I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7
The school where my son Brian coaches football lost the state title game in a hard-fought battle. Their opponent was undefeated over the past two years. I sent Brian a text to commiserate with him and received a terse reply: “Kids battled!”
No coach shamed the players after the game. No one shouted at them for their mishaps or bad decisions along the way. No, the coaches showered the young players with praise for what could be praised.
Along the same vein, it’s good to know that believers in Jesus will not hear harsh words of condemnation from Him. When Christ comes and we stand before Him, He won’t shame us. He’ll see what we’ve done as we’ve followed Him (2 Corinthians 5:10; Ephesians 6:8). I think He’ll say something like, “You battled! Well done!” The apostle Paul testified that he had “fought the good fight” and looked forward to being welcomed by God (2 Timothy 4:7–8).
Life is a relentless struggle with a fierce, unyielding foe devoted to our destruction. He will resist every effort we make to be like Jesus and to love others. There’ll be a few good wins and some heartbreaking losses—God knows—but there will be no eternal condemnation for those in Jesus (Romans 8:1). If we stand before Him in the merits of God’s Son, each one will “receive [his] praise” from God (1 Corinthians 4:5).
Does the thought of standing before God fill you with dread or delight? What would make the difference?
Thank You, God, for the promise that because I have Jesus as my Savior, I’ll never be condemned.
In 2 Timothy 3, Paul warned Timothy about people who “[have] a form of godliness” but completely oppose God’s truth (v. 5). At the conclusion of chapter 3, he pointed to the crucial value of Timothy’s faith in Christ and then wrote: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (vv. 16–17). This was essential for Timothy to understand in his role as a servant of God. Timothy was to “correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction” (4:2), countering the false teachers who say what “itching ears want to hear” (v. 3). In other words, Timothy was never to seek the approval of others by telling them what they wanted to hear. He must share only God’s truth—the truth the Scriptures clearly teach.