I was watching a detective show that my wife and I enjoy, and there is an administrator that, in the show, is trying to quit smoking. As the tension heats up in an investigation she remarks that she really needs to smoke a cigarette and we laugh because it’s a funny line and we need the release as watchers from the tension as well. However, as I frequently do I overthink that comment and realize that it’s not really funny at all, but instead is rather sad. In reality, if someone uses a smoke to diffuse tension, there will never be a time that is a good one to quit, because quitting itself raises tension.
The days in which we live are difficult. I realize that when we look at what our parents or grandparents went through, they also lived in difficult times in their own right. These days are especially difficult, I believe, because we find ourselves on the precipice of the second coming of Christ. I know you think that likewise our parents and grandparents did as well, but I think that we are so much closer than they as we see the events moving rapidly toward that end.
If we look in the book of II Timothy 3:1-7 the NKJV reads:
“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! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
You can tell immediately that Paul is describing the days in which we live. Not long ago we named a generation the “me” generation. So in many ways these attributes should not be a surprise to us. Let’s break down this passage and see why the people Paul describes are solely focused on themselves. First of all, Paul tells us the people that live in “the last days” and why because of these people the times will be “perilous.” They will be “lovers of themselves” and how they live out this self-focus will be by displaying these attributes.
They will want as much money as they can get and will not care how it is obtained. This makes me think of our modern politicians. I could name many Democrats that have demonstrated this, but the truth is that both political parties have members that display this wanton disregard for morals in pursuit of enriching themselves, even at the expense of the electorate they represent. They are boasting of their many accomplishments and proud of what they deem success of their candidacy, but many times pass laws that they do not have to abide. Many of these are also blasphemers by claiming to personally believe in Christian principles, but legislate opposite of them, such as abortion, freedom of religion, denying the free exercise of belief in the public square as well as many others. By doing this, they blaspheme the God they claim to worship.
By disobeying parents, children rebel against the authority that God has established but it does not stop with parents; they rail against their bosses, those in government, police and other law enforcement. Police are especially despised by political figures who hope to gain more power over others. They seek to destroy established law enforcement in order to put up something to enable them to control the electorate which would be left to the mercy of the criminal elements. It is the criminals that are increasing in numbers, now supported by those in power that will display attributes of being “unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” and they will soon be given free rein in our society.
But the last attribute Paul lists is the most grievous, “having a form of godliness but denying its power. “ This travesty even reaches into our churches. If the Laodicean Church spoken of in Revelation 3 represents the commitment of the Church before Christ’s second coming, then we are living in those days. Many in the church do not regularly attend, many do not believe that the Bible is the Truth from God, and many have a limited view of what it means to be a Christian. Churches are declining in numbers of worshippers and with COVID restrictions being handed down to scatter the church, believers give up their rights without even a whimper of opposition.
“What can we do,” you may be asking. Those that have no moral code, whose desire is power and wealth without restriction of the means and with no regard for whom they destroy to get what they desire, seemingly cannot be stopped. This is an interesting quandary and one that deserves our consideration. Perhaps the Lord is testing the believer’s faith in God; believers must pray most earnestly for God’s hand now that all our efforts have been expended. What indeed can stand in the way of those who will not be compelled by self-control? Is this what the citizenry faced in the midst of Nazi Germany or in Communist Russia?
“But know this,” Paul wants us to know how the last days will be like but we also can resist and even prevail in such days as we find ourselves. What weapons do we have at our disposal? How do we resist against such overwhelming an enemy? I John 5:4 tells us our answer. The NKJV reads:
“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”
Our faith in Christ is what overcomes the world. Jesus has overcome the world and tells us to be of good cheer with this knowledge. When we stand with our faith it provides strength to ourselves and others no matter what adversity we should meet.
John tells us again how we can prevail over our seemingly unstoppable foe in Revelation 12:7-11 the NKJV reads:
“And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”
The enemy has no weapon that can penetrate what covers us when we cover ourselves with the Blood of Jesus (our faith), when we profess our faith (our testimony) and will live our faith no matter what the enemy brings, even when faced with persecution that leads to our death. No weapon can destroy what God has provided. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:10-13:
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
Let us stand in this evil day. Stand in the power of Christ that has overcome the world.