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 Timothy 3:1-5
This list is extensive and comprehensive, encompassing many areas of fault and misdeed. Notice a few inclusions that stand out. What characteristics seem to pop out from the rest of the list? The first one for me is “Disobedient to parents”, out of all of the things mentioned: covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, and lovers of self, we have this disobedient to parents characteristic. It just doesn’t seem to fit with the rest. We think of it as such a light issue that it doesn’t belong on a list of major sins. But, this list is one of God’s ways of telling us that all sins are the same.
God doesn’t think that one sin is worse than another. In fact, there is only one sin that is greater than all the rest and can actually send you to Hell. Now, Hell isn’t a curse word, it’s a place whose name is used as a curse word. But, only one sin out of all of them can condemn you forever. I’ll get back to this one later.
What else do we see on the list? Actually, I’m going to take a moment to ponder why our vocabulary has fallen into such degradation. Four of the words in this passage are not recognized by my computer’s dictionary. Yet, they say what they say with such succinct beauty that it baffles me as to how or why we have forgotten them.
What is the danger, what is the warning here? The warning is that these kinds of people have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof. Who is it that has a form of godliness? Well, the church is one example. The church of God is full of artificial Christians, those that have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof.
Artificial Christians in the church is always one area where we can find those that have a form of godliness, but what about in other areas? According to Two Corinthians, political figures are qualified to have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof: presidential candidates that look good on the outside, but have not the power of God within them.
So, we have the characteristics, the caution, then there is the command. The very last comment in this passage is “From such turn away”. We don’t need to be involved with, or even look upon these types of people: the ones that have a form of godliness, but deny God’s power. It says turn away, that means 180°, a complete about face. When you’re turned away from someone or something, you don’t even look upon it.
From those that conceal their pride, deceit, boasting, covetousness, accusations, fierceness, and all other manner of sin behind a form of godliness, turn away.
As always, thanks for reading.
—the anonymous novelist