“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness, but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5
Well, now that is quite the list. On any typical day, I can get about 10 minutes into the news and see examples of all of these characteristics displayed in full print.
No doubt, there have always been those people who have exemplified these characteristics. Wasn’t it Solomon who said “there is nothing new under the sun”?
It is not a matter of whether or not this is new, but the extent to which it is becoming the rule and not the exception.
This list displays qualities that not too far in the past, at least in my country, would be deemed by the majority as negatives. None of them would be virtues that the majority would endorse.
It seems that now, many of these are seen and glorified as acceptable.
These attitudes will be brought into the body of Christ, his bride, the church.
“Having a form of godliness, but denying its power.” It is one thing to acknowledge that we are all sinners in need of a Savior and that we are imperfect people learning to live by the life-transforming power of the Holy Spirit, but it is quite another to justify ungodly living by claiming “grace”.
These people claim to be Christians, but show no desire to be transformed by His power or conformed to His image. They do not grasp that because of Christ, they are free NOT to sin! Instead, they believe His grace is a free check to let them continue on in it. This, from my understanding, is what it means to have a form of godliness but deny its power.
Thus, we see the church head into apostasy. Anything goes and people make Christ into their own image and whatever fuels their personal pleasures and opinions. Sound doctrine is left behind. The Bible is shelved or twisted into what people want it to mean or what feels good rather than submitting to its actual teaching.
I used to think that when these last days approached and we saw the ‘beginning of birth pangs” that Jesus described in Matthew 24, that it would be exciting times for Christians as they would anticipate His soon return.
Instead, I find myself grieved at the state of things. Many churches have drifted so far from being the light of Christ that there is barely a flicker. People claiming to be believers are hard to tell from their actions whether they really are. Where is the power of Christ that we testify to?
Can the world look at us and see that we are truly born again?
Only if we truly are.
If not, then are we of those who ‘have a form of godliness but denying its power?”
If we are to be ‘aliens and strangers in a foreign land’, ‘set apart’, ‘disciples’, ‘ambassadors’, then what does that look like?
Oh, it is not that we are above stumbling or failing our Savior, but it should not be an ongoing, consistent, non-repentant way of life for those who profess Christ. He paid a high price for us and has given us everything we need for life and godliness.
I am no prophet, and I do not set dates, nor want to be guilty of adding to scripture. I do though, think that we must take note and observe what is going on.
I cannot change the world and its path but I can ask myself whether in these last days, I am living a life that reflects and glorifies Christ. He is able to shed light on that if I just ask.
When we consider these days and how to live, we can ask:
Am I repentant daily? Am I justifying myself more than I deny myself? Do I follow His word or argue with it? Do I love Him and if so, do I display it in loving others?
In short, would people say they see Jesus in me?
For those of you who are living it out and shining brightly, don’t lose heart! Keep it up and continue on in that good race to the very end!
I hear there is a great reward on THAT day! Soldier on!