2 Timothy 3:1-5 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.”
Designers of Evil
We live in these last days, and people who live like this are numerous. And although everyone has a choice, and we all make our own choices, there are factors which influence the choices that we make for good or for evil. And one of those influences is the gospel message that we are taught. Some people were taught the true gospel that Jesus and his New Testament apostles taught, and others are taught a cheap substitute gospel.
The true gospel today is under fire and under persecution and another gospel has taken its place largely in the hearts of people professing faith in Jesus Christ. It resembles the true gospel in some ways, but it is more laid-back, more modern, and more acceptable to human flesh. For its designers were the self-indulgent and the intoxicated to sin who wanted to make room for them to continue in their sin only now without guilt and remorse.
They are those who have chosen to separate themselves from moral purity and from the divine character and will of Jesus Christ for their lives, but while still claiming him as Lord and Savior and heaven as their eternal destiny. They are those who want to do what feels natural, what is of the flesh and not of the Spirit, because it feels good to their flesh. And they are those who lie and cheat and scheme evil so they can continue to do evil.
The Two Gospels
Now, the true gospel teaches that we must be crucified with Christ in death to sin and be raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, and that Jesus died on that cross to deliver us from our slavery (addiction) to sin so we would now be slaves of God and of his righteousness. So, sin is to no longer have mastery over our lives to where we obey its lustful desires, but Jesus is to be our Lord and we are to walk in his righteousness, by his grace.
But the cheap grace supplanter for the true gospel teaches a faith in Jesus Christ that is not of God but is a creation of man which does not require dying with Christ to sin and which does not require that we live to Christ and to his righteousness. It is more like a mere acknowledgment of who Jesus is and of what the cheap grace gospel teaches with regard to what Jesus did for us on that cross, which is only a half-truth (deliberate half-truth).
So, the cheap grace gospel substitute for the true gospel does not deliver people out of their slavery (addiction) to sin but it coddles them in their sin, and so they remain dead in their sin still headed for hell while they are being promised heaven when they die. And so now people are professing faith in Jesus Christ, convinced that heaven is their eternal home, while they now feel the freedom to keep on in their sins, and so all hell is breaking loose!
And so it isn’t just the people of the world who live in deliberate and habitual sin against God, but it is many of the people who profess faith in Jesus Christ who are feeling at liberty to live like this convinced their salvation is secured regardless of how they live. So, they may have the appearance of godliness, especially if they put on a false front, but they deny the power of godliness in their lives by their chosen lifestyles, by what they do.
And we are to avoid such people as this, which is easier said than done, because those who live like this are numerous and they are all throughout the church (or what is falsely called church), and they include a large number of pastors, too. It appears that those continuing in deliberate and habitual sin are in the majority and those choosing to walk in moral purity and in righteousness and holiness are in the minority, at least in the USA.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-11; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Ac 26:18; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Eph 2:8-10]
2 Timothy 3:6-9 ESV
“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.”
This cheap grace gospel message has creeped into the church and into households and it has captivated those who are weak in the faith or those not of genuine faith in Jesus Christ who are being led astray already by various passions and sinful desires. And it is being brought into the church via wolves in sheep’s clothing who fake their Christianity in order to fool the people with their lies and with their trickery.
These false teachers of a false gospel are liars, manipulators, opportunists, egocentric, deceivers, not trustworthy, opposite of good, workers of evil, and morally unclean, who pretend to be followers of Christ in order to manipulate and deceive the people into believing that the cheap grace gospel is the truth and into rejecting the true gospel as a lie. They so cleverly blend evil and good and truth and lies that not many people discern who they are.
These are not people who are ignorant of the truth, though. These are people who know the truth and who are deliberately distorting the truth in order to get people to believe the lies so that they will believe they are going to heaven when they die all the while they are still headed to hell. So these people work for Satan but they disguise themselves as servants of righteousness in order to deceive and to lead people astray.
But the encouragement here, if you can call it that, is that one day their folly will be plain to all. One day their sins will be exposed for what they are, and if there is still time, then hopefully many who have followed them will have their eyes opened to the truth and they will reject the lies and now embrace the truth and they will turn from their sins to follow Jesus in obedience to his ways before it is too late.
2 Timothy 3:12-14 ESV
“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.”
But, if we are those who are holding fast to the word of truth, who are exposing the lies, and who are teaching the truth in contrast to the lies, we will be persecuted by these who are liars and deceivers whose goal it is to lead people in the wrong direction. And we will be persecuted by some of their followers, too, who will come against us or who just reject us and ignore us in favor of listening to and believing in the lies.
For, Jesus said that if we follow him with our lives that we will be hated and persecuted like he was. And evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. And this is happening every day. And it is heartbreaking to see so many people believing the lies and rejecting the truth because the lies tickle their itching ears and ease their consciences and give them permission to keep on in their deliberate and habitual sin.
But we are not to let this dishearten us or to keep us from speaking and living the truth. We must persevere in our walks of faith and obedience to our Lord and in exposing the lies and in proclaiming the truth for all to hear who will listen. For many people need to hear the truth, and there are people in this world who do want to hear the truth, even if they are few in number. So keep speaking and don’t give up. And trust God with the results.
[Matt 5:10-16; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Matt 28:18-20; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21; Acts 1:8; Acts 26:18; Rom 5:3-5; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; 2 Co 1:3-11; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-27; Phil 3:7-11; Col 3:16; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; Heb 3:13; Heb 12:3-12; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 2:9; 1 Pet 4:12-17]
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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