Paul’s second letter to Timothy is the last letter he wrote; he knows he is nearing the end of his life and writes, “I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award me on that Day, and not only to me, but also to all who have loved his appearing” [Ch. 4 v.7,8] What a wonderful state of peace of mind he had developed; all true believers should aim to develop this. Paul’s perception of that which is eternal is an inspiration to us.
Paul is able to see life from God’s eternal perspective. He perceives that for God the passage of time does not occur. It is a struggle for us to get this into focus. In his first chapter (today’s reading) Paul writes of “the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works, but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.” [v.8,9]
He then says that this calling “has been manifested through the appearing of our Saviour Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” [v.10]. For us the abolition of death is now a certain prospect for the future. This reminds us of Paul’s words to the Romans, that “the faith of Abraham” enabled him to see the sense of the present tense in God’s word’s to him, “I have made you a father of many nations” and how “God gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist” [Ch. 4 v.16,17]. They exist – they are a reality now – in the foreknowledge of God. (see 1 Peter 1 v.20)
We read in Revelation that Jesus was “the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world” [23 v.8 NIV]. It was in God’s unique perception of time, that he was slain! From the moment that Adam sinned and mortality became a fact of human life, in God’s foreknowledge, he was slain.
This is very difficult for us to ‘see’ – to get our minds around.. But God is at work in believers today. Some of us, as we look back on the course of our own lives, can see a chain of cause and effect that are remarkable. These are things we could never have planned ahead but, in retrospect, we see God at work in us for he knows the end from the beginning for those he can use in some part of his purpose.
Meditate on the perceptions Paul expresses in Romans 4 v.9 – 17. May we continue our journey to “the end” – and then we will not only fully understand – but experience the utter wonder of it all.