II Timothy

II Timothy 4:6-8 Poured Out.

Being “poured out as a drink offering” refers to a sacrificial death (v. 6). Paul already accepted that he would die soon for his faith. “This metaphor for death (cf. Phil. 2:17) is taken from the language of the Old Testament sacrificial system. A drink offering of wine was poured out in the sanctuary as an offering to God (Nu. 15:5, 7, 10; 28:7). Paul understands his impending death as an offering to Christ” (NGSB p. 1923). “My departure” is “another metaphor for death (Phil. 1:23). Paul held steadfastly to the hope and assurance of a destination beyond the grave (v. 18)” (NGSB p. 1923). To this Paul adds two more metaphors saying that he had “fought the good fight,” and had “finished the race” (v. 7). These both refer to him keeping the faith. Whether the Christian life is a marathon or for some a sprint, like the repentant thief on the cross (Cf. Lk. 23:43), the promise is of complete perfect righteousness is the same.

In his first letter to the Corinthians Paul wrote that believers should look at their persevering in the faith like a runner who runs to win the prize (9:24-26a), or as a fighter fighting to win (v. 26b). However, metaphors are never an exact replica of the thing referred to, so in this case it is not as though we earn eternal life, nor that one Christian comes in first, second, or third, and all the rest failed. The prize which Paul refers to is persevering to the end. Furthermore we are only able to persevere to the end because it is God who is at work in each of us (Phil. 2:12). What Paul has in mind when he refers to disciplining his body (I Cor. 9:27), is the ongoing process of progressive sanctification, or as he wrote to the Philippians-working out what God works in us. Every Christian will ultimately receive that finished crown of perfect righteousness at His appearing (II Tim. 4:8 Cf. 1:12; Js. 1:12). Like Paul, we are all drink offerings that accompany the Lamb, “a sweet aroma to the LORD” (Nu. 15:7 cf. vv. 5, 10).

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