S16P1 – Personal lessons from Paul: a view of life and death

2 Tim. 4: 6-8
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure [from this world] is at hand and I will soon go free. I have fought the good and worthy and noble fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. In the future there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved and longed for and welcomed His appearing.

When we have a right relationship with God, we come to an understanding of how things really are. We learn the reality of the spiritual and physical natures of our world. Deceptions are revealed, and truth rises to the surface. In Paul, we have a man who once took the lives of those who followed Christ before then giving his to follow as they did. In light of his history, the truth of life and death is arguably the most compelling and relevant for him to have learned.

In this second letter to Timothy, Paul shares what he has learned of death. To the believer, it is not an ending but a beginning. It is freedom from the bondage of this fallen world, and that freedom comes with a reward for the faithful. If our hope is in Jesus, the end of this mortal life is not something to fear but something to welcome with anticipation. We should be longing to see our Lord face to face. We should welcome this departure because of the greatness that follows.

We should have no problem letting go of our lives in this order of things to take hold of what God has in store for us beyond it. If we understand the reality of life and death, and we believe the word of God, then we know that death has no power over us. For the believer, it is only a liberation from the imperfection of this world and an entry into a perfect existence in the presence of our eternal God. Father, instill in us the truths of life and death, so that we may live without fear but with anticipation at seeing You and dwelling with You eternally.