks he is dead. One old farm boy punched his friend and said, “He may not be dead, but I looked at him before the service, and I just about as soon to be dead as be in his shape!
The death of the body is certain. Jesus is not saying that death will not come to the physical body. What He does say is that the believer will never die. We are not our bodies. The inner man of the Christian has eternal life and is not subject to death.
Paul was ready and gave testimony to that fact.
THE READINESS CAME AS A RESULT OF FAITHFULNESS
1. He had been a good soldier; He says in verse 7, “I have fought a good fight.” The Christian life is a fight. But the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds” (2 Cor. 10:4).
2. As a runner in the games he says, “I have finished my course.” Everyone of us has a course to run. It will be great if we are able to say with Paul, “I have finished my course.”
3. Next he says, “I have kept the faith.” He never departed from preaching the gospel. He warned in Galatians 1:8, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” The heretics did not warm up to Paul. He would take them on and reveal their heresy on the spot. Paul’s readiness came as a result of faithfulness.
THE READINESS CAME AS A RESULT OF INWARD PEACE
1. Paul’s testimony did not have in it a whining spirit. He did not accuse his accusers. He knew what he was facing. It would not be long until his head would roll. Did that bother him? He said, “I am now ready to be offered.” His martyrdom was an offering to the Lord. He knew that death was not the end but a blessed beginning with the Lord never to be separated again.
2. Our readiness does not consist in the amount of good works we may have done, or the number of years we have lived, but in that “quietness and confidence” in Jesus Christ which brings the strength of His prevailing peace into the heart, and that calmly whispers: “Father, not my will, but Thine be done. Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord. Into thy hands I commit my spirit.”
3. A Scotsman lay dying in a country home, while a snow storm was on. His daughter said: “Father I will read to you.” He answered: “Na, my lassie, don’t trouble. I thatched my house in calm weather.”
THE READINESS TO ENTER A BLISSFUL FUTURE
Verse 8 says, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord will give me.” The crown of righteousness is the reward that those will get who have lived faithfully and waited patiently for the Lord’s return.
2 Corinthians 5:1 2, “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:”
2 Corinthians 5:8, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.