Wednesday, 16 May 2018
And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen! 2 Timothy 4:18
Paul is rather clear here with his words, and they need to be considered in the context of his situation. He is in a Roman prison, and he has already spoken of himself as a goner, at least in this physical life. His words of verse 6 are specific, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.” The sacrifice of his life is all but complete, and the sacrifice of his death is at hand. And so he is not at all speaking of being delivered from prison or execution when he says, “And the Lord will deliver me.” Instead, he adds in the words, “from every evil work.”
He doesn’t say, “from death.” His trial though legal under Roman law, is not based on any true wrongdoing. He has been accused of wrongdoing (an evil work), and he is facing execution because of these accusations (another evil work). These, and any other associated evil works, will not be the end of Apostle Paul though. He confidently states that he will be delivered from them. Further, he says that the Lord will “preserve me for his heavenly kingdom.”
This again shows that he is not speaking at all about this earthly life. He is confident that the end of this existence will simply lead to another one, a heavenly one. There is no fear or timidity in his words, but rather bold confidence. It then cannot be said that the Lord would deliver Paul from himself, such as keeping him from being woeful and miserable about what is to come, or that he might embarrass the Lord through allowing his faith to stumble. No such thought is seen here. Instead, his faith is strong, his acceptance of death is noted, but his confidence in triumph over that is steadfast.
With his sure note of faith stated, he then gives forth a resounding cry of exaltation – “To Him be glory forever and ever.” The hope which he possesses leads to a heartfelt doxology of praise. It is God who created, it is He who sent Christ Jesus, it is He who accomplished all the work necessary for our salvation, and it is He who has then guaranteed that the saints will rise and live forever in His presence. He is the glorious God, the omnipotent Sovereign, and the Restorer of life. Surely He is worthy of praise!
In completing his words of praise, he then finishes with, “Amen.” The word signifies, “So be it.” Paul’s words are confident and filled with anticipation of what lies ahead.
Life application: Paul’s words should reflect our state as well when we face the enemies of disease, persecution, unjust judgment against us, or even death. We should simply acknowledge that these enemies hold no sway over us, and we should be thankful for the assured promises which lie ahead, despite any such trivial, temporary trials.
Lord God, what thing can steal our long-term joy? Yes, we have bad days and difficult times, but no matter what happens to us, because of Jesus, we are securely in Your hands. Disease, financial troubles, unfair judgment of our faith in Christ, or even death itself cannot separate us from You. And so despite any temporary trials which rob our temporary joy, nothing should truly take away our faith and our long-term joy. Help us always to keep this perspective. We have a promised and assured good end in store for us. Thank You for Jesus who has made this possible. Amen.