Denying its Power

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!

—2 Timothy 3:1–5

If we knew nothing of prophecy regarding Israel from Ezekiel, Amos, and the prophets, if we knew nothing of the words of Jesus in Matthew 24 and 25 regarding the days preceding His return, and if we did not have the book of Revelation to provide a time line of church history and the following events of the tribulation, these five verses alone would tell us we are in the last days!

The list certainly reads like a page from the newspaper or a broadcast from the evening news. Each day we hear stories about man’s pride, greed, arrogance, and disdain for God and His name; the rebellion of children; the pervasive sense of entitlement; and the lack of love and forgiveness. Furthermore, if it’s an election year, we are in for months of slander and mudslinging. From all these things, we see the absence of self-control and the brutality that results from it, the despising of good things and even the redefining of good. You get the point, I’m sure. We are in the last days.

Paul closed this prophetic word of knowledge to Timothy with the reason people would be that way in the last days: “having a form of godliness but denying its power.” This phrase is interesting because it could also read that in the last days, men will “formulate a gospel that contradicts its meaning.” This too is concrete evidence that we are in the last days and confirms the need to be in a good church that teaches God’s truth “truthfully” so we can know which things to turn away from.

Paul’s list above is a list of what people who don’t know God do. However, Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 5:9 not to break off relationships with the people of the world, because they’re the very ones we need to reach. Paul then instructs us not to keep company with anyone who calls himself a brother who also practices unrepentant sin. This is in line with the sentiment above concerning those who formulate a gospel that contradicts its meaning. From such people, we are to turn away.

It is funny how we sit in judgment of God’s Word at times, as though it could be in error. I believe this is the most common form of error in our day. Paul tells us by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit not to keep company with such people in hopes of them coming to their senses. They are on the wrong path and following someone who has contradicted the true meaning of the gospel.

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