I’ve been contemplating 2 Timothy 4:8 and Paul’s mention of those who “love his appearing.”
Paul is reflecting on the end of his life and ministry and writes, “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.”
It’s noteworthy to me that he is saying that all who will be welcomed into the Heavenly Kingdom — who will receive a crown of righteousness — will be those who “love his appearing.”
The crown of righteousness is a welcome and recognition of our personal and experiential faith in Christ’s righteousness, when we enter the eternal gates. However, what intrigues me most is the equating of longing for the Lord’s return with one’s salvation.
I don’t think this means that we must all become theologians of eschatology or be consumed with identifying the signs of the times.
I do think it means that longing for the Lord’s return is a natural result of being saved because it is the ultimate climax of redemption.
In 2 Timothy 4:8 Paul uses a phrase that the King James Version simply translates as “love” while other translations use the word “longing” as in longing for His appearing.
For the one who is growing in their faith and is in communion with their Savior, there is both a love and longing for Christ’s return. We can’t have a longing for Christ’s return if we don’t love Christ’s return. It is similar to the love and longing that a husband and wife have when absent from each other or when someone is missing a good friend or even a cherished pet.
There is an incompleteness of the gospel without the proclamation of the Savior’s promised return. A pulpit that doesn’t speak of Christ’s return is robbing its hearers of hope and the fullness of the sanctified life. We see this in Titus 2:11-15, where Paul wrote of “the grace of God” and “denying ungodliness” by pointing out our, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”
I realize that our world is getting crazier than ever, that evil is becoming commonplace, and corruption seems to reign in the institutions of men. History tells us that society wasn’t much different for Paul when he penned these words for the encouragement of his audience and for us.
So my prayer is that we would have this same love and longing for our Lord’s appearing.
See you Sunday, January 16th.