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Paul's Last Words #7: Loving His Appearing
2 years ago.
Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. - 2 Timothy 4:8

When I have studied this verse before, the main thing in the verse appeared to be the crown of righteousness. It seems to take precedence over the latter part of the verse. While no doubt the mentioned crown is an important topic, there is something else Paul appends to the verse: "and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing." Why would Paul add this if he was not trying to convey a message? Could he not have left off at "on that Day"? He could have, but he didn't. He did it for a reason too.

First of all, what appearing is he referencing? Is he referencing Jesus' first coming, or His future coming? The Greek word for appearing used in this verse is epiphaneia. Let's do some cross-referencing and look at what other Bible verses contain the word epiphaneia and see what light they shed on this.

1 Timothy 6:14 says:

that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ's appearing,

Notice "until". This is referring to Christ's future return. 2 Timothy 1:10 says:

but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,

This one was past tense. Look at 2 Timothy 4:1:

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:

"who will judge" - future tense. Now let's look at the last verse that uses epiphaneia, Titus 2:13:

looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

Future tense. Now let us look again at our verse:

Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

This verse uses past tense. Yet this is an instance where the editors of the New King James Version differed from the accuracy of the old King James Version. In the King Jame Version, 2 Timothy 4:8 reads:

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.

The original Greek is future tense, as it is with most other occurrences of epiphaneia.

So what does it look like to love His appearing? If we are really passionate about something, how do we show our enthusiasm? We want to tell everybody about it and make them just as excited about it as we are.

So should it be regarding the coming return of Jesus.

What does the Bible say about this? Let's review the context of some of the verses discussed earlier here:

But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ's appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen. - 1 Timothy 6:11-16

Whoa, did we just run across "fighting the good fight" again (see my post Paul's Last Words #4: Fighting The Fight)? Yes, we did. Fighting the good fight is an unignorable part of Christianity. While eagerly awaiting his return we are to...

  • Flee evil
  • Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness
  • Fight the good fight of faith
  • Claim eternal life
  • Openly show our faith before others
  • We are urged to do this unto His return

2 Timothy 4:1-2:

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
  • We will be judged when Christ returns
  • We are to unhesitatingly preach the word

Titus 2:11-15:

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.
  • Show others the grace of God that is for all men
  • Deny ourselves ungodliness and worldly lusts
  • Live soberly, righteously and godly
  • Look forward to the blessedly glorious return of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ
  • Because He redeemed and purified us unto Himself
  • Unabashedly tell everyone about these things

See a common theme throughout these verses? In every verse we are given instruction regarding our conduct, a call to share the Gospel, and an exhortation to look forward to His return.

Remember what I wrote about how we exhibit out enthusiasm for something we are passionate about? If there was something we could do to get more people into it as we are, would we not do it? So should it be regarding Jesus' return.

Are we loving and eagerly awaiting His return? Do we want Him to return in glory for His glory alone? If not, why? Do we love this world and all that is in it more than God? It should be our constant focus to love His appearing by the way we live and act.