In his last inspired letter to Timothy, Paul wrote, “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” (2 Tim. 3:1-5). Do any of the aforementioned things sound familiar to what we see in the world today? Absolutely! For the purpose of this article, we will examine some of these things more closely.
It is useful to note that “…the last days…” is not a reference to what many might believe that it means. There have been different dispensations throughout man’s history. There originally was the Patriarchal Age. Next came the Mosaic Age. Then, and for approximately the last two thousand years, man has lived, and is still living, in the Christian Age. James indicated, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds…” (James 1:1-2). The “…the last days…” is a reference to the time period of the Law of Christ/New Testament (the Christian Age). Again, we have been living in “…the last days…” for approximately two thousand years.
With that being explained, Paul basically described the behaviors and attitudes that so terribly permeate much of modern society. The very first thing listed ( “…men shall be lovers of their own selves…”) is like a plague in the world. Perhaps it should be noted from the outset that it is not wrong for a man to take care of his own needs (Eph. 5:28-29). Problems arise when man becomes vain and self-centered. We need to eliminate the “me, me, me” ideology from our lives. Paul encouraged first century Christians to do that very thing. “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…” (Phil. 2:3-5).
Paul’s inspired accuracy is proven again when we notice another modern problem (“…lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God…”). A very popular saying that has become accepted, promoted and embraced by so many (especially young people who have been taught such from childhood) is “love is love.” It is supposed to be the “answer” for the sinful practices of some individuals (see Rom. 1:18-32; 1 Cor. 6:9-10). The notion is that any type of “love” is not wrong. Mankind needs a reminder of what was taught to Israel of old, and what Jesus indicated in His earthly ministry, “…Thou shalt love the Lord they God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Matt. 22:37; see also Deut. 6:4-9). Nothing, and no one, should be “loved” more than God. We also need to know that if a person really loves God, then he will obey God (John 14:15; 1 John 5:3). He will not try to justify his sinful actions by claiming “love is love.” He will accept that when God says that something is sin, then man should not try to redefine such as “love.” We can make the choice to love and serve God instead of earthly pleasures/desires (Josh. 24:15). Moses is a great example of such. “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. By faith, he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible” (Heb. 11:24-27).
Paul’s descriptions of men in “…the last days…” are precise. Almost two thousand years ago, he let Timothy know what to expect. It is should not take us by surprise to see such. With that being noted, we should continue to preach and teach against such practices and mindsets (2 Tim. 4:1-4; Matt. 7:13-14). Popular opinion is not the standard for mankind, but God’s Word is (John 12:48). Corey Barnette