2 Timothy 4:1-8
Dearly beloved, I charge thee before God and Jesus Christ, Who shall judge the living and the dead, by His coming, and His Kingdom. Preach the word: be instant in season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience, and doctrine. For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but according to their own desires they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears, and will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables. But be thou vigilant, labor in all things, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill thy ministry. Be sober. For I am even now ready to be sacrificed; and the time of my dissolution is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the Faith. As to the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice, which the Lord, the just Judge, will render to me in that day; and not only to me, but to them also that love His coming.
Verse 1. I charge thee (lit. testify to thee) before God and Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead; i.e. all those that have been dead for so many ages since the beginning of the world; and the living, i.e. those who shall be found living at the end of the world, but who shall die, and be presently raised again. See 1 Cor. xv. 52. — By his coming. The sense by the Greek seems to be, who shall judge them at or by his coming, rather than I charge thee by his coming, as others translate. Wi.
Verse 2. In season, out of season; i.e. whether the hearers are willing to hearken to thee or not. Or, as others understand it, whether it be convenient or inconvenient for thee to signify that the ministers of God must not desist from preaching, whatever troubles they are under. Wi.
Verse 3. Having itching ears; i.e. the hearers have such ears, running after novelties and such doctrine as favours their passions. Wi.
Verse 5. Be thou vigilant, &c. It may either be expounded, watch in all things; or, take pains in all things. The latter seems the true construction. Wi. — An evangelist; a diligent preacher of the gospel. Ch. — Fulfil thy ministry. So even Dr. Wells, in his amendments to the Prot. translation, which hath, make full proof of thy ministry. See Luke i. 1. See also S. Chrys. on this place. — Be sober. There is nothing for this in the Greek, nor in S. Chrysostom. The Latin interpreter seems to have added it, as being contained in the other Greek words in this verse. Wi.
Verse 6. I am even now ready to be sacrificed. Lit. to be immolated. See Philip. ii. 17. — The time of my dissolution (lit. resolution) is at hand. This makes many judge that this letter was written during his last imprisonment; but the sense perhaps may be, that being old and worn out with labours, he could not live long. Wi.
Verse 7. I have fought a good fight, or strived a good strife. The Latin and Greek may signify any kind of striving for a prize. — I have kept the faith, not only the Christian faith, but been faithful in my office. Wi.
Verse 8. A crown of justice, which the Lord, the just judge, will render to me. These words confirm the Catholic doctrine, that good works performed with the assistance of God’s grace, deserve and are meritorious of a reward in heaven: it is what is signified, 1. by a crown of justice, 2. from a just judge, 3. which he will render or give as a reward. Yet we own with S. Aug. that we have no merit, but what is also a gift of God from his grace and mercy, and grounded on his promises. Wi. — “A crown of justice,” which the Protestants translate, of righteousness; but let us see how the learned S. Austin, 1400 years ago, expounds the apostle’s meaning: “How should he repay as a just judge, unless he had first given as a merciful Father?” De grat. et lib. arb. c. vi. See Heb. vi. 10. God is not unjust, that he should forget your works; this the Protestants change into, God is not unrighteous.
809: The Fruit of Justipration, that is, the Merit of Good; Works, and the Reasonableness of that Merit
PAUL III 1534-1549 COUNCIL OF TRENT 1545-1563 Ecumenical XIX (Contra Novatores 16 cent.) SESSION VI (Jan. 13, 1547) Decree On Justification
To men, therefore, who have been justified in this respect, whether they have preserved uninterruptedly the grace received, or have recovered it when lost, the words of the Apostle are to be submitted: “Abound in every good work, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” [1 Cor. 15:58]; “for God is not unjust, that he should forget your work and the love, which you have shown in his name” [Heb. 6:10], and: “Do not lose your confidence, which has a great reward” [Heb. 10:35]. And therefore to those who work well “unto the end” [Matt. 10:22], and who trust in God, life eternal is to be proposed, both as a grace mercifully promised to the sons of God through Christ Jesus, “and as a recompense” which is according to the promise of God Himself to be faithfully given to their good works and merits [can. 26 and 32]. For this is that “crown of justice which after his fight and course” the Apostle declared “was laid up for him, to be rendered to him by the just judge and not only to him, but also to all that love his coming” [2 Tim. 4:7ff.]. For since Christ Jesus Himself as the “head into the members” [Eph. 4:15], and “as the vine into the branches” [John 15:5] continually infuses His virtue into the said justified, a virtue which always precedes their good works, and which accompanies and follows them, and without which they could in no wise be pleasing and meritorious before God [can. 2], we must believe that to those justified nothing more is wanting from being considered [can. 32] as having satisfied the divine law by those works which have been done in God according to the state of this life, and as having truly merited eternal life to be obtained in its own time (if they shall have departed this life in grace [Rev. 14:13]), since Christ our Lord says: “If anyone shall drink of the water, that I will give him, he shall not thirst forever, but it shall become in him a fountain of water springing up unto life everlasting” [John 4:14]. Thus neither is “our own justice established as our own” from ourselves, nor is the justice of God [Rom. 10:3] “ignored” or repudiated; for that justice which is called ours, because we are justified [can. 10 and 11] through its inherence in us, that same is (the justice) of God, because it is infused into us by God through the merit of Christ.