Lord Jesus, thank you that I can come to you boldly, knowing that in you, I will always find abundant mercy and grace.
Read 2 TIMOTHY 3:1-9
3 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘… making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.’1
Paul’s reference to the last days (v1) reveals his sense of urgency. The last days began after Jesus’ resurrection and will continue to his second coming: we must make the most of the time God has given us.2 In verses 2–4 we find a list of no fewer than eighteen vices that will characterize people in the last days. These conditions have always existed, but they will become more marked at the end. The warning is: don’t give in to society’s pressures, don’t settle for comfort without commitment, but stand up against evil by living as God would have his people live.
In many parts of the world today this is easier said than done. If you have integrity, you may be condemned. When I worked in Philips India, in the Quality Control Department in the 1960s, I refused to pass a component which I knew was defective. My boss (under pressure from the top) tried to force me to do it, but I refused – so he passed it and I didn’t get a promotion for three years. God is no one’s debtor, however. I bought a good camera and God opened for me a business to take photos at friends’ weddings. In the end I was getting more money than if I had been promoted! Incidentally, the radios we made failed in the field because of that defect and had to be recalled for repair.
In verses 6-9 Paul criticizes the false teachers for their depraved living. We need to understand the Bible well. It’s not enough just to learn without understanding and transformation. There is a need for proper theological teaching. We need to stand boldly for the truth.
May you become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a depraved generation, shining like stars in the universe.3
With the hymn writer, I know that I am prone to wander, prone to leave the God I love. Loving Father, I need your Spirit to plant the truth of your Word deep in my mind and heart to keep my path straight, to help me to do what is right.
1 Eph 5:16 2 Eph 5:16; Col 4:5 3 Cf Phil 2:15
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