By Charles Wages
“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, high minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof; from such turn away.” (2 Tim. 3:1-5)
Surely there would be an agreement or consensus of opinion that we live in dangerous or perilous times. However, why they are dangerous is not always agreed upon. The “last days” of the “church age” in which we live (not the “end of the world”) are dangerous for many reasons and in many areas.
These dangers can be classified in many areas. Warfare between the nations and people of these nations is affecting every nation on earth. There seems to be no answer to avoiding or preventing it.. Our Lord said that there would be “wars and rumors of wars;” that “nation shall rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom” (Matt. 24:5-6). Though this refers to the future tribulation period described in the book of Revelation, yet the very language is typical of our times. Will wars ever end?
There are a myriad of physical illnesses which constitute a real danger to us all. The AIDS epidemic is capable of killing literally millions of people on every continent. The number of things that affect the body and mind are overwhelming and costs billions of dollars annually.
Then there are the natural catastrophes such as earthquakes, floods, fires, and weather related dangers all over the universe.
However, after all is considered concerning the “dangers” that affect mankind, the one that is the greatest danger and least considered is the very “heart and soul” of all humankind.
This prominent and preeminent danger is the “spiritual warfare” being waged against every individual on earth. Some nineteen things are mentioned in 2 Timothy 3:1-5, but the last one could be the root cause of all the others: “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” This sort of spiritual corruption is invading and affecting every household and every person, young and old. This is the real danger!
While on earth our Lord used his harshest words in speaking to or referring to the “religious” leaders of His day. Some fifteen times in the book of Matthew, Jesus called the Pharisees “hypocrites.” This word, only used by our Lord, refers to one acting on a stage or just “play acting.” The word to describe this “play acting” is “hypocrisy” or “putting on” a front. At first glance, this may appear harmless, but when packaged as true faith, it is very dangerous.
Most of the things that we consider “dangerous” are things that harm or destroy the body. As important as this may be, it is vastly more important that spiritual dangers be our concern. Why? This involves our eternal life! Much of the “health, wealth” religious preaching that we hear is for entertainment or personal gain. The propagating and proclaiming of this dangerous medicine is far more dangerous than W.M.D.
The two leading apostles, Peter and Paul, warn over and over of these “false teachers” and their “pernicious preaching.”
We read in 2 Peter 2,
“But there were false prophets among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you; whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” (vs. 1-3)
Remember the apostle Paul told us that we are living in “perilous” or dangerous times (2 Tim. 3:1) and then warned “from such turn away.” He especially characterized them by saying, they “have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof.” He then concludes by saying, “from such turn away.” In conclusion, the wonderful truth of Ephesians 6:10-18 is always so appropriate. It stands, not only as informing truth, but as warning truth of the “danger of our days.”
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” (Eph. 6:10-18)
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding, In all thy ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” (Prov. 3:5-6)