Godlessness in the Last Days
Godlessness in the Last Days
“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. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men. You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Prior to WWI many people in the world (and church) were teaching that man was inherently good, and would behave so were it not for the influence of his environment. This misconception was literally “blown” apart once the “war to end all wars” was well underway.
The great loss of life confirmed that man was not indeed “inherently good” but rather, what the Bible said of man and his heart continually leaning toward evil, was in fact the defining reality of our existence. Some may blame God but He has given us everything we need to acknowledge Him through nature and in our conscience. It is mankind to blame for evil and not God.
When we go back to the first book of the Bible (Genesis) it is clear that God established perfection and man blew it by making things up as they went. This continues today as the world attacks each of us within, through corruption of character and without, through violence. However, this should not surprise students of the Bible.
As Christians, evangelicals or better yet, fully sold out followers of Jesus who believe and obey the Bible, we will be not only misunderstood but greatly antagonized as the end of days draws near. We see this in what Paul wrote to his young apprentice.
Though we are in the last days we do not know how many are left and so followers of Jesus must run to and read and believe and live out what the Bible says. Yes, it is true that if we desire to live like Jesus we will be persecuted, so it should not surprise us if the world attacks us as haters of mankind and lovers of the “fairy tales” written in the Bible.
Jesus did not lie to His followers when He told them that if they loved Him the world would respond with hatred. As a person who wants to be liked by everyone, these are not easy words to read from Paul or the Lord Jesus, but they are the truth and must be heeded and understood even though they may be hard to swallow.
However, Christians cannot run and hide, nor can they capitulate to the society around them. Instead, we survive with the sustaining grace of God, and that begins with prayer. Pray for “all the saints” Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:18. We must be bold in our prayer as we are encouraged to do in Hebrews 4:16.
One of the most challenging things we are called to do is to live in community with others. This is a challenge because we are far more content in “gated” communities, protected from the mess and hurt of the outer world. We don’t run counter to our solitary nature without powerful urging. While we may do things for people for a short time, living as the first-century church lived, in community, is a lonely beacon on a far hill to most of us.
The first Christians interacted every day with one another, simply living life together. If one had a need they would present it to the community and the need would be met. I suppose that many needs were met even if the need was not made public, but since they lived life together the need was already on the radar and the need met at just the right time.
So as the world becomes more and more antagonistic to Christians around the globe, we need neither retreat nor attack, but instead to respond as Christ would have us respond; with love and life-giving hope. It does begin in the community of believers but through the Holy Spirit, it does not stay there; it grows beyond its bounds, until it reveals to non-believers the strength and beauty of God’s love, through the example of His community.
Believers are to be realistic about the world, recognizing danger and preparing accordingly, but we are also to move people to the hope that can only come through Jesus Christ! There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Jesus and Jesus only is the way of eternal salvation and hope for a world that is becoming more and more godless in our inexorable march to the final day.