I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day.AndThe Life of Rejoicing Even Death not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7–8, NIV)
Moses thoroughly obeyed the Lord by sincerely carrying out his mission for his lifetime. What was awaiting him at the end of his life was a blessed death. Deuteronomy 34:7 explains how Moses died. He was healthy and had good eyesight when he died at the age of 120. It means that disease did not cause his death. The Creator Lord Himself led him to heaven in peace when Moses fulfilled his mission. That is why he had no reason to be afraid of death. That moment might have been peaceful for him because he would enjoy an everlasting rest in heaven, prepared by the Lord.
Figure 18. Real Value of Life
If Moses was the representative figure who lived for the will of God in Old Testament times, the one of the New Testament age would be the apostle Paul. Paul was the great apostle who did not spare his life to carry out the mission given by Jesus, and continuously moved forward for the goal. Before he met Jesus, Paul had persecuted and even killed Christians because he had no knowledge or faith in Jesus. However, his life had changed perfectly since he met the Lord. Jesus’s plan for Paul was detailed in Acts 9:15–16, which was to deliver Jesus’s name and the gospel to the Gentiles, the kings of Rome, and the people of Israel.
Jesus’s choice was correct. Paul had preached about Jesus Christ with all his might, and many Gentiles and Israelites believed in Jesus and came to salvation. Paul also proclaimed the gospel to Caesar and King Agrippa in Rome, and it became a catalyst; afterward, Rome finally acknowledged Christianity as a state religion in the fourth century. During his mission, Paul had faced the crisis of death many times and had suffered considerable adversities and afflictions. Through 2 Timothy 4:6–8, the apostle Paul expressed his heart to expect Jesus to give himself an award for his faithful life in heaven.
Paul considered Timothy his disciple, coworker of faith, and beloved son. He was a precious successor to Paul because he collaborated for the gospel ministry and was imprisoned together with him in Rome. Paul knew that his life would not last long, so he was worried that he would leave Timothy alone. Timothy was introverted and so timid that he could not speak well before people. What Paul wanted Timothy to learn was his regretless life that he had achieved his mission and was waiting for the prize Jesus would give.
Paul had led a blameless life when he looked back over his past, and he felt no guilty conscience before God. He had preached the gospel with all his effort and kept his faith in Jesus, even while he was persecuted because of Jesus’s name. He had gone through many difficulties. During his missionary work, he was put in prison many times, flogged severely, exposed to death again and again, lashed thirty-nine times on five occasions by the Jews and once was stoned. While crossing the sea for the gospel, he was shipwrecked three times and floated in the open sea all day long, but he continued to move forward. He had been in danger in rivers and even met bandits and was robbed. He had been deceived by false Christians, been hungry many times, been cold and naked, and often toiled without sleep.
From such a hindrance of Satan, however, God always saved Paul, and he was able to endure those sufferings for his mission to the end. Having accomplished all this, Paul had no fear in the latter part of his life because the report card of his life was satisfactory enough. He was not afraid of even death. Death is not an object to fear for those who have completed their mission. What is left for them is the crown of life, the heavenly reward according to their labor, and the eternal life that Jesus will reward.
Paul reminded Timothy of his life, and he raised him up in the words of 2 Timothy 4:7–8;
“I have fought a good fight, I have completed my race, I have kept my faith. Now, the crown of righteousness has been prepared for me, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day. Not only to me but also to all who have desired for his appearing.”
Paul wanted Timothy to follow his life. Not only for Timothy, but for all of us living now.