Sunday, 29 April 2018
I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Timothy 4:1
The opening words, “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ,” are the same words that Paul used in 1 Timothy 5:1. This charge is a bit shorter in named witnesses, however, as it leaves off the words “and the elect angels.” But, it is longer in how it describes Christ Jesus in the second clause.
The word translated as “charge” bears more weight than the translation implies. It is rather, “solemnly charge.” It being a compound word comprised of “thoroughly” and “witness.” Thus, it is a solemn charge or an earnest testimony. Paul’s words then hold great weight as presented to Timothy. This is all the more seen by including both “God” and “the Lord Jesus Christ” as witnesses. He is making the most solemn charge possible by calling the infinite God, and His designated Mediator who comes from Him, to witness his charge to Timothy.
From there, he then describes the work of Christ by saying, “who will judge the living and the dead.” Christ Jesus is the one who holds the power over death. And so, whether alive at His coming, or already dead on that Day, it makes no difference. The souls of all men will be brought before Him for judgment. This will be “at His appearing and His kingdom.
In a careful study of the words of Paul, we see that his statement here is a general one which actually covers several events. There will be a rapture of believers, after which they will be judged, but not for salvation or condemnation. It will be a judgment for rewards and loss of rewards. There will also be the first resurrection which will occur after the seven-year tribulation period which will come upon the earth. And then finally, there will be what is called the Great White Throne judgment at the end of the millennium. Each judgment is in the Lord’s hands, and He will display perfect righteousness as He judges.
It is before God, and His designated Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ, that Paul will next make his solemn charge.
Life application: If we look at our life and actions daily, considering them as a part of our judgment ahead, we will be more likely to live in a holy and circumspect manner. If we just take each day as an opportunity to please self, then when our time of judgment does come, we will have much to be ashamed for. Let us look ahead, and live out our lives as the Lord’s word directs us to do.
Heavenly Father, we tend for forget that a time of judgment awaits all of us. We get busy with life, desirous of attaining success, fame, or wealth, and we put the day on which we will stand before You out of our minds. Help us not to be so short-sighted. Instead, give us wisdom to contemplate our days, pursue You in them, and live in a manner which will be rewarded with favor. Help us in this, O God. Amen.