Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

From Such Turn Away

2 Timothy 3:1-5 NKJV — But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
What are the Last Days?
The definition of the last days depends on the passage.  Sometimes it refers to the millennial reign of Christ.  Sometimes it refers to the day in which we live.  For example in Hebrews 1:2, God has spoken through His Son in these last days.  In 2 Timothy 3, Paul seemed to think they were already living in the last days since Timothy was to turn away from those described.  That was a present action at the time of the writing. When he says perilous times will come, he may be saying that perilous times are going to be ongoing until the return of the Lord..
The Perilous Times
What are perilous times?  They are troublesome, dangerous or grievous times.  Do we live in times like these?  Of course.  Are times getting worse and worse?  Yes.  Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:13, ‘But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”  We know that this is true of the conditions in our secular and political world, but is it also true in the church, the body of Christ?  I submit that it is.  
We know that from the study of history that our day is probably a lot better than many periods when it comes to men without a conscience who lie and manipulate and kill in order to maintain power and control.  My concern is that Paul seems to think Timothy needs to avoid these kinds of people in the Christian community..  He says, “From such turn away.”  Today, Paul might have been considered “judgmental” in making that statement.  In Romans he makes it clear that we are to receive those whom God has received (Romans 15:7).  But when people have the characteristics described in the above verses, they must be avoided. 
What do they Love?
Notice the number of times love is mentioned in these verses.  They love themselves, they love money, they are unloving or without natural affection, and lovers of pleasure.  Yet, they call themselves Christians and many Christians lack the ability to see that their actions are not Christ-like at all.  It is obvious that these people are living for self and they are using religion as a means of deceiving people into believing that they are good when in fact they are evil.  
Do we Know People like This?
Of course we do.  As Christians we should not be a part of deception.  We should not be justifying pride and boasting and traitors (people who are not loyal), and those who use religion to control people.  We are supposed to be preaching the Gospel of grace and we can’t do that unless we are distinctly different from the people described in this passage. If we associate with known liars and with those who don’t pay their bills or keep their promises,  and who boast about their achievements, we will be considered to be like them.   
If our Gospel testimony is going to be effective, we must be bearers of the truth.  No doubt that is why Paul tells Timothy, “From such turn away.”
Bruce Collins
Meditation for the week of August 16, 2020

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