Sunday, January 1, 2023
“But He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10
The way I take, He not only knows, but lovingly tries, and faithfully purifies, and brings forth the gold. He doesn’t see through a glass darkly. His Word discerns the very thoughts and intents of our hearts. Consider Psalm 139. The Psalmist seems to present Himself for inspection at the close. “Search me O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” The desired destiny of His people is no mystery to Him. Meditate on Psalm 107:23-31. A good portion with which to face the new year.
“THE WAY I TAKE”
There is a way each of us takes; whether it is speaking of our course in life, mode of action, the road to be trod, manner of travel, or the direction we are going. We make personal choices all along the way. We do well to consider that He knows better than anyone. He tells us as we face a new year, “You haven’t passed this way before.” He has all the answers to all the way’s and why not’s in our hearts. For He knows us better than we know our selves.
Jeremiah said, “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. O Lord correct me…” Jer. 10:23-24. The Apostle Paul prayed, “And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and the patient waiting for Christ” – II Thess. 3:5. A most timely prayer. He knows us and lets us know the way. He would have us to go by His Word and the Holy Spirit. Our faithful guide encourages us to stay by His side, saying, “This is the way walk yet in it.”
“WHEN HE HATH TRIED ME”
He kindly makes us to know that our course will not always be down easy street, strewn with flowers. He knows just how much we need to be tried. He proves and reproves and narrows our path. Trials at times are used as attitude adjustments, and in part, as course corrections. We are prone to wander.
On our way there may be many long hard lessons. There are also some that are so very pleasant, enjoyable, but often the most profitable lessons and beneficial, the best remembered are those that are the most difficult.
“I SHALL COME FORTH”
Oh, Yes! I shall come forth! There is an end to each trying experience. God has provided an exit out of your pressing present trial. He has promised deliverance. I Cor. 10:13. This trial will be productive, progress will be made, forward still, is Jehovah’s will, though the billows dash and spray.
Job expressed confidence in His God, repeatedly. He said; “Though He stay me, yet will I trust in Him” – 15:13, and, “He performeth the thing that is appointed for me” – 23:14. It seems that at times Job expected the Lord to carry out unto completion all He had planned. This reminds us of Paul in Phil. 1:6, “being confident of this very thing. He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Christ.”
The “Gold” can express the outcome of God’s work done God’s way. Oh yes, the end result will be divine, unto His glory (fine gold purified, refined). When He is in control there comes forth gold. Both He and we are enriched as we yield Him full right-of-way. Oh what a beautiful product is this divine endowment and glorious adornment, especially for the full pleasure of His enjoyment.
“Kings’ daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir. Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house; So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou Him. The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework:” Psalm 45:9-11,13-14.
We are His workmanship. There is indeed a need for much fine needlework in each of our lives. This work He is doing in gold that we may be adorned for His glorious presentation. “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” Do you sense the gold? Look at these references in this light and see if they bless valuable truth unto your heart. Jas. 1:2-4,12; I Pet. 1:3-8; II Pet. 1:4-11; Rom. 5:1-5.
Gordon Crook, PastorGrace Assembly - Wichita, Kansas
As we approach the end of 2022, and the beginning of 2023, we can think about what a new year will bring. Many will make New Year’s resolutions, because they see the new year as a potential for renewal. I am not much of one to make New Year’s resolutions, but I do like to think about renewal, because our God is a God of renewal.
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31.
As I get older, I find that I need renewed strength in the natural, but even more I need renewed strength spiritually. There are always spiritual lessons to be learned from the natural things. Just as our natural bodies need renewal (sleep, food and water), God is able to renew our spiritual strength through His Word and prayer.
We have a tendency to start thinking we can do anything we put our minds to. At least, that is what we are told. The truth is that we often fail at that. Maybe we start out really well, but lose strength or desire or just lose sight of what we need to do. It is only as we allow God to renew our strength that we can truly go on.
Spiritually, this is the only way we can continue to walk the Christian walk of faith. We must continually look to God for our strength and to renew us in our walk. Then we can continue without fainting (falling, failing or quitting).
As we walk through this world, we are wearied by the world, and we are dragged down by the world and it’s ways. The news alone very day will weary most. We need every day to look to God to renew us and cleanse us through His Word and by His Holy Spirit. “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalms 51:10. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2.
This is a daily need, not just a Sunday morning need. It is good that we gather on Sunday morning, or whenever you gather with your church family. However, the need for renewal is daily. We cannot suffice with only a weekly renewal. If you are able to congregate with other believers, you should, and you will find renewal in that. We encourage and uplift one another and God’s Word renews our spirit. “Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalms 103:5.
While God does often give us renewal in the natural when we need it to serve Him, it is the renewal of the inner man that is most important. So, as we grow older, our natural bodies begin to fail and to lose strength, but our inner man should be growing stronger. “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16. “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;” Ephesians 4:23.
We have an enemy that would cause us to fall by the wayside, and abandon our race. One of the things that I find so important in God’s Word is the encouragement that this race is not in vain, and that it is coming to an end. God is always faithful to His promises. That renews my spirit.
As we approach the new year, let us consider the importance of continual spiritual renewal. This is accomplished by staying in God’s Word. It is not something that we do by following some kind of repetitive mantra or chant, but it is the increase of the life of Jesus in us. “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:” Colossians 3:10.
Seek the Lord every day and stay tuned into His Word so that you can find renewal in the new year and always. No need for a New Year’s resolution, just pick up your Bible and study, and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal renewing truths to you every day. You will never regret it.
Anita Clark – PastorGrace Chapel, Carbondale, Kansas
“Then answered Peter and said unto Him, Behold, we have forsaken all and followed Thee: what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye shall sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matt. 19:27-28.) The word “regeneration” occurs two times in the Bible.
The word “regeneration” means in the Greek, “spiritual renovation,” or change. When Jesus speaks of the “regeneration,” He is speaking of His Kingdom during the millennial (1000 years) reign coming in His time very soon. Note the phrase, “ ...when the Son shall sit upon the throne of His glory.”
Apostle Paul uses this word “regeneration” in Titus 3:4-5, when speaking of our salvation provided by the death of Jesus, “For we ourselves were sometimes foolish, disobedience, deceived... but after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost. Which was shed abundantly through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Note we are “washed.” I Cor. 6:11, says, “And such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God.” “Sanctified” mean to make holy and to purify. “Justified” means “to make righteous.” All the human race needs “regeneration.” Isaiah 64:6 says, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities like the wind, have taken us away.” Read John 1:11-13. We are born again by the “will of God.”
Process of Regeneration - Ezekiel 36:26-29 gives us wonderful promises about how God changes us. “Vs. 26 - “A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, ...” Read again Titus 3:4-5. These verses show the process of regeneration in our lives.
Instrument of our Regeneration - I Peter 1:22-23. In Vs. 22 we see that “ye purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit.” In verse 23 we read - “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
Ephesians 5:25-27 shows forth and explains the work of Christ to bring the believers to the place He desires - His Bride. “... Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it. That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word. That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Vs. 30 “For we are members of his body of His flesh, and of His bones.”
This portion of Jeremiah 31:33 was written for the nation of Israel, but applies to us today and God’s work in our lives. “After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Because of Israel’s rejection of the Lord Jesus as their Messiah, God has turned to the Gentiles. Apostle Paul is the Apostle for the Church of Jesus Christ. He wrote fourteen books of the New Testament. We are thankful for his teaching. This verse in Jeremiah 31:33 shows us the Work of God our Father in us and our regeneration.
1. The Process is the same for us. God puts His Law (His will, His precepts, and statutes) in our hearts. We receive the new life of Jesus in us, and the process begins.
2. God “writes it in our heart.” We have a new spirit, and want to know God, and He wants us to study the Word of God. It becomes a part of us in our new life.
3. He will be our God - We accept Him working in us, and taking care over us. We yield to Him and His power over us.
4. We shall be His people. He takes all responsibility for His sheep.
5. “They shall all know me.” Jesus said, “The sheep hear his voice and they follow me.” John 10:3
Jeremiah 33:8 says, “And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity; whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned ...” Regeneration is not by our works of our flesh, but by the grace of our dear Lord Jesus.
Looking Into Heaven continued – Rev. 4 & 5
Remember we are privileged by John’s vision to look into heaven in these two chapters. The Lord tells John “I will shew thee things which must be hereafter,” after the Church age – 4:1. John beheld Christ taking His throne to reign in Vs. 2 & 3.
The first rank overcomers are present, described as kings and priests by the 24 elders and the 4 living creatures. In V. 4 we read, Round about The Throne of Christ were 24 seats (in the Greek text “thrones.” Elders ane full grown saints that sit on the 24 thrones, reigning conjointly with Christ. Twenty-four has to be a representative number, for chapter 5:9 tells us they are “out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.”
In Scripture the number 12 is the number of divine government. Here we have 2 times 12, showing the strengthened authority these saints will have with Christ. All of Christ’s body will reign with Him in some measure, but some will reign con-jointly that suffered with Christ, it is promised that they would also be glorified together with Him. Rom. 8:17 and II Tim. 2:12.
Some have thought and taught that these elders are the overcomers of the Old Testament because this number seems to be more associated with Israel. This cannot be for they are not all Israelites, they are out of all nations.
Others teach that they are angelic beings, but angels are not redeemed. Chapter 5:8-9, the elders and living creatures are seen as one group and they sing, “For thou…hast redeemed us to God by thy blood.”
The elders are not babes in Christ, but nature saints – Eph. 4:13-15, “speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things.” They are seen clothed in white regiment, which is the righteousness of Christ – Phil. 3:9. They also have crowns of gold on their heads. They didn’t let any one take their crowns, they fully overcame and have the right to reign – Rev. 3:11 & 2:10.
V. 5 tells us what Christ will do when He sits upon His throne to rule. “And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.” He will begin to Judge the world and those nations ruling in rebellion against Him.
Thunder and lightning are announcements of a storm, and a storm is coming on this world. The voices coming out of the throne speaks of God’s people who will lend their voices to Him in agreement. Again we read of the 7-fold Spirit of God as we did in chapter 1:4. In Isa. 11:2-3 we are given a description of the 7-fold Spirit of God. Here in Rev. 4 & 5, He is seen as seven torches of fire burning. He is the “spirit of judgment, the spirit of burning” – Isa. 4:4. Behold that “day cometh, that shall burn as an oven” – Mal. 4:1.
The number 7 (the Biblical number of completion or fullness) tells us of the fulness of that consuming vengeance, as the Holy Spirit executes the will of the Godhead upon the enemies of God.
V. 6 speaks of the sea of glass before the throne and it corresponds with the laver of the tabernacle and the molten sea before Solomon’s temple. It speaks of the cleansing absolutely necessary to come into God’s presence – the laver of regeneration in Titus 3:5.
The translators made a poor choice in using the word beast for the 4 living ones. The R. V. gives “living creatures” and the original Greek text reads “living ones.” Four is another symbolic number. We know this by comparing scripture with scripture. Rev. 5:9 tells us they are from the four corners of the earth, so there has to be many more than four.
Four is the biblical number of the world. These living ones are full of eyes before and behind. They have fulness of vision, seeing in every direction, having spiritual discernment. I Cor. 2:15, “He that is spiritual discerneth all things.”
The four descriptions of this company of believers are the characteristics of our Lord seen in them. Isn’t this wonderful? Some might ask where is Jesus Christ seen like this? The answer is in the 4-fold view of Christ in the four gospels.
In Matthew, Christ is pictured as the King, the Lion of the tribe of Judah. The lion is king of beasts and speaks of Christ as the ruler, as the King. He will reign on the throne of David. This characteristic of Christ is seen in saints that have learned to reign in life by Christ Jesus – Rom. 5:17. He gives them “lion” strength and courage. Prov. 28:1, “the righteous are bold as a lion.”
In the gospel of Mark, Christ is seen as the Servant, who ministers and serves like the faithful ox. The Calf was an animal of sacrifice, a beast of burden, a work animal. We read in Acts 10:38 how Jesus went about doing good. This company of believers have learned Him by suffering, sacrifice and service. “The ox that treadeth out the corn…The labourer is worthy of his reward” – I Tim. 5:18.
In the book of Luke, Christ is seen as man. Often He referred to Himself as the Son of man. The living ones having a face as a man identifies them with humanity (they are not angels), they are redeemed humans.
In John’s gospel, Christ is the heavenly One, like a flying eagle. He is the Son of God, the divine One. The eagle is swift and glorious. This also tells us something of these saints, Christ is their life. Gal. 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
They have been occupied with heavenly activities. Prov. 30:19, “The way of an eagle in the air is wonderful.” As we feed on the Word (Christ) we become like Him. II Cor. 3:18, “changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” It is the work of the Holy Spirit, He does the changing. Oh, praise the Lord!
To be continued
Debra Isenbletter, PastorChristian Assembly, Springfield, Missouri
In this final chapter (Ch. 4) we have another insight into Jonah’s character and another revelation of God’s Grace. Jonah is angry and disappointed at the sparing of Nineveh, he still has much to learn and the Lord patiently teaches him another lesson. God had prepared a great fish for Jonah in chapter 1. Now He prepares three additional things for Jonah. He prepares a gourd, a worm and a vehement east wind. Each are instruments He uses to teach Jonah a lesson. It is a lesson he cannot ignore and at the end of the lesson we do not know if Jonah has learned anything.
I like to believe that he did finally see what the Lord was trying to teach him. He had learned it in the belly of the fish but it had not taken hold. He learned it pertaining to himself but not others. Now that previous lesson is reinforced gently but strongly, it is the lesson about God’s grace and His sovereignty. In chapter 1 Jonah is like the prodigal son who went his own way, went to a far country. In chapter 4 Jonah is like the elder brother who is angry and unhappy at how his father responded to his younger brother. (Luke 15:25-32). Jonah is also like the unmerciful servant (Mat.18:32-33) with his unforgiving attitude. Both the elder brother and the wicked servant did not understand grace through it had been revealed to them.
This is the lesson Jesus tried to teach the Jews that the majority refused to see or accept. This is the lesson the remnant will learn through tribulation. When they learn it, they will finally be able to minister to the Gentiles with the right attitude during the Millennium.
Jonah 4:1— “But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.”
This chapter begins with Jonah’s anger, with his strong emotional reaction to what God has done and not done. What God has done is spare Nineveh. What God has not done is destroy Nineveh. We see the little word “it” but this little word points to something that is great. It points to Nineveh’s repentance and to God’s grace. Both were visible, both were obvious and both were wonderful, yet Jonah was “displeased,” he was upset, he was angry. The word “displeased” comes from a root that means “to be broken up with any violent actions.” It can be translated as “tremble, quiver” or “grieved.”
You can just picture Jonah’s anger, it is such that he trembles with it, he can hardly contain it. It is not a little anger, it is “exceeding” anger, or “great” anger. If we use the word great in connection with his anger, then it can be added to the other greats in this book, “great city;” “great storm;” “great fish;” “great kindness.” Jonah’s great anger stands in stark contrast to God’s great kindness and shows just how different he is in his attitude toward these Gentiles from God’s attitude. What is so sad is that their great repentance and God’s great grace brought great anger instead of great joy.
Jonah was not just “displeased exceedingly” but he was “very angry.” There is no doubt about what he is feeling, he does not hide it and he cannot contain it. The phrase “very angry” comes from “to glow, to melt, to burn, to blaze up.” This really expresses the strength and intensity of his feelings. Being “very angry” can express several different emotions, “anger,” “jealousy” or “zeal.” I think Jonah felt all of these emotions and felt they were all justified. It seems like this anger was warped or twisted, that he was stuck in that angry mode. All he could see was that they were wicked Gentiles and they deserved to be punished. There was no room for that attitude to change even if they changed.
Jonah did have a right to be angry at Nineveh’s wickedness but he did not have a right to be angry at Nineveh’s repentance. This is not righteous anger and it is not justified anger, it is not godly anger, it is fleshly anger. God can be angry with sin and He is but He can also have compassion on the sinner and He does. If he did not have compassion on the sinner who repents, how could the sinner be saved?
What is sad is how soon Jonah forgot God’s response to his own repentance in chapter 2. Jonah forgot that God showed compassion to him, or he did not make the connection to two lessons. First, if God could show compassion to Jonah, He could show compassion for Nineveh. Second, if God could show compassion to Nineveh, Jonah could show compassion to Nineveh.
You can see a parallel in the parable of the prodigal son in the elder son’s anger (Luk.15:25-30) and the father’s gracious answer (Luk.15:31-320) and in the parable of the unforgiving debtor, who was forgiven by his master (Mat.18:26-27) and would not forgive another servant (Mat.18:28-30).
Jonah’s attitude is a picture of the attitude of the Jews in the New Testament. They felt their anger was justified. They had a religious zeal, they saw themselves as righteous. They had a religious anger toward the Gentiles, they saw them as unrighteous. They also had a religious jealousy when the Gentiles were accepted through the gospel. They did not think they were worthy.
Jonah’s attitude is also a picture of the saint’s attitude in forgiveness. The saint is to put on the character of Christ which seen in the garments Paul speaks of in Colossians (Col.3:12-13). When those garments are put on, then the saint is able to forgive as he has been forgiven (Col.3:13; Eph.4:31-32).
Jonah experienced the grace of God and His forgiveness, he did not realize this lesson was to be passed on to others through him. The Lord will hear Jonah, say very little but He will show him a lot and what He shows Jonah will speak volumes. In the end, the choice will be left up to Jonah to receive or reject the lesson the Lord teaches him.
To be continued
God’s Timing and Purposes – Ecc. 3:1-8
Pastor Vicky MootsKingman, Kansas
Ecc. 3:6b: “…a time to keep, and a time to cast away.” My mother lived during the Great Depression, and she used to keep everything just in case she might need it later or because it was too good to throw away. That included saving all the bread wrappers, plastic cottage cheese containers, etc., anything that she thought might be useful for something.
Many of us tend to do that to a degree with some things, such as clothing that no longer fits, since we hope to lose weight and be able to wear it again. Unfortunately, after a while we end up with a lot of clutter and overflowing closets, and we have to start discarding some things or donating them. The “time to keep” sooner or later becomes a “time to cast away.”
Spiritually, even after we are born again and become a new creation in Christ, our old nature (our “old man”) wants to hang on to and “keep” some of the things of the flesh, the old creation, things that are displeasing to God and detrimental to us. Paul admonishes us in Eph. 4:22-24 to “…put off concerning the former conversation [manner of life] the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And…put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
We are to cast off the old garment (lifestyle) of the old creation which is “no longer fitting” for a Christian, as Paul tells us in Rom. 13:12: “…let us therefore cast off the works of darkness…” and in v. 14: “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.”
In addition to casting away the works of darkness, we must also cast away our self-righteousness, which is nothing but filthy rags in God’s eyes, according to Isa. 64:6: “…all our righteousness are as filthy rags…” Paul described his own self-righteousness as “dung” in Phil. 3:8, which certainly must be cast away and exchanged for Christ’s righteousness, as he says in v. 9: “And be found in him [Christ], not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” Now is the time for us to clean house and to take out our spiritual garbage; it is a “time to cast away.”
Besides the garbage in our lives, we find in Heb. 12:1 that there are other things which we, as runners in the race, must cast away in order to win: “…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” First of all, we must cast away all the burdens and cares of this life that weigh us down and hinder us from running to win. How do we do that? We cast them upon the Lord, and let Him carry them, as Peter urges us to do in I Pet. 5:7, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
Now, what about the “sin which doth so easily beset us”? Is this referring to a specific sin in each of our lives over which we have been unable to get the victory? Possibly, but I believe it is most likely referring to the sin of unbelief, failing to lay hold of God’s promises by faith. It was unbelief that kept some of the children of Israel from entering into the promised land of Canaan (Heb. 3:19). Unbelief keeps our eyes focused on ourselves and the circumstances instead of on the Lord. We must cast away our unbelief by crying out, “…Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief,” as the father of the child with the deaf and dumb spirit did in Mark 9:24, so that Jesus could heal him.
A time of casting away is obviously necessary, but there are also some times in the Scripture where we have been advised “to keep”, or to “hold fast” certain things which are important to us spiritually. Let us first look at Prov. 4:13: “Take fast hold of instruction: let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.” This is, of course, speaking of the wise instruction which can only be found in the Word of God, and is able to bring life. Not all instruction which we are given is wise, and so it must be measured against God’s Word, as Paul tells us in I Thess. 5:21: “Prove all things; hold fast [keep] that which is good.” It is not good unless it agrees with God’s Word. If it does not agree, then it must be “cast away.”
Paul warns the young minister, Timothy, in II Tim. 1:13-14, to shun such false teaching and to “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me…That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.” We, too, must be sure to hold fast and “to keep” securely the sound words of the apostle Paul, for they will instruct us in the path of life.
And lastly, Jesus Christ, Himself, the Righteous Judge, who was seen by John in Rev. 1:13-18, warns the overcomers in Rev. 3:11 to “…hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” To what crown is He referring? Paul declares to Timothy, shortly before his execution, in II Tim. 4:7-8, “I have fought a good fight…I have kept the faith: 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 is therefore “a time to keep.” A time to keep running the race, to “hold fast” to the truth of the Word of God, and to the promise of the coming of the Lord, so that we, like Paul, may also receive our crown.