Excerpted from Life on the Highest Plane – Ruth Paxson (1928):
“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give to me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).
Love. The aged apostle knew that his life work was nearly ended. Perhaps his body still bore the marks of the stripes and was weakened from the periods of hunger and thirst; his heart still felt the balloons caused by the persecutions of his own countrymen and the desertions of false brethren; his spirit was still burdened by the spiritual need of all the churches under his care; yet his whole being was aglow with joy. He had fought a good fight, he had finished his course, he had kept the faith through all the hardships and heartaches and what had been the incentive for such a life?
Paul had loved his Lord’s appearing. Even in the darkest experiences of his life he had ever before him the anticipation of “that day” when the Lord, the righteous Judge, would give him a crown of righteousness, and within the heart of Paul there burned like a fire a love for his Lord’s appearing that eclipsed every other love. Do you ever waken in the morning or fall asleep at night with the thought, “O, today, tonight, my Beloved may come?” Do you “love His appearing” to such a degree that you are longing for His return with eagerness and expectancy?
Words of Grace for Strength
The apostle Paul, battered and bruised as he was at the end of his life, loved his Lord and loved others. And the Lord would expect no less from Paul; for to whom much is given, much is expected in return. Paul was blessed in his life with the direct intervention of Jesus when He spoke to him on the Damascus Road. In obedience to Christ’s call, Paul was used mightily in ministry, yet bearing insults, wounds and scars along the way.
He counted it a joy to do so, for Paul had glimpsed the glory of God while still on this earth. He gladly paid the price of earthly abuse, knowing the riches of Christ that were his, and knowing the presence of His Holy Spirit. Because of his great love of his Savior, Paul longed for His return, he expected the Rapture in his lifetime and so he shared his love of Christ’s appearing with Timothy.
Like Paul, we should be obedient to God’s purpose for our lives using every opportunity to lead others to Christ. Each of us needs to show the love of Christ, and share the mind of Christ with others in love, for God loved us first. Unmerited, undeserved, gracious love. And as we disciple those who come to Christ, just as Paul did Timothy, we should be expectant of His return; responding to His love toward us by longing for and loving His appearing.
We are living in the last days, and while Paul expected and loved Christ’s appearing, the signs of the times are much more in evidence today than during his lifetime. Just as he endured suffering and persecution, we may also expect to suffer for Christ. It does not matter however, how we are treated by the world because it cannot change how Christ loves us, and it cannot change the fact that He will return for us. This is why we can and should share the unceasing and inexhaustible love of Christ which He desires for everyone to know.
Love others in the same way Christ loves us and love His return—His appearing with the expectancy that it is imminent. If we will do this, we will be able to say with Paul; “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness.”
Dr. Tuck Whitaker and Andy Coticchio
Rafter Cross Ministries