2 Timothy 3:1-5
The Bible does not leave us in darkness concerning the unfolding of events in the end time. The “end time” is the season that will usher in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ for the saints, the reign of the antichrist, the judgement of Lucifer and the creation of a new heaven and a new earth. Many portions of scripture in the Bible speak of the signs by which we will know the end time. One of such scriptures that describe the signs of the end time is 2 Timothy 3:1-5. One major characteristic of the end time according to this scripture is that perilous times will come in the last days.
Are the perilous times here yet? With the advent of technological innovation and evolution, life has been made much easier for us. With just a tap on our devices, we can order a product from anywhere in the world and we will have it in no time. We can reach our loved ones who are far away through Facebook or Skype. How easier could things get!
As things get better and better, Biblical prophecy is being fulfilled on the other hand. It seems as though as science and technology are breaking into new grounds, evil is filling the earth more and more. As gadgets and technological equipment become more updated, it appears that humans are growing worse all the way. People now engage in various acts of wickedness that are beyond comprehension. As time passes, qualities like integrity, purity and sincerity have become a scarce commodity.
Most of the signs the Bible gave about the end time are already fulfilled. Jesus also spoke extensively on these signs before his death and resurrection (Matthew 24:1-51). Nations are rising against nations already. There are wars here and there. Pestilences, earthquakes and diseases now seem to be the order of the day. Without a doubt, we are right in the middle of the end time.
The Perilous Times
The beauty of 2 Timothy 3:1-5 is that it mostly describes the perilous times by character mutations that are found in people themselves. All the ungodly characteristics that make up the perilous times are associated with men. In other words, the wickedness of men makes up perilous times and not just external occurrences from our surroundings.
The more ungodly attitude men show, the more perilous times become. If our world will know peace, men must turn to God and forsake their evil ways. Let us consider a few of these evil characteristics that men display in perilous times:
Lovers Of Self
This is a major quality that has put the world in the chaotic state it is today. If we truly love people around us, we will do no evil against them. People will rather love themselves and their ambitions above everyone and everything else. The Bible does not ask us to hate ourselves, however, the Bible tells us to love ourselves and to love people around us just the way we love ourselves (Romans 13:8-10). Do we love people around us just the way we love ourselves? We must search our hearts to see that our motives and actions align with God’s law of love.
When any action you take is going to hurt anyone around you, it means you are a lover of self but not a lover of people. Becoming a lover of self will make the world more perilous. Almost all evils can be traced to being a lover of self rather than being a lover of God, self and his people.
The world is full of ungrateful people today. As little as the phrase “thank you” seems, the Bible tells us that the absence of it has put the world in a perilous state (2 Timothy 3:2). Much more than saying “thank you”, the Bible emphasizes on us having a heart posture of gratitude. We must learn the culture of appreciating people for whatever they do for us no matter how little those things seem. We must be grateful to God and the people all around us.
Many of us take the things that God does for us for granted. We may think that the gift of life or good health is just a trivial thing until we face difficult circumstances that make us know how precious these gifts are. Have you said thank you to God today for the seemingly little things he does for you? When last did you intentionally appreciate your wife, husband, children, friends and colleagues for the things they do for you?
Ingratitude is a major symptom of perilous times.
Having A Form Of Godliness
How wonderful it will be if all people who are Christians are truly godly. Many Christians profess God with their mouths alone but their hearts are far from him (Isaiah 29:13). Godliness is more than the outward show of piety or spirituality. Godliness extends to the heart. Godliness is born out of the fear of God and love for him. The world needs authentic godliness and not just a form of it. Godliness means “to be like God.” God is love, He is patient, kind, longsuffering and merciful. We must keep praying and allowing the Holy Spirit to work on us till we get to behave just like God. Only then will the world know true healing.
The perilous times may seem insurmountable. However, Jesus already told us about these times to help us to live in them successfully. Amid all the confusion in the world today, God has entrusted us (believers) with the responsibility of shining his in the darkness that has engulfed the world (Matthew 5:14-16).
The characteristics that are mentioned in 2 Timothy 3:15 are not to be found in our lives. Those qualities hinder God’s light from shining through us. We must become lovers of God and his people, we must show gratitude, humility, selflessness and godliness.
When we do this, the peril in the world will be replaced with peace, tranquillity and the reign of God’s kingdom.
King James Version (KJV)
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
New International Version (NIV)
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
“You must understand this, that in the last days distressing times will come. For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, brutes, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the outward form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid them!”
New American Bible (NASB)
“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, slanderers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness although they have denied its power; avoid such people as these.”
English Standard Version (ESV)
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”
The Living Bible (TLB)
“You may as well know this too, Timothy, that in the last days it is going to be very difficult to be a Christian. For people will love only themselves and their money; they will be proud and boastful, sneering at God, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful to them, and thoroughly bad. They will be hardheaded and never give in to others; they will be constant liars and troublemakers and will think nothing of immorality. They will be rough and cruel, and sneer at those who try to be good. They will betray their friends; they will be hotheaded, puffed up with pride, and prefer good times to worshiping God. They will go to church, yes, but they won’t really believe anything they hear. Don’t be taken in by people like that.”