Do you ever wonder why life continues to become difficult? Why is there so much evil in the world? Do you constantly become surprised, dismayed and shocked at how wicked society and people can be to one another?
It is said that there are ONLY TWO kind of problems in the world:
(1) Our problem with our relationship with God and
(2) Our problem with our relationship with each other.
You only need to read the newspaper or the news on the Internet and you will discover that we live in a wicked generation and there appears to be no limits to the wicked actions that people will do. The majority of people do not have a fear of God nor a love for their fellow neighbour. You hardly hear any good news whenever you read or watch the news.
2 Timothy 3:1-5
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
Could it be that we are in the last days? Are we beginning to experience the birth pangs of the end of times that Jesus spoke about?
When we read 2 Timothy 3:1-5, God gives us in His word an idea of what the last days will be like.
(a) There will come times of difficulty in families, in society, in nations and in the whole world.
(b) The condition of man itself will be that of wickedness and godlessness.
Let us look at each individual wicked condition of man mentioned in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 and understand God’s perspective
WHY WE ARE EXPERIENCING DIFFICULT TIMES
- People will be LOVERS OF SELF. This means that they will be conceited; they will be filled with vanity; they will think mostly of themselves and their actions will have no consideration for other people.
- People will be LOVERS OF MONEY. This means that people will value money more than anything or anybody else. To these people, money will be more important than God. Even religious people or false prophets will deceive and exploit people for money.
- People will be PROUD. This means that they will be boasters. These people will boast in their achievements and in their effort; they will not acknowledge God for their success; they will see themselves as “little gods”.
- People will be ARROGANT. This means that people will feel self-important; they will believe that they are better than other people; they will have no desire to learn from other people
- People will be ABUSIVE. This means that people will mistreat, exploit, pervert, assault, insult and commit all sort of physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological damage on each other – especially on the weak.
- People will be DISOBEDIENT TO PARENTS. People will not honour or respect their parents.
- People will be UNGRATEFUL. People will be unthankful. They will have no appreciation to their fellowman nor to God. They will not acknowledge the help of God nor of others to guide or improve their life.
- People will be UNHOLY. This means that the motives and hearts of people will not be pure. Their hearts and minds will be corrupted and defiled before God.
- People will be HEARTLESS. This means that people will be unloving and hateful. They will have no remorse for any bad things that they do. They will not repent and they will not care about doing the right thing. Their conscience will be seared.
- People will be UNAPPEASABLE. People will be unforgiving. They will keeps grudges.
- People will be SLANDEROUS. People will falsely speak words that damage the reputation of other people. They will defame or falsely testify about other people in order to damage their character.
- People will be WITHOUT SELF-CONTROL. People will be addicted to all sorts of things, eg drugs, sinful pleasures and perform various taboo acts. Some will yield to the control of evil or demonic spirits.
- People will be BRUTAL. People will be extreme, vicious, cruel, lacking human sensibility
- People will NOT LOVE GOOD. People will be lovers of evil. They will take pleasure in sinful behaviours. They will see the good things as being bad but however embrace bad values and bad cultures as their way of life.
- People will be TREACHEROUS. People will be disloyal, faithless and unfaithful. They will be dangerously unstable and unpredictable.
- People will be RECKLESS. People will be marked by defiant disregard for danger or consequences. They will act without thinking of the harmful effects of their negative actions.
- People will be SWOLLEN WITH CONCEIT. People will have an exaggerated sense of self-importance. They will be extremely arrogant and vain. They will have a false sense of pride.
- People will be LOVERS OF PLEASURE RATHER THAN LOVERS OF GOD. People will find more time for pleasures of all sorts rather than to make time to spend with God. In other words, God will not be first in their lives. People will seek to satisfy their fleshly desires and needs and not seek God who is able to satisfy one’s needs.
- People will have THE APPEARANCE OF GODLINESS, BUT DENYING ITS POWER. People will be religious; they will look godly, act godly but what they will not have godliness because what they claim to believe will not correspond with their actions.
My understanding of 2 Timothy 3:5 is that there will be absolutely no boundaries to the kind of sin that people will do. People will be lawless and without self control. I am reminded of the days of Noah, before the great flood, where it says in Genesis 6:5 that “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually”. We therefore see a detailed description of the wicked condition of man in the last days in 2 Timothy 3:5 from Paul. Basically the conscience of people will be seared and these type of people will be unteachable and they will not repent at all from wrong doing nor will they recognise or accept the God’s word and values.
AVOID SUCH PEOPLE
In 2 Timothy 3:5, Paul ends part of his description of why the last days will be difficult times by saying “Avoid such people”.
Paul is not saying that we should hate such people. We of course must love them and also we must preach and teach the gospel of Christ Jesus to anybody who is lost. The reason why he says we should avoid such people as the 19 types of people mentioned in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 is because some of these habits, behaviours and characteristics are contagious and can spread very easily from person to person or from one society to the next. These 19 characteristics become a lifestyle.
For example, it was not so long ago when the idea of homosexuality and gay marriage was accepted. It only took a situation where one nation radically accepted gay marriage in particular and made it law, that the idea that homosexuals can marry one another is now becoming a growing culture and spreading among various nations. Instead of homosexuality and gay marriage being seen as taboo, the idea has been embraced and accepted under the umbrella of human rights or equality. Therefore this ungodly culture of the acceptance of homosexuality is growing fast but yet this lifestyle does not please God. In certain nations, if you publically oppose the sin of homosexuality or gay marriage, you are seen as promoting hatred.
Therefore sinful habits and sinful people must be avoided, especially in situations where the people who are promoting sin are deliberately rebellious and not willing to repent or accept God’s values and Christ Jesus. The Bible discourages us from being unequally yoked with an unbeliever (2 Corinthians 6:14) and that bad company corrupts good character (1 Corinthians 15:33)