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2 Tim. iv. 7.

" / have fought a good fight^ I have finished my
course, I have kept the faith ; henceforth there is laid
up for Ale a crown of righteousness."

2 Tim. iv. 7.

" / have fought a good fight^ I have finished my
course, I have kept the faith ; henceforth there is laid
up for Ale a crown of righteousness."

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jan 19, 2013
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2 Tim. iv. 7. " / have fought a good fight^ I have finished my course, I have kept the faith ; henceforth there is laid up for Ale a crown of righteousness."

A GOOD fight indeed ; for hell is conquered, Satan is overthrown, the Kingdom of Heaven is opened to all believers. A good fight indeed ; for death is destroyed by death, the captives of the Devil are set free, his cruel bondage is at an end; henceforth we are the servants of righteousness, not the slaves of sin. A good fight indeed; for our Lord, as a most valiant Chief, died that He might conquer; endured the cross, that we might have the crown; despised the shame, that we might inherit the glory; and so, after many labours, entered into everlasting rest. " I have finished My course." And what a course it was ! It began when He descended

THE GOOD FIGHT FOUGHT. 143 from Heaven, and did not abhor the Virgin s womb : it went on through the long years that He laboured for us, through His fastings, and temptations, and weariness, and watchings, and persecutions: it ended in His most sacred Passion in that dark season out of which we have just come it ended in the pavement, where the soldiers mocked Him ; in the Crown of Thorns, which they wove for Him; in the judgment-seat, where Pilate condemned Him; in the scourge, and the spitting, and the buffeting, and, last of all, in the Cross. " I have finished My course." It is well for us that our Lord can say so. " No man can deliver his brother, nor make agreement unto God for him ; for it cost more to redeem their souls ; so that he must let that alone for ever." And My course indeed. My course, because none but God could have trodden it : My course, because none but our Lord could have chosen it. For, as holy men have taught

us, there were two roads, by either of which, had our Lord so pleased, He might have re deemed the world : the path of glory and pleasure, and the path of shame and pain. We know which we should have chosen ; we know which He took. And, therefore, it is well said, " I have finished My course." " I have kept the faith." For it was on

144 THE GOOD FIGHT FOUGHT. the Cross that the faith pledged by God to the world was made good. It was by the Cross that the first promise was brought to pass : u the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent s head." It was by the Cross that the pledge of all the sacrifices was re deemed, that the writings of all the prophets were fulfilled, that the actions of all the Saints found their antitype and completion. " death, I will be thy plague : grave, I will be thy destruction : repentance shall be hid from mine eyes." How much it cost to keep this faith, the past week may have taught us. And now all that God had promised is accom plished to the full : now the long battle is ended: now the everlasting victory has begun. For it follows : "Henceforth, there is laid up for Me a crown of righteousness." And notice the word henceforth. " When I wake up, I am present with thee," saith the Lord to the Church. u Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world," He said to His Apostles. And see, also, how different is this ex pression from that which we might have expected. After such a victory, in such a triumph, speaking after the manner of man, would it not have been written, a crown of

THE GOOD FIGHT FOUGHT. 145 glory? Not so : it is a crown of righteousness. And that for two reasons : as they refer to our Lord, and as they refer to ourselves ; as they regard the Head, and as they regard the mem bers. A crown of righteousness for Him, not in so far as He was God, but in so far as He was Man. And to this doctrine it is that St. Paul again and again alludes. This it is which

gives all its force to that wherefore : u Where fore God also hath highly exalted Him." If, as the Apostle teaches, it is a righteous thing in God to recompense rest to them that are troubled, how infinitely righteous that He Who was troubled as never any other man, should have a rest more glorious also : accord ing to that saying, u His rest shall be glorious." A crown of righteousness, then, for the merits of our Lord s humanity: but not that only. For, looking now away, not only from that material crown which yesterday they set on our Lord s Head, but also from that kingly diadem which He shall wear in Heaven, what other crown will there be, by which He shall be decked, when He shall return again from the judgment of the world ? And if the Apos tle could say to those that had believed through His Word, " Ye are our joy and crown of rejoicing," will not the Lord say so to all His elect people, whom He has redeemed to 46

146 THE GOOD FIGHT FOUGHT. God by His Blood, and concerning whom He wills, that where He is, there should they be also? Like the crown of gold that surrounded the ancient altar, His faithful servants shall then form a golden circle around the Lamb, knit closely to each other, because all looking to Him as their centre. We so many of us as God gives grace to enter into the kingdom of Heaven we shall be, as the prophet speaks, the " lloyal diadem in the Hand of" Christ. For that crown it was that He fought ; that crown it was which, as at this time, He won; that crown it is which He shall wear for ever and ever. And a crown of righteousness. For, as He is our peace, so He is our righteousness also. Not God forbid ! according to that vain and pernicious doctrine, that, we ourselves remain ing in sin and pollution, His righteousness will be imputed to us ; not that, full of sores, and covered with filth, we are to sit down at the Marriage Supper, because the wedding gar ment of His merits is cast over us. Were it thus He would not be our righteousness; and He died that He might become our righteous ness. That all we have, and all we do should be given, and be wrought by Him; that all things should come of Him. and that we should

return to Him, of His Own; that being pol-

THE GOOD FIGHT FOUGHT. 147 luted, His purity should be infused into us; being sick, His health should be vouchsafed to us ; being dead, His resurrection should be im parted to us. " Henceforth, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the Righteous Judge, shall give me in that day." On that first Easter Day, glori ously; when He ascended up into Heaven, more gloriously; but the consummation of His Glory shall be reserved for that Day, that Day of all days that Day of the New Hea ven and the new Earth, when all things having been subdued unto Him, the Son also Himself shall be subject to Him that did put all things under Him, that God may be all in all. In which joy and glory God give never so small a portion, for the sake of Jesus Christ, Who rose again from the dead; to Whom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, for ever. Amen.

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