(The following is the October 6 devotional from my Next Step Devotions book. Before reading it, I suggest you read 2 Timothy 3 and pay close attention to verses 1-5.)
Many Scripture passages, such as 2 Timothy 3:1-5, read like they were written yesterday: “But know this: Hard times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, demeaning, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of godliness but denying its power” (vv. 1-5). It’s as though Paul sees and perfectly describes in this passage modern society in all its decadence.
None of the wickedness in Paul’s list is new. Paul wrote this nearly 2,000 years ago, and these sins existed then. Even though the “last days” Paul spoke of began at Christ’s ascension, we are almost 2,000 years closer to Christ’s return than we were when he wrote this warning. Unlike the wishful thinking of those who wrongly assume humankind progresses upwardly continually, each generation exhibits the same sinful human heart rebelling against God. This rebellion against him will increase as Christ’s return approaches.
How do we respond to this intensified wickedness in the last days? We don’t despair and consider our situation hopeless. We don’t abandon confidence in God’s sovereignty. We trust that all things are marching toward his planned consummation. We carry on daily in faith and obedience to his Word, doing our part to call those trapped in sin to repentance and faith in the only One who can save them.
Read again 2 Timothy 3:1-5. Pause after each characteristic in the list, identifying ways you see that sin demonstrated today. Do any of these traits describe you? If so, pray for God’s help to overcome them. How can God use you to address some of these evils in your community?