2 Timothy 3.1-5 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
For men will be…
lovers of themselves unthankful brutal lovers of money unholy despisers of good boasters unloving traitors proud unforgiving headstrong blasphemers slanderers haughty disobedient to
without self-control lovers of pleasure rather
than lovers of God
… having a form of godliness but denying its power.
And from such people turn away!
Today we will finish our series on this verse. Notice the progression and effect of replacing a love for God with a love for self. The characteristics start as inward changes of attitudes and motives and manifest themselves outwardly in increasing intensity.
First your attitude and language changes (proud and boastful). Then you begin to respond unrighteously to those whom you come in contact with (disobedient to parents, unthankful, unforgiving, etc). Then as pride runs its natural course, the “lovers of themselves” will begin to be purposefully aggressive towards that which is good. At this point, even the “form of godliness” they have will be obviously self-serving and corrupt denying the power of God’s Word to have any effect whatsoever.
Slandering is the speaking of words to harm someone. They frequently are dressed up in “concerned” or “prayerful” language, but God knows the intent. There are the very obvious attempts to hurt someone, then there are the subtle methods such as “benevolent” gossiping that is slander in Christian clothing.
If your words diminish another for any reason, you should be careful that you are not guilty of slander. Your opinions, comments, observations and “constructive criticism” of others need to be very carefully weighed and your true motive examined before uttering them. Honesty will reveal that seemingly benign comments are often meant to elevate ourselves at the expense of others.
Eph 4.31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Without Self Control
Lack of self-control in its simplest definition can be summed up with the word “impulsive”. It is following your current feeling or desire despite the consequences.
Self-control always measures the holiness and consequences; and then responds appropriately. Lack of self-control is frequent excuse for ungodliness; “I just couldn’t control myself”; “If I think it, I say it”; “I felt like it”.
Lack of self-control says if I feel it, think it, or want it,
I will immediately gratify it without regard to God or consequences.
2 Pet 1.5-7 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.
Brutal, Despiser of Good, Traitors, Headstrong & Haughy
We now move to open aggressive antagonism against God. No longer is a passive disinterest satisfactory. Now we have to search and react to all things Godly in an offensive way. This life is characterized by lack of mercy, wicked indulgence, rampant self interest and defiant stubborness. We laugh at righteousness declaring “Fools!” to anyone advocating it. In truth, they are demonstrating the truth of God’s Word.
Proverbs 1.7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
The result of sin is a “form of godliness” that denies its power. Power to do what? To change our lives. To save us. Don’t underestimate the end results of allowing any of these chacteristics to go unchecked in your life. Like an avalanche, it will only gain momentum, force and size resulting in loss and heartache.
Lord, if there is any sign of these sins in our lives, reveal it clearly to us today. Help us to understand that BIG sin, starts with little sin undealt with. Instill in us true Godliness today demonstrating its power through our changed lives. Amen.