22nd September 2017

An Un-Cancelled Reservation 

“There is reserved for me in the future the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved His appearing.
2 Timothy 4:8 (HCSB)

When a well-known budget airline cancelled hundreds of flights earlier this week, the above scripture came to mind (as well as 1 Peter 1:4).

Paul is writing from a Roman prison, and he seems to sense that he will be executed eventually. Paul refers to his being saved from the mouth of the lion in verse 17 — had he been spared from being thrown to the beasts? Previously, Paul had used his Roman citizenship as a means of appealing to Caesar, perhaps hoping for the tolerant approach to religions that had occurred under the Emperor Claudius. Claudius, however, had now died, possibly poisoned by his fourth wife, and had been replaced by his step-son and son-in-law, Nero. Nero had no sympathy for Christians and he would go on to blame them for the great fire of Rome in 64AD. According to some historical sources, Nero had met Paul and gave instructions personally for Paul to be beheaded in the persecution that took place after the fire.

Imperial Rome often involved crowns for different purposes, from the Emperor’s own crown to those presented to conquering heroes and to winners of games. Paul claimed that a crown of righteousness had been reserved for him, and therefore he had nothing to fear after his death. Not that Paul alone would get such a crown, but so would all believers who love the Lord’s appearing, referring to how Jesus came to dwell among us and to how he will come again.

Thankfully, although Paul had fought a good spiritual fight, the granting of this reserved crown was not conditional on Paul’s own track record. He did not earn it in any way. He hadn’t bought it in some gimmicky sale. To put it another way, it was Jesus, the righteous Judge, who paid the reserve price for Paul’s crown and for ours also, and, because of that, no one, and no human government or enterprise, can cancel it or take it away from us.

What has been reserved in Christ for us has not been cancelled. 

Thank you, Father, for the crown that has been reserved for us by Jesus Christ, and for the assurance we have in you.

Study by James Henderson


About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland. This weekend James is speaking in our Northampton and Nottingham congregations.

Local Congregation:
You are welcome to attend any of our local congregations in the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.church under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

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