The third chapter of Second Timothy is both revealing and depressing at the same time. Please do not misunderstand me, I am not demeaning any part of the Word of God. I am simply expressing how one can feel when he reads that chapter, and then compares it to the modern-day problems that exist. Let us notice some striking facts.
First of all, Paul made it clear that there would be certain things that would be prevalent in what he called “the last days” (2 Tim. 3:1). While there are some that try to define “the last days” as the time immediately before the return of Christ, “the last days” is simply a way of referring to the last dispensation of time. Mankind has been living in “the last days” for almost two thousand years. “The last days” is the Christian Age. The writer of Hebrews indicated that he was living in “the last days” when he penned, “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” (Heb. 1:1-2). So, what Paul mentioned to Timothy would be able to be witnessed by those of us alive today.
The list begins with “For men shall be lovers of their own selves” (2 Tim. 3:2). That sure hits home today. The idea of “self-love” permeates our society. Many young people have been indoctrinated with the idea that they are the supreme authority of their lives. They have been taught that whatever makes them “happy” should be explored and embraced. While yes, we should not hate our lives, we also need to understand that “self” does not come first. Jesus stated, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matt. 22:37-39). Likewise, Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Our young, and old for that matter, people need to be taught these great principles.
Another of the things that Paul listed is that men would be “unholy” (2 Tim. 3:2). Unholiness is living a lifestyle of impurity and debauchery. How many people today care about being holy/pure? The lifestyles that many are choosing are far from pure. Some of the most embraced lifestyles today are found in what has become known as the LGBT+ community. These lifestyles are overwhelmingly shown to be unholy and impure. Take for instance what is recorded in the book of Romans. Paul wrote, “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet” (Rom. 1:26-27). We must continue to educate those around us how destructive and unholy living in these sins really is. Instead of making the choice to follow the “popular” opinions of men, we should seek to be holy like God. Peter wrote, “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Pet. 1:14-16). Just imagine how much better things could be if men chose holiness over unholiness.
While there are many other things that Paul listed that are prevalent in “the last days”, this article has highlighted two specifically. I would like to be able to tell you that things on Earth will eventually get better during “the last days”, but instead, Paul indicated, “…evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:13). Until the Lord returns, much more deception and sin are going to be embraced by multitudes. It can be very saddening and frustrating. We must remember that we are not preparing for everlasting life on this Earth, but rather we are preparing for everlasting life in Heaven. In Heaven, we will not have to be concerned with wickedness and sin. John wrote, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Rev. 21:4). We must endure for now, but always be aware that better things are coming!
~ Corey Barnette