2 Timothy 3:1-5 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! (NKJV)
In the last days, good will be called evil and evil will be called good. Mankind will have a “form” of godliness but it will be false because their hearts will be so wicked they won’t even recognize how evil their behavior is. Who would deny that in general even professing Christians are typically tolerant of an embarrassing level of sinfulness?
Let’s look at some Biblical contrasts between wickedness and righteousness.
Proverbs 28:1 The wicked flee when no one pursues, But the righteous are bold as a lion. (NKJV)
Wickedness keeps a person restless and unsettled. The guilty conscience worries about being caught at any moment and sees every person as the one who will uncover secret sin.
When we stand righteous before God through repentance and prayer, we are bold in the face of every situation. When we are in close fellowship with God, we don’t fear discovery of concealed sin and hypocrisy.
Psalm 10:3 For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire; He blesses the greedy and renounces the LORD. (NKJV)
The wicked person brags about being free of Godly constraints, and proudly proclaims exactly what they think of anyone who would dare “judge” them for their sinful desire. How many times have you heard someone say that it is “nobody’s business” what they do?
Psalm 34:17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles. (NKJV)
The righteous are heard by the Lord, who is faithfully listening for our cries of help. The Lord is ready and able to deliver the righteous from their troubles.
Psalm 37:12 The wicked plots against the just, And gnashes at him with his teeth. (NKJV)
The wicked constantly look for ways to persecute the righteous because holiness exposes sin. A wicked person feels guilty in the presence of the Godly and instead of responding in repentance, they seek to destroy the one who exposes wickedness just by their presence.
Proverbs 15:8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But the prayer of the upright is His delight. (NKJV)
Nothing a wicked person does pleases God, no matter how “good” the act may appear on the surface. However, the prayers of the righteous are a joyous thing to God; they are His delight.
I highlight these verses to demonstrate that the Bible clearly divides the wicked and the righteous. There is nothing “relative” or ambiguous about it. It is not uncertain or debatable. The wicked are condemned and the righteous are blessed.
The wicked and the righteous are clearly defined,
and the consequences plainly stated.
We live in a world today where the line between the wicked and righteous has been blurred. It is considered “intolerant” to draw a line between good and evil. It is said to be “judgmental” to declare absolute right and wrong. It is “mean spirited” to call anything sinful.
The result is a world that finds the words “righteous” and “wicked” to be old-fashioned, “religious” terms. But the Bible clearly divides all people into one or the other. The blessings of righteousness are clearly pronounced. The condemnation of wickedness declared without question.
…For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…
Read that list again (lovers of themselves, etc.). There is not one behavior on that list that is not defended today as acceptable, given the right circumstances (relative morality). The whole idea of wickedness is reserved either for the most severe extremes in taboo behavior, or is hypocritically applied to anyone who is “intolerant” or “judgmental” enough to declare that God HAS set an knowable standard of right and wrong (a STANDARD, not a LIST). Just about any “lifestyle” or “personal choice” is considered “nobody’s business” as long as “it doesn’t hurt anyone else”. The only person considered wicked is the person who dares to call anything “sinful”.
In the last days perilous times will come when mankind will have a form of godliness that cohabitates quite comfortably with sin. Those times are no doubt upon us.
Father, we pray for Your strength and guidance in these perilous times. It is becoming harder and harder to stand up for Your truth. We pray for courage as the world grows more wicked every day. Amen.
Contemplation: Do you tolerate a certain level of wickedness in your life? What is your standard of holiness? Other people, or God? Is all of your “Godliness” truly Godly, or just a “form”? How can a person tell?
Application: Wickedness is not relative. God has given us an absolute standard regardless of the world’s standard. Do you know what that standard is?
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?