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A Confident Finish

2 Timothy 4:6-8
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. (NIV)

Paul knew that he would soon be killed because he loved and served Jesus. However he describes his coming death as a willing sacrifice of praise, like a drink offering. In the Old Testament, with each of the animal and food sacrifices, strong wine should also be poured out as a drink offering to express joy at the goodness of God who had granted forgiveness through the sacrifices. Having spent his ministry preaching about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, Paul was glad to pour out the last bit of his life in praise and thanks to God.
The Apostle looked back on his life and knew that the Lord had helped him to fight temptation and keep running well, as in an Olympic race. He had not turned his back on Jesus and was totally confident that Jesus would receive Him. He was not dreading that encounter because he knew that all his sins had been paid for by Jesus; instead, he was eagerly anticipating the Lord’s reward.
It is important to finish well. Too many people start their Christian race well but then become weary or distracted away from a life-focus on meeting Jesus. For Paul, that was his daily motivation through many challenging circumstances … “what will Jesus say when I meet Him?” It is a good question for us all to ask. So if we are being tempted to give up or to grow weary in the battle, let us consider how Jesus dealt with worse circumstances (Hebrews 12:2-3). Paul wrote, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14). Let us make sure we do the same.

Lord of all. Thank You for Jesus, through whom we have the hope of eternal life. I am sorry for the times when I lose sight of my inevitable meeting with Jesus and fail to run straight and true towards You. Please help me to keep heaven in sight, lest I become distracted or weary and lose heart. And help me to finish well. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams