2 Timothy 4:8 Commentary

 

 

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2 Timothy 4:8 Commentary

2Timothy 4:8  In the future there is laid up  (3SPMI) for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award (3SFAI) to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved  (RAPMPD)  His appearing.

Greek: loipon apokeitai (3SPMI) moi o tes dikaiosunes stephanos, on apodosei (3SFAI) moi o kurios en ekeine te hemera, o dikaios krites, ou monon de emoi alla kai pasi tois egapekosi ten epiphaneian (RAPMPD) autou. 
BBE: From now on, the crown of righteousness is made ready for me, which the Lord, the upright judge, Will give to me at that day: and not only to me, but to all those who have had love for his revelation.
GWT:  The prize that shows I have God's approval is now waiting for me. The Lord, who is a fair judge, will give me that prize on that day. He will give it not only to me but also to everyone who is eagerly waiting for him to come again.
KJV: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
Phillips: The future for me holds the crown of righteousness which God, the true judge, will give to those who have loved what they have seen of him
Wuest:  Henceforth there is reserved for me the victor’s laurel wreath of righteousness, which the Lord will award me on that day, the just Umpire [the umpire who is always fair and never makes a mistake], and not only to me but also to all those who have loved His appearing and as a result have their love fixed on it.
Young's Literal: henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of the righteousness that the Lord -- the Righteous Judge -- shall give to me in that day, and not only to me, but also to all those loving his manifestation.

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IN THE FUTURE THERE IS LAID UP FOR ME THE CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS : loipon apokeitai (3SPMI) moi ho tes dikaiosunes stephanos: (Ps 31:19; Mt 6:19 20; Col 1:5; 1Ti 6:19) (crown = 2Ti 2:5 Pr 4:9; 1Co 9:25; Jas 1:12; 1Pe 5:4; Rev 2:10; 4:4 10)

Paul had often used the metaphor of the Christian life and ministry as analogous to "running a race" (cp 2Ti 2:5-note)...:

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run (present imperative) in such a way that you may win. 25 And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control (egkrateuomai) in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath (stephanos - same word used in 2Ti 4:8 for "crown"), but we an imperishable (aphthartos). 26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 27 but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified (adokimos). (1Cor 9:24, 25, 26, 27-See notes 1Co 9:24, 1Co 9:25, 1Co 9:26, 1Co 9:27)

In the future (3062) (loipon) is more literally finally, for the rest, henceforth, and it was this "future focus" that enabled Paul to meet the present persecutions and sufferings with perseverance and blazing hope. Imprisoned in a dark, dank dungeon facing death, Paul sees beyond the visible temporal injustices and indignities forced upon him to the invisible future which promises an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. (2Cor 4:17-note, 2Co 4:18-note)

The idea is the race had been run, the conflict had been waged, and all that remained (henceforth) to complete the whole transaction was merely that the crown be bestowed, as accurately paraphrased in the Weymouth translation

From this time onward there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness.

Paul pictures himself as a victorious Greek athlete, who, having won his race, is now looking up to the judge’s stand, awaiting his laurel wreath of victory.

Laid up (606) (apokeimai [word study] from a = away + keímai = be laid up, set away) means put something away for safekeeping and was used "of the laurel wreaths of honor awarded to Olympic winners" and "the awards made to loyal subjects by oriental sovereigns for services rendered." (Guthrie)

Apokeimai - 4 uses in the NT - Lk. 19:20; Col. 1:5; 2Ti 4:8; Heb. 9:27

Paul spoke of "the hope laid up for you in heaven" (Col 1:5-note) which gives one a picture of the security of our hope and our "crown of righteousness". Paul has finished the race, the victory has been won, the goal reached and what remains is the reward which is "laid up" for him, safely stored away.

Don't miss the little phrase for me (repeated two more times in this verse as "to me...to me") -- clearly Paul believed in personal reward as a legitimate God ordained motivation for Christian living and serving. Jesus encouraged believers

lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys (Mt 6:19, 20, 21-see notes Mt 6:19; 20; 21).

Moses was so motivated that he actually considered

the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. (He 11:26-note)

Finally John warned believers

Watch yourselves, that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. (2Jn 1:8)

Edwards adds that "Rewards are not a selfish motivation but a scriptural one which is designed to harness our God-given drive for significance to the things which will make our lives eternally significant. Rewards mean little to those who sacrifice little, for their souls are satisfied with earthly trinkets and enjoyments....

Crown (4735) (stephanos from stepho = to encircle, twine or wreathe) was a wreath made of foliage or designed to resemble foliage and worn by one of high status or held in high regard.

The stephanos was literally an adornment worn around the head as a crown of victory in the Greek athletic games, this reward being given to the runner who crossed the goal first, to the disc thrower with the longest toss, etc. Apart from recognition of athletes and winners of various kinds of competitions, in the Greco-Roman world,  the awarding of a crown or wreath signified appreciation for exceptional contributions to the state or groups within it. The recipients were usually public officials or civic-minded persons serving at their own expense

Stephanos was used metaphorically to refer to a community of believers who exist as proof of a worker's success (1Th 2:19,20 - see notes 1Th 2:19; 20). Here stephanos is that which serves as adornment or source of pride.

Stephanos was the name of a godly martyr in Acts (see verses below).

Vine - A — (Strong's #4735 — Noun Masculine — stephanos — stef'-an-os ) primarily, "that which surrounds, as a wall or crowd" (from stepho, "to encircle"), denotes (a) "the victor's crown," the symbol of triumph in the games or some such contest; hence, by metonymy, a reward or prize; (b) "a token of public honor" for distinguished service, military prowess, etc., or of nuptial joy, or festal gladness, especially at the parousia of kings. It was woven as a garland of oak, ivy, parsley, myrtle, or olive, or in imitation of these in gold. In some passages the reference to the games is clear, 1 Corinthians 9:25 ; 2 Timothy 4:8 ("crown of righteousness"); it may be so in 1 Peter 5:4 , where the fadeless character of "the crown of glory" is set in contrast to the garlands of earth. In other passages it stands as an emblem of life, joy, reward and glory, Philippians 4:1 ; 1 Thessalonians 2:19 ; James 1:12 ("crown of life"); Revelation 2:10 (ditto); 3:11; 4:4,10: of triumph, Revelation 6:2 ; 9:7 ; 12:1 ; 14:14  (Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words)

Stephanos is used 25 times in the NT. Study the  uses below...

Matthew 27:29 And after weaving a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they kneeled down before Him and mocked Him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!"

Mark 15:17 And they dressed Him up in purple, and after weaving a crown of thorns, they put it on Him;

John 19:2 And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and arrayed Him in a purple robe...5 Jesus therefore came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, "Behold, the Man!"

Acts 6:5 And the statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmeand Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch...8 And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. 9 But some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and argued with Stephen.

Acts 7:59 And they went on stoning Stephen as he called upon the Lord and said, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!"

Acts 8:2 And some devout men buried Stephen, and made loud lamentation over him.

Acts 11:19 So then those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose in connection with Stephen made their way to Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except to Jews alone.

Acts 22:20 'And when the blood of Thy witness Stephen was being shed, I also was standing by approving, and watching out for the cloaks of those who were slaying him.'

1 Corinthians 9:25 And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

Philippians 4:1-note Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, so stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.

1 Thessalonians 2:19-note For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming?

2 Timothy 4:8-note in the future there is laid up 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 loved His appearing.

James 1:12-note Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

1 Peter 5:4-note And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

Revelation 2:10-note 'Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

Revelation 3:11-note 'I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, in order that no one take your crown.

Revelation 4:4-note And around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads...Re 4:10-note the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

Revelation 6:2-note And I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him; and he went out conquering, and to conquer.

Revelation 9:7-note And the appearance of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle; and on their heads, as it were, crowns like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men.

Revelation 12:1-note And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars;

Revelation 14:14-note And I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man, having a golden crown on His head, and a sharp sickle in His hand.

Stephanos should be clearly distinguished from another Greek word diadema (1238) which refers to a kingly crown.

Stephanos is used 29 times in the Septuagint (LXX) (2Sa 12:30; 1Chr. 20:2; Est. 8:15; Job 19:9; 31:36; Ps. 21:3; 65:10; Pr. 1:9; 4:9; 12:4; 14:24; 16:31; 17:6; Song 3:11; Isa. 22:18, 21; 28:1, 3, 5; 62:3; Jer. 13:18; Lam. 2:15; 5:16; Ezek. 16:12; 21:26; 23:42; 28:12; Zech. 6:11, 14)

In the first use of stephanos in the NT, Matthew says that "after weaving a crown (stephanos) of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they kneeled down before Him and mocked Him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews! (Mt 27:29)

Earlier Paul had used the verb form (stephanoo) reminding Timothy that "if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules. (NIV, see note 2 Timothy 2:5)

The stephanos was the only prize ancient Olympic athletes received and thus it was cherished as a great treasure. How much more should we as believers "run with endurance the race that is set before" (He 12:1-note) us, knowing that the Olympic athletes "do it to receive a perishable wreath (stephanos) but we an imperishable." (1Co 9:25-note)

TDNT has a lengthy note on stephanos...

The crown, as a wreath placed around the head, is a sign of life and fertility, and perhaps also a symbol of light. It has a place in the cultus and supposedly wards off evil. The closed crown is used in magic. The crown expresses joy and honor, but also sorrow. It acknowledges excellence.

II. Nature. The simplest crown consists of a bent twig or of two twigs tied together. Wreaths of grass, leaves, or flowers also occur. The Dionysus cult uses ivy, oak, and acanthus, Neptune and Pan wear wreaths of fig leaves, and Zeus of laurel. Soldiers wear crowns at triumphs, and victors wear laurel or olive wreaths. The myrtle signifies love. Roman magistrates wear gold crowns, and Etruscan crowns, also used at Rome, are of precious stones and golden oak

III. Use.
1. The Cultus. In cultic acts priests wear various forms of crowns. Aeneas crowns his brow with twigs when he first treads Roman soil and prays. Crowns are placed on sacrifices and altars, and are even offered in sacrifice. Images are crowned when dedicated to cultic use and on the feasts of the gods. The crown expresses reverence; Empedocles takes it as a mark of veneration when crowned.

2. Oracles. Crowns evoke true dreams. The person who delivers the oracle wears a crown. When Creon comes back crowned after consulting the oracle he is hailed as a messenger of joy. Roman frescoes depict crowned prophetesses.

3. Processions and Feasts. Crowning takes place in relation to prayer-processions. On the New Year feast at Rome houses are adorned with crowns or wreaths. Animals are also crowned or garlanded at various feasts.

4. A Sign of Salvation and Protection. Various examples show that crowns are viewed as signs of protection. Thus Tiberius wears a laurel wreath during thunderstorms. Wreaths are put at the entrances to houses. Crowns also serve as a means of power and protection in the invocation of gods or demons in magic.

5. The Mysteries. Mystagogues bear myrtle branches in the Eleusinian mysteries, and neophytes in the Isis mysteries. A crown is handed to the mystagogue in the dedication ceremonies of Mithras.

6. Political Life. Cultic and political life are closely related, hence it is natural that those who hold national office should he crowned. When politicians give orations in Athens they wear wreaths as a sign of immunity. The Roman emperor, his family, the priests, and state officials all wear crowns in processions.

7. The Games. Held in honor of the gods, sporting festivals culminate when the victors, who struggle hard to win, are crowned with wreaths of laurel, olive, or ivy. The herald calls their names, and the names of their fathers and towns, and then hands over the wreaths. The ceremony ends in their homes, which also bear wreaths. In the final rites they offer their wreaths to the deity.

8. The Army. The Spartans put on crowns before doing battle, perhaps in connection with sacrifice and as a sign of protection. In the Roman army the general wears a crown to purify the troops before battle. The goddess of victory is depicted with a crown, and there are crowns for the victors, whether of grass, oak leaves, or laurel. An ancient Roman custom is to offer prisoners for sale with crowns on; this possibly derives from a Germanic practice of sacrificing prisoners.

9. Private Life.
a. A Sign of Joy and Respect. Various examples illustrate the use of the crown or wreath as a mark of joy or respect.

b. Weddings. It is natural that there should be crownings at weddings. Thus we have depictions of brides with crowns, and the guests at the wedding feast also wear crowns.

c. Symposia. Wreaths adorn the participants at banquets and the ensuing symposia, which are held in honor of various gods. The wreaths express festal joy but also serve to cool the head during drinking. Wreaths are also placed on the bowls and vessels and on the walls of the rooms where the feasts are held.

10. The Cult of the Dead. A common custom is to put wreaths on the dead, on the bier, and on the grave. Permanent wreaths are carved on gravestones and funds are set up for regular adornment with wreaths. The wreaths honor the dead but also protect them against demons. Plato hands down an idea that in Hades there will be a symposium for the righteous at which they will be adorned with crowns. The mysteries promise initiates that in the hereafter they will be adorned with crowns and will enjoy the company of the blessed. (Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W.  Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Eerdmans)

Barclay adds that stephanos had the following associations in the ancient world...

(a) the victor's crown in the games. Smyrna had annual games which were famous all over Asia. As in the Olympic Games, the reward of the victorious athlete was the laurel crown. The Christian can win the crown of victory in the contest of life.

(b) When a man had faithfully performed the work of a magistrate, at the end of his term of office he was granted a crown. He who throughout life faithfully serves Christ and his fellow-men will receive his crown. 

(c) The heathen world was in the habit of wearing crowns, chaplets of flowers, at banquets. At the end of the day, if the Christian is loyal, he will have the joy of sitting as a guest at the banquet of God.  

(d) The heathen worshippers were in the habit of wearing crowns when they approached the temples of their gods. At the end of the day, if he has been faithful, the Christian will have the joy of entering into the nearer presence of God.

(e) Some scholars have seen in this crown a reference to the halo or the nimbus which is round the head of divine beings in pictures. If that is so, it means that the Christian, if he is faithful, will be crowned with the life which belongs to God himself.  The Daily Study Bible Series)

As John said: "We shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is" (1Jn 3:2). In this life it may be that the Christian's loyalty will bring him a crown of thorns, but in the life to come it will surely bring him the crown of righteousness.

Stephanos of course gives us the English name Stephen, the first NT martyr, "the crowned one". How fitting that the "crown" of the laurel wreath was awarded to the one who finished a race. So the crown is to the finisher, 'Stephen' who watched the heavens open (Acts 7:55 56) as his life leaves and says ''Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.'' (Acts 7:59) That is a man who "loved His appearing"!

The kingly crown by contrast is diadema, (diadem) which is only associated with the Lord, for example describing the appearance of the Lord Jesus returning as the King of kings upon Whose "head are many diadems" (Re 19:12-note), His return marking the final defeat of the antichrist at the end of the Great Tribulation.

Scripture also mentions a

crown of life for "a man who perseveres under trial" (James 1:12-note)

the unfading crown of glory (1Peter 5:4-note) for those who "shepherd the flock of God" (1Pe 5:2-note),

our hope or joy or crown of exultation referring to believers whose life we have had a role (1Th 2:19, 20- see notes 1Th 2:19; 20, cf Php 4:1-note), and

a wreath (crown)...imperishable for those who run in the Christian race and are not disqualified (1Co 9:24, 25, 26, 27-note)

The crown of righteousness is a phrase which in the present context is most likely the Greek construction referred to as genitive of apposition, the crown that consists in righteousness and is also the reward for righteousness.

Trench's Synonyms of the New Testament - Crown: Stephanos (Strong's 4735) Crown; diadema (Strong's 1238) - We must not confuse these two words, which are both translated "crown." In classical literature Stephanos does not denote the kingly or imperial crown. Instead, it refers to the crown that symbolized victory in the games, civicworth, military valor, nuptial joy, and festal gladness. A Stephanos was woven of oak, ivy, parsley, myrtle, olive, or gold leaves, which imitated these plants, and of flowers such as violets or roses. A stephanos was a "wreath" or "garland" but never the emblem or sign of royalty.

A diadema was a "token of kingdom," a white linen band or fillet that encircled the brow. The phrase peritithenai diadema ("to put on a crown") commonly indicated the assumption of royal dignity. In Latin only the "diadema" is the "mark of kings." Selden's comments on the distinction between "crowns" and "diadems" also agree with this.

However those names have been from ancient time confounded, yet the diadem strictly was a very different thing from what a crown now is or was; and it was no other than only a fillet of silk, linen, or some such thing. Nor appears it that any other kind of crown was used for a royal ensign, except only in some kingdoms of Asia, but this kind of fillet, until the beginning of Christianity in the Roman Empire.

Another passage in Plutarch confirms this distinction. The kingly crown offered by Antonius to Caesar is described as "a crown [diadema] woven with a wreath [stephano] of laurel." Here Stephanos refers to the garland or laureate wreath that is woven into the diadem proper. Indeed, according to Cicero, Caesar was already coronatus (that is, wreathed, which is equivalent to estephanomenos) as a consul when the offer was made. This distinction helps to explain Suetonius's version of the same incident. Someone placed "a laurel wreath [coronam] bound with white bands" on Caesar's statue. The tribunes did not command the removal of the corona (wreath) but of the fascia, or diadem, which alone suggested Caesar's traitorous claim to kingship.

The accuracy of the distinction made in the Septuagint and Apocrypha between diadema and Stephanos may be seen by comparing the passages in 1Maccabees where diadema is employed and those where Stephanos appears. Compare these with Isaiah 62:3, where Israel shall be "a crown [Stephanos] of glory" and "a royal diadem [diadema]."

In the New Testament, Paul always used Stephanos to refer to the conqueror's, not the king's, crown. Although 1Peter 5:4 does not necessarily allude directly to the Greek games, it still contrasts the wreaths of heaven that never fade with the garlands of earth that quickly lose their beauty and freshness. It is unlikely that other New Testament passages that use Stephanos refer to the Greek games, for there was a long-standing Jewish antipathy to them as idolatrous and profane. To have used imagery that referred to the prizes awarded at these games would have repelled, not attracted, the Jewish members of the church. In those passages the Stephanos, or the "crown [Stephanos] of life," is not the emblem of royalty but of highest joy and gladness and of glory and immortality. On the three occasions where John referred to kingly crowns, he employed diadema. Revelation 19:12 depicts Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, with the words "on his head were many crowns." This phrase would be difficult to understand if the crowns were similar to those worn by present monarchs, but the meaning is immediately apparent if they are "diadems," the narrow fillets that encircle the brow. The "many diadems" will be the tokens of Christ's many kingdomsearth, heaven, and hell (Philippians 2:10). Satan, the usurper of these kingdoms and of their honors, has his own seven diadems (Revelation 13:1), but Christ will rightfully assume his lordship. This may be illustrated by the earthly example of Ptolemy, king of Egypt. When he entered Antioch in triumph, he set two "crowns," or rather "diadems" (diademata), on his head, the "diadem" of Asia and the "diadem" of Egypt (1 Maccabees 11:13). In Diodorus Siculus (1.47) we read of a queen "having three kingdoms on her head." The context plainly shows that these are three diadems, the symbols of a triple royalty.

The only occasion where Stephanos may refer to a kingly crown is Matthew 27:29 (cf. Mark 15:17; John 19:2). The soldiers mocked Jesus' royalty by placing a crown of thorns (stephanos akanthinos) on his head. The nature of the woven materials, perhaps the Juncus marinus (rush from the sea) or the Lycium spinosum (a prickly thorn bush) would make the word diadema inappropriate, though this word was fit for the purpose the soldiers had in mind. (
Trench's Synonyms of the New Testament)

+++

As we daily present our "members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification" (Ro 6:19- note) we are working "out (our) salvation" (Phil 2:12-note) and this process equates with sanctification or experiential righteousness. At the completion of our life Christ's righteousness will be perfected in us. To say it another way, when death ends the process of sanctification and we enter glorification, the experiential righteousness is consummated in perfect positional righteousness. When we have finished our course, we will receive the unfading crown of righteousness from the Lord’s Himself, the righteous Judge. So here the crown Paul is referring to is the righteousness of the Redeemer granted in full perfection to the glorified believer, for as John writes "when He appears, we shall be like Him." (1Jn 3:2-note), glorified and eternally clothed in His perfect righteousness.

THE RELATIONSHIP OF JUSTIFICATION,
SANCTIFICATION & GLORIFICATION

(Positional vs Experiential Righteousness)

   #2     GOD'S RIGHTEOUSNESS          #3

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 J                                                          O

 U                                                      I

 S                                                              T

 T                                           A

 I                                       C

 F                                  I

 I                              F

 C                                  I

 A                          T

 T               C

 I           N

 O      A

 N S    MAN'S SINFULNESS                           
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  #1

Point 1 marks conversion or regeneration, which the Bible equates with JUSTIFICATION or past tense salvation (Ro 5:1-note) (saved from the penalty of sin and positionally from the power of sin - Ro 6:11-note Ro 6:14-note which is a truth that is worked out in sanctification - see below) which takes place the moment a person believes in the Lord Jesus Christ (Ro 10:9,10-notes). The line from 1 to 2 is not a process but is a change of POSITION effected by God -- believers are declared positionally righteous when they are justified by faith, signifying the once-for-all reckoning (or imputation) of Christ's perfect righteousness to the sinful believer's "spiritual account" (Ro 4:6-note). The believer's position or standing before God (POINT 2) is now complete and perfect the moment he or she believes, because Christ has been made his or her righteousness (1Cor 1:30;  cf 2Cor 5:21). At no time in this life or in the life to come will his or her status in terms of righteousness be any greater or lesser because "in Him (we) have been made complete" (Col 2:10-note). This description is often referred to by theologians as positional righteousness.

Once God has justified an individual (point 1), He begins a process of growth in Christ-likeness referred to as SANCTIFICATION (from point 1 to point 3) or present tense salvation (1Cor 1:18) (being saved daily from the power and practice of sin - Ro 6:12, 13-note) which equates with Practical or Experiential Righteousness (related descriptions include growth in Christ-likeness, progressive sanctification, growth in holiness). This process is not simply "Let go and Let God" but involves the believer's active cooperation with God to continually

work out (present imperative = command demanding our continual attention) (our) salvation with fear and trembling for it is God Who is at work (present tense = continually) in (us), both to will and to work (present tense = continually) for His good pleasure. (Phil 2:12-note; Phil 2:12-note)

So while justification is a one time event, sanctification is a process in which God's Spirit daily sets us apart (compare the same idea = "being transformed...from glory to glory...from the Lord, the Spirit" 2Cor 3:18) from the world and unto Himself (To be made holy means to be set apart from the common and profane and to God for His use).

When we die (or are raptured-see Rapture vs Second Coming) we arrive at Point 3, which is GLORIFICATION or future tense salvation (1Pe 1:15-note, 1Pe1:13-note, Ro 8:23- note) (saved from the presence and pleasure of sin) which is a once for all point in time in which the process of sanctification is consummated. The saint experiences perfect sanctification and righteousness because he or she is now fully "conformed to the image of His Son" (Ro 8:29-note). This occurs at death (or rapture) when we enter into the assembly "to the spirits of righteous men made perfect" (He 12:23-note, 1Jn 3:2-note). Then at Point 3 for the first time the believer's actual state in terms of RIGHTEOUSNESS will conform to the status conferred at justification (the line from 1 to 2). This truth helps us understand Paul's declaration that

we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness (Gal 5:5)

Hope is the firm assurance that God will do good to me in the future and is the state of glory is finally arrived at when we reach Point #3, (cp 1Co 15:52, 53, 54, Ro 8:30-note) at which time our positional righteousness will then be identical with our practical righteousness for all eternity. We will receive the crown of righteousness from our Lord. (Adapted and modified from Gaebelein, F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament. Zondervan Publishing)

WHICH THE LORD THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGE:  o kurios en ekeine te hemera ho dikaios krites: (2Ti 4:1 Ge 18:25; Ps 7:11;Jn 5:22 Acts 17:31 Ro 2:5;2Cor 5:10 2Thes 1:5 1:6 Rev 19:11)

Other translations - a fair judge (GWT),  the upright judge (BBE), the just Umpire [the umpire who is always fair and never makes a mistake] (Wuest). 

Righteous (1342) Judge (2923) " is the second mention of Judge in this chapter, the first (2Ti 4:1-note) giving Timothy a solemn warning but here giving an encouraging motivation. The picture in the present context then is not so much of a judge on a judicial bench but of an Umpire or Referee at the athletic games, a just and upright Umpire Who stands at the finish line ready to award the victor's crown to the athlete who has completed his course and having done so "according to the rules". (2Ti 2:5-note)

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The Umpire - In his book Men At Work, columnist George Will mentions the firm justice meted out by baseball umpires. He writes, "Toughness is not enough, but it is necessary. Once when Babe Pinelli called Babe Ruth out on strikes, Ruth made a populist argument. Ruth reasoned fallaciously (as populists do) from raw numbers to moral weight: 'There's 40,000 people here who know that last one was a ball, tomato head.' Pinelli replied with the measured stateliness of John Marshall: 'Maybe so, but mine is the only opinion that counts.'"

The apostle Paul knew that at the end of our days only one opinion will matter--that of the ultimate Umpire, the "righteous Judge" before whom we play the game of life (2Ti 4:8).

As he wrote his second letter to Timothy, Paul was sitting in a cold, damp dungeon. Like an athlete who had spent his strength to win the prize, Paul had persevered. During his 30 years of ministry, a thousand voices had urged him to cheat in the race, throw in the towel, compromise the faith. But Paul had decided that he would not listen to the voices of the crowd. He had only one Judge to please. He was ready to meet the Umpire of the universe. Are you ready to meet Him too? Haddon W. Robinson  (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Just live your life before your Lord,
It matters not what others do--
Your actions will be weighed by Him
Who metes out judgment just and true. --Rae

God's verdict is the one that counts.

WILL AWARD TO ME ON THAT DAY: on apodosei (3SFAI) moi o kurios en ekeine te hemera: (2Ti 1:12,1:18 Mal 3:17; Mt 7:22; 24:36; Lk 10:12; 1Th 5:4 Rev 22:12)

Other translations - will give me that prize on that day" (GWT), will give me on that great day of his return" (NLT)

Will award (591) (apodidomi from apó = from + didomi = give and so to "give off” from one’s self)  literally means to give back, then to put away by giving and then in a more figurative sense to pay back or recompense.

Apodidomi can mean to give back or pay back (implying a debt  and conveying the idea of obligation and responsibility for something that is not optional) and was a technical term for repaying a debt (Mt 18:25, 20:8, 21:41) It means to pay back, implying a debt. The papyri uses apodidomi to describe the paying of debt or restoring of a due of any kind.

In the middle voice the idea of apodidomi is to give up something one possesses for sale or to give away for one's own profit what is one's own and thus to sell (Acts 5:8, 7:9, Lxx = Ge 25:31, 33, of Joseph sold by his brothers Ge 37:27, 28, cf Ge 37:36)

Paul uses apodidomi of husbands in the sense of fulfilling one’s duty (1Co 7:3)

To repay or recompense (divine or human), for example as a reward, where such a reward could be either positive or negative, depending upon what the individual deserves (Mt 6:4, 6, 18; 16:27; Ro 2:6; 12:17; 1Th 5:15; 1Ti 5:4; 2Ti 4:8, 14; 1Pe 3:9; Rev 18:6; 22:12)

TDNT summarizes apodidomi as...

a. “To give or do something in fulfilment of an obligation or expectation,” e.g., Mt. 20:8 (reward), 21:41 (fruits), Mk. 12:17 (taxes), Mt. 27:58 (Jesus’ body), Heb. 12:11 (fruit).

b. “To repay as reward or punishment”: divine retribution in Mt. 6:4; Rom. 2:6; Rev. 22:12; human retribution in 1 Tim. 5:4.

c. “To give back what has been received or kept” (Lk. 4:20 etc.).

d. “To sell” (Acts 5:8; 7:9; Heb. 12:16)

The thought of divine retribution in the NT sets us impressively under threat and promise. This retribution is future and carries the promise of love and forgiveness as well as judgment. It brings out the personal nature of the relation with God. We do not do good for good’s sake but out of love of God and in recognition that we are his. It thus belongs to our very being to be subject to retribution. It is love that posits a creature that is under retribution. Only because of sin does retribution work against us. But since the root is in love, forgiveness is not incompatible with retribution. How God conjoins the two is the secret of his majesty, with which faith enjoys fellowship, but only in subjection to its holiness. (Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W.  Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Eerdmans)

NIDNTT notes that in Classic Greek apodidomi was used from the time of Homer and meant "primarily to give up, render (Diod. Sic. 14, 84, 2), or, to give back (Xen., Hell. 2, 2, 9). In the middle voice it means accordingly to sell. Hence it acquired the specific meaning of giving something up which one must give up because of some kind of obligation (thus to pay out a wage, Xen., Anab. 1, 2, 12; to pay one’s vow, Xen., Mem. 2, 2, 10). This gives the word the technical sense to render, requite, in both good and bad senses (Dion. Hal., 6, 73). (Brown, Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan )

Deissmann in "Light from the Ancient East" says that ""a stereotyped formula in these documents (papyrus documents in which the debtor writes down his acknowledgment of debt) is the promise to pay back the borrowed money, "I will repay" (generally apodoso, from apodidomi) and they are all in the debtor's own hand (hence the technical name, "hand-writing," "writing by hand" [cf. English "note of hand"]) or if he could not write, in the handwriting of another acting for him with the express remark, 'I have written for him.'"

Apodidomi - 48 uses in the NT (note frequency of use in synoptic gospels) - Mt. 5:26, Mt 5:33; Mt 6:4, Mt 6:6, Mt 6:18; Mt 12:36; 16:27; 18:25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 34; 20:8; 21:41; 22:21; 27:58; Mk 12:17; Lk. 4:20; 7:42; 9:42; 10:35; 12:59; 16:2; 19:8; 20:25; Acts 4:33; 5:8; 7:9; 19:40; Ro 2:6; 12:17; 13:7; 1Co. 7:3; 1Th 5:15; 1Ti 5:4; 2Ti 4:8, 14; He 12:11, 16; 13:17; 1Pe 3:9; 4:5; Re 18:6; Re 22:2, Re 22:12

NAS renders apodidomi - account*(1), award(1), fulfill(2), gave...back(2), give(4), give back(1), given(1), giving(1), make some return(1), must(1), paid(3), pay(2), pay...back(1), pay back(3), render(6), repay(8), repayment to be made(1), repays(1), returning(1), reward(3), sold(3), yielding(1), yields(1).

Here are the uses of apodidomi...

Matthew 5:26-note "Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last cent.


Matthew 5:33-
note  "Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, 'YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FALSE VOWS, BUT SHALL FULFILL YOUR VOWS TO THE LORD.'

 

Comment: To fulfill, carry out, put into effect or accomplish what was intended or that which is one’s duty to someone as in keeping a vow.


Matthew 6:4-
note  so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

 

Comment: Vincent: "The preposition apo indicates receipt in full. Rev. renders they have received, so that there is nothing more to receive. So Wycliffe. 'They have received their meed.'" Rienecker "to give back, to repay, to reward. Fut. is used to express the protasis of a Semitic condition.: “Do this and this will follow".


Matthew 6:6-
note  "But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.


Matthew 6:18-
note  so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.


Matthew 12:36 "But I tell you that every careless word (
rhema) that people speak, they shall give an accounting (logos) for it in the day of judgment.

 

Comment: UBS "To render account means to explain why things were said. The explanation will be before God, so the sentence can be “People are going to have to tell God why they said every useless word they did.”"

 

Louw-Nida "a marker of an agent relation with a numerable event, with the probable implication of some transfer involved"


Matthew 16:27 "For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS. (cp Re 22:12-
note)

 

Comment: Jesus quotes from the Septuagint of Psalm 62:12 "And lovingkindness is Yours, O Lord, for You recompense (Heb = shalem = to complete; Lxx = apodidomi) a man according to his work."


Matthew 18:25 "But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. 26 "So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.'...28 "But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, 'Pay back what you owe.' 29 "So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you.'30 "But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed.

 

Comment: This parable is in response to Peter's question regarding how often one should forgive (Mt 18:21) to which Jesus responded "seventy times seven" (Mt 18:22)

 

Mt 18:34 "And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers (jailers) until he should repay all that was owed him.

 

Comment: This is what unforgiveness will do to you -- put you in prison figuratively speaking.

 

Matthew 20:8 "When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last group to the first.'


Matthew 21:41 They said to Him, "He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons."


Matthew 22:21 They said to Him, "Caesar's." Then He said to them, "Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God the things that are God's."


Matthew 27:58 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him.


Mark 12:17 And Jesus said to them, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." And they were amazed at Him.

 

Comment: "give back, return." We are to give back to the government in taxes for the services we have received, and we are to give back to God what belongs to Him—the human soul.


Luke 4:20 And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him.


Luke 7:42 "When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave (
charizomai ) them both. So which of them will love him more?"

 

Comment: Even as our sins against God are considered as debts we "owe" Him, so too, sins of others against us are considered "debts" they owe us. When believers empowered by the Spirit choose to grant unmerited favor (grace forgiving which is the meaning of charizomai), we in essence "cancel the debt" (aphiemi = send it away)  the offending party owes us. The importance of all believers maintaining a forgiving spirit cannot be overemphasized, for unforgiveness will place the unforgiving party in a prison in which they will be "tortured and tormented" until they make the choice to forgive (cf Mt 18:34, 35). For more discussion of this vitally important topic of forgiveness/unforgiveness see the notes on Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:13, Matthew 6:12. (Cf Words for forgive/forgiveness - Forgiveness = aphesis; Forgive [send away from, cancel the debt, release, let go] = aphiemi; Forgive [grant, freely give, bestow] charizomai) As discussed in those notes, the number one problem in Christian churches in America is UNFORGIVENESS (from Bryon Paulus, director of Life Action Revival Ministries, a revival oriented ministry, who based his conclusion is based on their experience with 100's of churches and millions of believers over the past several decades). It follows that it behooves every shepherd to (in my humble opinion) to lead his flock at least once a year back into the green pastures and refreshing waters of the doctrinal truths on forgiveness (doctrine directs duty, revelation calls for a reasoned response, creed calls for conscious conduct, precepts precede and lead to appropriate practice), so that the sheep might be set free from their entrapment in the "brambles and thorns" wrought by a spirit of unforgiveness. I dare say that there would be families and marriages restored and revived, "factious friends" once again made friends, walls of resentment ripped down by the Word and Spirit of Truth, etc, etc. Jesus came to set the captives free (cf Lk 4:18, Jn 8:31, 32, 36) and unforgiveness is the number "prison" of each person's own making, and will yield rotten fruit "until" the debt has been paid from the heart (cf Mt 18:34, 35).

 

Luke 9:42 While he was still approaching, the demon slammed him to the ground and threw him into a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the boy and gave him back to his father.


Luke 10:35 "On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.'


Luke 12:59 "I say to you, you will not get out of there until you have paid the very last cent."


Luke 16:2 "And he called him and said to him, 'What is this I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, for you can no longer be manager.'


Luke 19:8 Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much."


Luke 20:25 And He said to them, "Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."


Acts 4:33 And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.


Acts 5:8 And Peter responded to her, "Tell me whether you sold the land for such and such a price?" And she said, "Yes, that was the price."


Acts 7:9 "The patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold (
middle voice) him into Egypt. Yet God was with him (Ge 37:12-36),


Acts 19:40 "For indeed we are in danger of being accused of a riot in connection with today's events, since there is no real cause for it, and in this connection we will be unable to (give - not translated in NAS = apodidomi; cp Ac 19:10KJV) account for this disorderly gathering."


Romans 2:6-
note  who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: (cp similar intent in Septuagint use in Isa 65:6, 7, 66:15)


Romans 12:17-
note  Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.


Romans 13:7-
note  Render (aorist imperative) to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

 

Comment: Ralph Earle says apodidomi "means "give up or back, restore, return"; and so "to render what is due, to pay" (A-S). Deissmann shows that this word was used regularly in the papyri for a promise to pay back borrowed money. The emphasis is on the payment of a debt (LAE, p. 331). The NT consistently teaches that taxes are a debt which one owes the gov­ernment, and that paying them is therefore a le­gal and moral obligation."

 

John MacArthur "Apodidomi (render) carries the idea of paying back something that is owed, and that meaning is reinforced by the phrase what is due them. Taxes are not voluntary or optional offerings given for the support of government, and paying them is the unqualified obligation of every citizen. Christians not only have a moral but a spiritual responsibility to pay taxes, because they know, or should know, that God requires it of them. Cheating on taxes is a crime against government and a sin against God." (MacArthur, J: Romans 9-16. Chicago: Moody Press)


1 Corinthians 7:3 The husband must
fulfill (apodidomi - present imperative) his duty (opheilo) to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband.

 

Comment: Rienecker "Present imperative indicates habitual duty (Morris). The rabbis required that the marriage partners have regular sexual relations w. one another; generally on Friday night, which was the Sabbath."


1 Thessalonians 5:15-
note  See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.


1 Timothy 5:4 but if any widow has children or grandchildren, they must first learn to practice piety in regard to their own family and to make some return to their parents; for this is acceptable in the sight of God.

 

Comment: The idea “to give off from” one’s self and so discharging one’s obligations, since a debt like a burden, is thrown off.


2 Timothy 4:8-
note  in the future there is laid up 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 loved His appearing.

 

Comment: Ellicott says "Preposition in compound does not necessarily convey any sense of due. Here the prep. only seems to allude to the reward having been laid up and being taken out of some reserve treasure."


2 Timothy 4:14-
note  Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.


Hebrews 12:11-
note All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

 

Comment: Vincent says in this connection, “perhaps with a suggestion of recompense for the longsuffering and waiting.” Vine says apodidomi " means to give back; that is, it produces a return for that which has been ministered in discipline."


Hebrew 12:16-
note  that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal.


Hebrews 13:17-
note  Obey (present imperative) your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account (logos). Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.


1 Peter 3:9-
note  not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.

 

1 Peter 4:5-note  but they will give (apodidomi) account (logos) to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.


Revelation 18:6-
note  "Pay her back even as she has paid, and give back to her double according to her deeds; in the cup which she has mixed, mix twice as much for her.


Revelation 22:2-
note  in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.


Revelation 22:12-
note  "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.

Apodidomi - 148x in the Septuagint (LXX) - Ge 20:7, 14 (of restoring Abraham's wife); Ge 25:31, 33; 29:21; 30:26; 37:22, 27f, 36; 42:25, 28, 34; 45:4f; 47:20, 22; Ex 5:18; 20:5; 21:7, 16, 35; 22:1, 26, 30; 23:4; Lev 6:4f; 25:14ff, 25, 27ff, 50ff; 26:4, 26; 27:20, 23f, 28; Num 5:7f; 8:13, 15f, 19, 21; 14:18; 18:9; 21:29; 31:3; 36:2; Deut 2:28; 5:9; 7:10; 14:21, 25; 22:1f; 23:21; 24:7, 13, 15; 28:31; 32:30; Judg 2:14; 3:8; 4:2, 9; 10:7; 17:3f; 1 Sam 6:3f, 8, 17; 7:14; 12:3, 9; 2 Sam 3:14; 22:25; 1 Kgs 20:34; 2 Kgs 4:7; 2 Chr 6:23; 34:16, 28; Neh 5:12; 10:31; Esth 8:12; Job 22:25, 27; 24:20; 31:37; 33:26; 34:11; 39:12; Ps 22:25; 28:4; 44:12; 50:14; 51:12; 55:20; 56:12; 61:8; 62:11; 65:1; 66:13; 76:11; 79:12; 94:2, 23; 116:18; Prov 7:14; 17:13; 24:12; 28:21; 31:24; Eccl 5:4f; Isa 19:21; 26:12; 42:22; 65:6f; 66:15; Jer 22:13; 32:18; Lam 3:64f; Ezek 18:7, 12; 33:15; 46:17; Dan 4:34, 36; 6:2; 8:25; Joel 3:6ff; Amos 2:6; Jonah 2:9; Nah 1:15. Here are some representative uses of apodidomi...

Genesis 29:21 Then Jacob said to Laban, "Give (Command in the Lxx = apodidomi = as "payment that was due") me my wife, for my time is completed, that I may go in to her." (same idea in Ge 30:26 the idea being that Laban owed Jacob)

Psalm 22:25-note From You comes my praise in the great assembly; I shall pay my vows before those who fear Him.

Comment: When asking the LORD for help, the psalmists would typically promise to praise the LORD publicly if he intervened and delivered them (NET Bible Note)

Psalm 50:14-note "Offer (qal imperative) to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving and pay (Lxx = apodidomi)  your vows to the Most High; (Used in the same way with idea of repaying one's vow - Ps 22:25, 61:8, 66:13, 116:18, Eccl 5:4,5, Is 19:21)

Psalm 51:12-note Restore (Hiphil imperative - Hebrew = chadash = renew, repair, renovate, like an altar 1Sa 11:14 and here figuratively = revitalize to a state or condition identical or nearly the same as the prior state; Lxx = apodidomi in aorist imperative) to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit.

Psalm 76:11-note Make vows to the LORD your God and fulfill (Heb = shalem = pay them back; Lxx = apodidomi) them; Let all who are around Him bring gifts to Him who is to be feared.

Psalm 94:2-note Rise up (imperative), O Judge of the earth, Render (Lxx = apodidomi in aorist imperative) recompense to the proud.

Psalm 94:23-note He has brought back (Lxx = apodidomi) their wickedness upon them And will destroy them in their evil; The LORD our God will destroy them.

Proverbs 17:13 He who returns (Lxx = apodidomi)  evil for good, Evil will not depart from his house.

Jeremiah 22:13 "Woe to him who builds his house without righteousness And his upper rooms without justice, Who uses his neighbor's services without pay And does not give (Lxx = apodidomi)  him his wages,

Jeremiah 32:18 (Lord God, Je 32:17) Who shows lovingkindness to thousands, but repays (Heb = shalem = pay them back; Lxx = apodidomi)  the iniquity of fathers into the bosom of their children after them, O great and mighty God. The LORD of hosts is His name;

In the present context in 2Timothy 4:8 apodidomi refers to the award for faithful service from our Lord and Master Jesus, Who "will render (apodidomi)  to every man according to his deeds (Ro 2:6-note)

Wuest pictures "Paul, the spiritual athlete, his victory won, is resting at the goal posts, awaiting the award which the judge’s stand will give him. (Wuest

MacArthur comments that "Christ knows the value or inferiority of our service because His judgment is perfect. Christ will recompense us with the general reward of eternal righteousness and Christ-likeness, and any specific reward for our faithful service" for "on that day" the "righteous Judge" will "bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts and then each man's praise will come to him from God." (1Cor 4:5) for "each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire." (1Cor 3:13 14,15, Mt 25:29)

In the last chapter of the Revelation, Jesus reiterates the truth of divine reward which should cause all God's servants to search their hearts and motives and deeds "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render (apodidomi) to every man according to what he has done. (Rev 22:12-note)

MacArthur adds that "Selfishly motivated good deeds  (Ed note: "bad" [see word study on phaulos] or worthless deeds 2Cor 5:10-note ~ "wood, hay, and stubble" 1Cor 3:12) may be of great help to other people and may be used by God for His glory, but they will merit no reward for the doer.

MacArthur goes on to illustrate this principle "In 1904, William Borden, a member of the Borden dairy family, finished high school in Chicago and was given a world cruise as a graduation present. Particularly while traveling through the Near East and Far East, he became heavily burdened for the lost. After returning home, he spent seven years at Princeton University, the first four in undergraduate work and the last three in seminary. While in school, he penned these words in the back of his Bible: “No reserves.” Although his family pleaded with him to take control of the business, which was foundering, he insisted that God’s call to the mission field had priority. After disposing of his wealth, he added “No retreat” after “No reserves.” On his way to China to witness to Muslims there, he contracted cerebral meningitis in Egypt and died within a month. After his death, someone looking through his Bible discovered these final words: “No regrets.” He knew that the Lord does not require success, only faithfulness...good work that is sincerely intended but not completed through no fault of the doer will merit a sincere doer’s reward, because it is the heart that God weighs. William Borden accomplished virtually none of the ministry he had envisioned, having been cut off by death even before he reached his field of service. But his final declaration of “No regrets” was well founded in the assurance that he had genuinely sought and faithfully obeyed the Lord’s will." (bolding added)

+++

THAT DAY
WHAT DAY?

On that day - as discussed above this time phrase (see expressions of time) almost certainly refers to the Judgment (Bema) Seat of Christ at which "we must all appear...that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad (worthless)" (2Cor 5:10 cf Ro 14:10, 11, 12- notes Ro 14:10; 11; 12) (See Synopsis of End Time Judgments and Table comparing Rapture vs Second Coming)

Paul earlier had alluded to this day exulting that the Lord

is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day (2Ti 1:12-note)

Paul prayed for Onesiphorus that the

Lord grant to him to find mercy from the Lord on that day" when he would be recompensed for faithful "services he rendered at Ephesus" (2Ti 1:18-note)

Life is the seedtime for eternity.
What are you planting?

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THE REAL MEANING OF REAL LIFE - Every year thousands of people commit suicide; in fact, the number of such deaths has been increasing at an alarming rate. The reason is not difficult to discover. Most educated people who do not know Jesus Christ believe we are the accidental products of evolution. They say there is nothing that has lasting value, and our actions whether good or bad are not of eternal conse­quence. In other words, they reject the idea of Heaven or Hell after death. As a result, most of these individuals are wretchedly unhappy, even though they may give themselves quite unreserved­ly to sensual pleasures. Without faith in God, life is absurd, tragic, and meaningless. Although it is popular to think in terms of living without God, it is becoming increasingly evident that human beings, created in the likeness and image of God, cannot live with such a concept

We see evidence of this in modern art. Many of us have laughed as we stood before such so-called "masterpieces." All we could see was an apparently meaningless mixture of lines, blots, and blurs. Yet these works are considered great from the artistic point of view because through them the painter has expressed his utter frustration with life as he sees it. They exhibit the feelings of his tortured soul. Indeed, some artists have committed suicide right after the completion of such a painting. The world is going mad because men who have been made for God are trying to live without Him!

How utterly different was Paul's concept. Because of Jesus Christ, life for him had real meaning. He looked forward to Heaven where he would receive a glorious reward for earthly faithfulness (2Ti 4:8). If you know Christ, thank God for the difference He makes. Then share this good news with others. (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

"To live is Christ," and death is "gain,"
If for the Lord we spend each day!
"Redeem the time" —'tis God's own gift,
Let us not squander it away!
—Bosch

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What Matters Most - In the mid-1970s, Ed Roberts created the world's first commercially successful personal computer (PC). He hired a 19-year-old named Bill Gates to write software for him.

Roberts sold his computer business in 1977 and bought a farm. Seven years later, at the age of 41, he entered medical school. Today Bill Gates is the head of the largest software company in the world. Ed Roberts is a physician in a small Georgia town.

Roberts says, "The implication is that the PC is the most important thing I've ever done, and I don't think that's true. Every day I deal with things that are equally if not more important here with my patients."

How can we evaluate the significance of our lives? Something deep inside tells us that such a thing cannot be measured by wealth and fame.

As we look at the apostle Paul's turbulent life, it seems noteworthy that he approached the end with a peaceful sense of successful completion. He wrote, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2Ti 4:7). Paul looked confidently not to the world but to "the Lord, the righteous Judge," for approval and reward (2Ti 4:8).

How do you measure the significance of your life? Only God can tell you what matters most. — David C. McCasland (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Since sooner than later we'll face our Creator,
Whose gaze pierces through to the heart,
Let's make sure our dreams, our goals, and grand schemes
Have Christ in our plans from the start. —Gustafson

The measure of a life
is determined by the Ruler of the universe.

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THE SIGNIFICANCE OF A LIFE - In the mid-1970s, Ed Roberts created the world's first commercially successful personal computer (PC). He hired a 19-year-old named Bill Gates to write software for him. Roberts sold his computer business in 1977 and bought a farm. Seven years later, at the age of 41, he entered medical school. Today Bill Gates is the head of the largest software company in the world. Ed Roberts is a physician in a small Georgia town. Roberts says

The implication is that the PC is the most important thing I've ever done, and I don't think that's true. Every day I deal with things that are equally if not more important here with my patients.

How can we evaluate the significance of our lives? Something deep inside tells us that such a thing cannot be measured by wealth and fame. As we look at the apostle Paul's turbulent life, it seems noteworthy that he approached the end with a peaceful sense of successful completion. He wrote, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2Ti 4:7). Paul looked confidently not to the world but to "the Lord, the righteous Judge," for approval and reward (2Ti 4:8).

How do you measure the significance of your life? Only God can tell you what matters most. --D C McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved) (Bolding and color added)

Since sooner than later we'll face our Creator,
Whose gaze pierces through to the heart,
Let's make sure our dreams, our goals, and grand schemes
Have Christ in our plans from the start. --Gustafson

The measure of a life
is determined by the Ruler of the universe

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He Read His Own Obituary! - Alfred Nobel opened his newspaper one morning in 1888 and was shocked to read his own obituary. The fact was that Nobel’s brother had died, and a careless reporter had put the wrong man in the story. The incident left Nobel deeply disturbed for more than the obvious reasons. Through the erroneous obituary, he saw himself as the world saw him--a wealthy Swedish industrialist whose most enduring legacy was the invention of dynamite. Resolving to do something that would uphold his cherished ideals, Nobel used a portion of his great wealth to establish prizes that would reward people whose work benefited humanity. The Nobel Prizes were first awarded in 1901, and today they are still considered the most esteemed prizes in the world. The soul-searching that Alfred Nobel underwent as he reviewed his life is the same kind of self-examination Christians need to make regularly. Paul urged the Corinthians, “Examine yourselves” (2Cor. 13:5).

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Living For Eternity - In a letter to his brother, agnostic Robert G. Ingersoll reflected on his life. He wrote, "I feel that we have passed the crown of the hill, and that the milestones are getting nearer and nearer each other, and now and then I catch glimpses of the great wall where the road ends. A little while ago, I pressed forward; now I hold back. In youth we woo the future and clasp her like a bride; in age we denounce her as a fair and beautiful liar and wonder at the ease with which we were duped. Pursuing that which eludes, gazing at that which fades, hoping for the impossible, regretting that which is, fearing that which must be, and with [nothing] worth having save the bliss of love. And in the red heart of this white flower there is this pang: 'It cannot last.'"

Compare those depressing words with the statement of Paul, who looked to the close of life with confidence because he knew Christ: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day" (2Tim. 4:7,8).

Do you know Jesus as your Savior? Are you living for Him? Then you can anticipate a glorious future! — Richard De Haan

God leads us in the path of righteousness
For His name's sake, and as we walk that way
We know it leads at last to heaven above,
To which our souls will rise one glorious day. --Hess

What we go after here
determines where we go hereafter.

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AND NOT ONLY TO ME BUT TO ALL WHO HAVE LOVED HIS APPEARING: ou monon de emoi alla kai pasi tois egapekosi (RAPMPD) ten epiphaneian autou:  (Ro 8:23; 1Co 2:9; 2Co 5:2; 1Th 1:10; Titus 2:13; Heb 9:28; Rev 1:7; 22:20)

Other translations - also to everyone who is eagerly waiting for Him to come again (GWT), to all those who have had love for His revelation (BBE), to all those who have loved His appearing and as a result have their love fixed on it.  (Wuest), but to all those who have waited with love for him to come again (ICB), all who have loved and longed for His appearance (Moffatt), to all those who have had love for his revelation (BBE), who have loved His forthshining (Rhm), who have set their hearts on His coming (NEB), who have loved the thought of His appearing (WNT), who have yearned for and welcomed His appearing [His return] (Amp), "having fallen in love" with His appearing (Hodges)

John Wesley said that "only a real Christian can" truly love and look forward to Christ's appearing.

A PROPER PERSPECTIVE
PROMOTES PERSEVERANCE
IN PERSECUTION

Mark it down beloved - If you are looking for and hoping for and loving for and living for the return of the Lover of your soul, your heavenly Bridegroom, you will be anchored firmly when the winds of persecution come, for they are a prophetic promise to all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus (2Ti 3:12-note). Proper perspective produces perseverance in persecution. Contrast Demas a man who fixed his eyes, his hope and his heart on the passing pleasures of this godless world system (2Ti 4:10-note).

What (Who) you are LOVING determines what (Who) you are LOOKING for and in turn what (Who) you are LIVING for and finally for what (or Whom) you are willing to LAY DOWN YOUR LIFE! (2Ti 4:6-note)

Loved (25) (agapao [word study]) describes God's love "which has been poured out within...hearts (of believers) through the Holy Spirit" (Ro 5:5-note) and which is manifest by a believer's love for his or her Lord's appearing and by their obedience. Jesus instructed His disciples "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments" (cf Jn 14:15) and "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word...He who does not love Me does not keep My words..." (Jn 14:23, 24)

In the immediate context Paul's actions in (2Ti 4:7) are a clear indication of his love for Christ's appearing and are in striking contrast to Demas in (2Ti 4:10-note) who loved (agapao) this present world.

A disciple of Christ is not to

love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him (1Jn 2:15-note)

John writes that love is the mark of a genuine disciple of Christ...

Beloved, let us love (present tense) one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves (present tense - as the general direction of their life, not perfection) is born of God and knows God. (1Jn 4:7, cp Jn 13:35)

Isaiah records that

the LORD longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice. How blessed are all those who long for (Hebrew = hakah = to wait for, to tarry, to long or hope for; Septuagint = emmeno = to remain true to, in the present tense = continue cleave to, to persevere, to stand fast or by) Him." (Isaiah 30:18)

Agapao is in the perfect tense which indicates they had fixed their love on Christ's appearing at some time in the past and were still in that condition. Thus the perfect tense speaks of the permanence or steadfastness of their love for Christ's appearing. The idea is that they had fallen in love with His appearing and were still in love with it! This brings to mind the bride (the Church) who is longing for her Bridegroom's return. Practically speaking when you are living with such a Spirit wrought loving mindset (Ro 5:5-note), you are much more likely to be making daily choices that bring glory and honor to your Groom's Name!

Dwight Edwards illustrates this idea with  "The wife whose beloved husband is on his way home after a prolonged absence longs for and eagerly anticipates the day that the man of her heart returns. As she watches in keen expectation, the passengers slowly file out of the plane until at last her eyes gaze upon the face of her beloved. She truly "loves his appearing." In the same way, the faithful disciple longs for and keenly anticipates the day when Christ will return to leave no more. Because the strings of his heart are tightly bound around the King of kings, he counts Christ's return a supreme treasure and has "fallen in love" with His appearing. But the heart which is not "wholly His," which maintains its deep cravings for the pleasures and comforts of this world, cannot long for or "love His appearing."

Appearing (2015) (See Day of Christ ) (epiphaneia [word study] from epiphaino in turn from epi = upon + phaino = shine) means literally to "shine upon" a fitting description of the glory which will become visible when "the Sun of Righteousness arises with healing in His wings" (Mal 3:2, Mt 24:30, Re 1;7-note)

Epiphaneia - 6x in the NT - 2Th 2:8; 1Ti 6:14; 2Ti 1:10; 4:1, 8; Titus 2:13-note

In his first epistle Paul used the truth that Timothy would one day have to appear before the Captain of the hosts Himself when he charged him to "keep (tereo = same verb used in 2Ti 4:7 "kept the faith") the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing (epiphaneia) of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1Ti 6:14)

As Paul wrote the Philippians "Our citizenship (politeuma) is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait (apekdechomai [in present tense = as our lifestyle] = with great anticipation and expectation) for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Php 3:20-note)

In Titus Paul wrote we are to be continually "looking (prosdechomai = [in present tense = as our lifestyle] earnestly, expectantly) for the blessed hope and the appearing (epiphaneia) of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus. (Titus 2:13-note)

Beloved, who or what you are looking for tomorrow will determine what or who you are living for today.

Do you truly love the thought of Christ's appearing? Do your thoughts, your words, your actions (e.g., your checkbook) indicate that you are truly looking, longing and loving His appearing?

Beloved, next to losing one’s soul and going to hell, (in my opinion) the greatest tragedy may well be when a believer enters into glory and discovers that he or she had squandered the opportunities the Lord had given them to bring Him glory. Only a person longing for His appearing will live like He could appear today.

MacArthur adds this challenge: "Do you love Christ? Do you show it by delighting in and obeying God's Word? If so, you'll receive an eternal reward of perfect righteousness in eternity. You can enhance and enrich that eternal reward by faithfully serving Christ now. That's why Paul said, "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve" (Col 3:23, 24-note) . By loving and serving Christ with all your heart, you'll enjoy eternity as Christ expresses back to you His gratitude for your service. He will do so by enhancing your service and responsibility beyond what you can imagine! You'll know the fullness of eternal joy as you serve the One who gave Himself for you."

Edwards has an interesting way to gauge if you love His appearing: "A significant question to ask ourselves in this regard is, "WHAT THINGS DO I DESPERATELY WANT TO EXPERIENCE OR ACHIEVE BEFORE CHRIST RETURNS?" The length of our answer to this question is an unerring gauge of our love and devotion to Christ and His eternal kingdom. The more answers we have, the more things we deeply crave before Christ returns; the less affection we will have for Him and His appearing. The heart which is captivated by the allurements of this age will feel little interest for the inauguration of a new age in which the present allurements will be utterly stripped away. But the servant whose heart is captivated by the person of Christ and His work will call out with the apostle John, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus! (Re 22:20-note)

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C H Spurgeon writes that...

Our Master taught us how to die as well as how to live. He could say, “I have finished the work which You gave Me” (John 17:4). Triple blessed is the believer who, in permanently laying down the shepherd’s staff or the carpenter’s plane, or in putting aside the ledger or the schoolbook, can exclaim, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me” (2 Ti 4:7, 8).

They asked good old Mede, the Puritan, how he was doing. He answered, “Going home as fast as I can, and bless God I have a good home to go to.” Dear aged saint, so near home, faith will transform death from an enemy to a friend as it brings the glory near. You will soon be in the Father’s house and leave me behind. But I am not sure. I remember that the other disciple outran Peter and came first to the tomb (John 20:4), and so may I. You have the start on me in years, but I may be called home first.

Let death come. We will not be afraid. Jesus, who loved us and gave His life for us, is the resurrection and the life (John 11:25). Why should we not want to go? What is here that we should want to wait? What is there on this poor earth to detain a heaven born and heaven bound spirit? Let us go. He, our treasure, is gone. He whose beauties have enthralled our love is not here. Why should we linger? He has risen (Mt 28:7). Let us rise.

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The Promised Prize  - Recently I received a magazine sweepstakes letter that addressed me by name and repeatedly mentioned a $500,000 prize. It spoke of instant wealth and a lifetime of leisure. Finally, at the bottom of page 2, in very small print, I found the part I was looking for. As required by law, the letter told me that the approximate numerical odds of my winning the prize were 1 in 80 million. Now that's remote!

Contrast that with Paul's anticipation of what awaited him in heaven: "There is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing" (2Ti 4:8). Note his assurance: "There is laid up for me." Not "there might be" or "there's a slight chance"--"there is."

J. Oswald Sanders writes, "This crown is awarded to those who have completed the Christian race with integrity, with eyes fixed on the coming Lord. It is the reward for fulfilling the ministry entrusted to one."

If you have welcomed Christ into your life, long for His appearing, and are faithfully running your race, then the same prize awaits you. Count on it, plan on it, anticipate it! It's a promise from God. --D C McCasland  (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Run the straight race through God's good grace,
Lift up your eyes and seek His face;
Life with its way before us lies,
Christ is the path, and Christ the prize. --Monsell

Our present choices determine our future rewards.
See
Finishing Well (RBC Booklet)

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What Will Happen? -In his book Spirit Life, Stuart Briscoe writes, "When I moved to the United States, I was impressed with the number of total strangers who visited my home to wish me well . . . . They all sold insurance!

"One day my visitor was talking about the necessity to be prudent in the preparation for all possibilities. 'If something should happen to you, Mr. Briscoe—' he started to say, but I interrupted with, 'Please don't say that. It upsets me.' . . . He looked totally bewildered and said, 'I don't understand what I said to upset you.' 'Then I'll tell you,' I replied. 'It upsets me that you talk about [life's] only certainty as if it's a possibility. Death isn't a possibility, it's a certainty. You don't say "if," you say "when," whenever death is the subject.' Then I added, 'By the way, when something happens to you, what will really happen?'"

The apostle Paul was very open about his death (2Timothy 4:6). He knew that its sting had been removed because Christ paid sin's penalty on the cross (1Corinthians 15:55, 56, 57). Death would give way to victory (v.54); he would fully experience Christ's righteousness; and he would be with Christ (2 Corinthians 5:8). Jesus gives that same confidence to all who trust Him as Savior and Lord. —Dennis J. De Haan

FOR FURTHER STUDY
Read1 Corinthians 15:35-58.
Find out more about life after death in the RBC booklet 
Where Do We Go From Here?

Only if we are ready to die are we ready to live.

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TWO VIEWS OF LIFE - Every year thousands of people commit suicide; in fact, the number of such deaths has been increasing at an alarming rate. The reason is not difficult to discover. Most educated people who do not know Jesus Christ believe we are the accidental products of evolution. They say there is nothing that has lasting value, and our actions whether good or bad are not of eternal conse­quence. In other words, they reject the idea of Heaven or Hell after death. As a result, most of these individuals are wretchedly unhappy, even though they may give themselves quite unreserved­ly to sensual pleasures. Without faith in God, life is absurd, tragic, and meaningless. Although it is popular to think in terms of living without God, it is becoming increasingly evident that human beings, created in the likeness and image of God, can-not live with such a concept

We see evidence of this in modern art. Many of us have laughed as we stood before such so-called "masterpieces." All we could see was an apparently meaningless mixture of lines, blots, and blurs. Yet these works are considered great from the artistic point of view because through them the painter has expressed his utter frustration with life as he sees it. They exhibit the feelings of his tortured soul. Indeed, some artists have committed suicide right after the completion of such a painting. The world is going mad because men who have been made for God are trying to live without Him!

How utterly different was Paul's concept. Because of Jesus Christ, life for him had real meaning. He looked forward to Heaven where he would receive a glorious reward for earthly faithfulness (2Ti 4:8). If you know Christ, thank God for the difference He makes. Then share this good news with others.  (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

"To live is Christ," and death is "gain,"
If for the Lord we spend each day!
"Redeem the time" —'tis God's own gift,
Let us not squander it away! —Bosch

Life is the seedtime of eternity!

><> ><> ><>

C H Spurgeon in Morning and Evening writes this devotional note on 2Timothy 4:8...

Doubting one! thou hast often said, “I fear I shall never enter heaven.” Fear not! all the people of God shall enter there. I love the quaint saying of a dying man, who exclaimed, “I have no fear of going home; I have sent all before me; God’s finger is on the latch of my door, and I am ready for him to enter.” “But,” said one, “are you not afraid lest you should miss your inheritance?” “Nay,” said he, “nay; there is one crown in heaven which the angel Gabriel could not wear, it will fit no head but mine. There is one throne in heaven which Paul the apostle could not fill; it was made for me, and I shall have it.”

O Christian, what a joyous thought! thy portion is secure; “there remaineth a rest.” “But cannot I forfeit it?” No, it is entailed. If I be a child of God I shall not lose it. It is mine as securely as if I were there. Come with me, believer, and let us sit upon the top of Nebo, and view the goodly land, even Canaan. Seest thou that little river of death glistening in the sunlight, and across it dost thou see the pinnacles of the eternal city? Dost thou mark the pleasant country, and all its joyous inhabitants? Know, then, that if thou couldst fly across thou wouldst see written upon one of its many mansions, “This remaineth for such a one; preserved for him only. He shall be caught up to dwell for ever with God.”

Poor doubting one, see the fair inheritance; it is thine. If thou believest in the Lord Jesus, if thou hast repented of sin, if thou hast been renewed in heart, thou art one of the Lord’s people, and there is a place reserved for thee, a crown laid up for thee, a harp specially provided for thee. No one else shall have thy portion, it is reserved in heaven for thee, and thou shalt have it ere long, for there shall be no vacant thrones in glory when all the chosen are gathered in.

 


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Last Updated July, 2013

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