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The Crown of Righteousness – June 30, 2023

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:7,8

The Crown of Righteousness

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Daily Devotion – June 30, 2023

Devotion based on 2 Timothy 4:7,8

See series: Devotions

When you think of the great Olympic athletes of our age, maybe you picture Michael Phelps’ dominance in the pool. Or perhaps you imagine the picture of the Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt smiling for the finish line camera as he finished meters ahead of his closest competitor. Olympic winners today receive a gold model, but in the Greco-Roman world of the apostle Paul’s day, they won a crown of olive leaves or laurels.

And one of the most famous Olympians of that era lived about a hundred years before Paul. His name was Leonidas of Rhodes. Evidence suggests that Leonidas was a twelve-time Olympic champion, the greatest runner of the ancient world. In his home city of Rhodes, he had his own statue with the words “He had the speed of a god” inscribed on it.

As Paul neared the end of his life, he used a couple of Olympic metaphors. He had fought the good fight drawing to mind the picture of a boxer lasting all the rounds in the ring. He had finished the race comparing himself to a runner. And what was in store for him? The crown of righteousness. Ancient Olympic crowns of leaves would spoil and fade, but not this crown of righteousness.

Leonidas of Rhodes may have been described as having the speed of a god, but Paul had the righteousness of the one true God. God credited that righteousness to Paul not because of anything he had done but because of the faith Paul had kept in Jesus as his Savior from sin.

Paul already had that righteousness, but when he died, he would be crowned in it, no longer weighed down by his sin but made perfect in Jesus. This crown of righteousness is for all who believe in Jesus as their Savior from sin.

Lord God, thank you for giving me your righteousness through the merits of Jesus Christ. Help me to run the race with my eyes fixed on you as I keep my faith in Jesus. Amen.

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All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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