The apostle Paul tells us,
- “. . . in the last days perilous times will come” (II Timothy 3:1 – NKJV)
Having, over the past two devotions (5/17 & 18, 2016), already looked at this particular text and related texts from chapter three of Second Timothy, I thought it noteworthy that in the overall context the apostle Paul points out the prime time players in “the last days,” in the “perilous times” that will mark these “last days.”
- “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse” (II Timothy 3:12-13 – NKJV)
First, let us establish once again that it is this writer’s understanding that “the last days” talked about here are those that follow the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are living in “the last days . . . days” that will culminate when this same Jesus comes again, when Almighty God begins His final work of bringing in His Kingdom.
As you and I live in these “last days” we are told that there will be “perilous times . . . times” of danger, difficulty, furious “times.” And these “times” will see those,
- “. . . who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus”
- “. . . who (are) . . . evil men”
- “. . . who (are) . . . impostors”
Thus, the prime time players of “the last days” in which “perilous times” will come.
And as time runs on, as history is recorded, and the earth becomes filled with more and more people (cf. Hosea 4:7), both past and present, it is this list of players who the Scriptures call us to take special note of.
(1) – Those “who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus” – The great and small who have been saved by the grace of God through the work of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. These are those, both past and present, of whom it can be said “desire to live godly.” I see these as what the apostle James called, the “doers of the word.” They are blood-washed, Spirit-baptized, born again believers. They are the disciples of Christ and it is for us to “know,” (3:1), and history records it, that they “will suffer persecution . . . for living godly in Christ Jesus.”
(2) – Those who are “evil men” – This word “evil” here speaks of “morally corrupt, wicked, doers of evil; vicious” (Zodhiates). It is given here to describe “men.” When one looks at history, we can begin to build quite a list of “evil men.” These “men,” and for that matter, “women,” have names that fill the history books, and their number has increased with the passing of time, and their “evil” deeds have caused many a Christian to lose their life, many a non-believer to lose their life, and many a human being to cringe at the “evil” they practice. Such “men” will, the Scriptures tell us,” grow worse and worse.”
(3) – Those who are labeled, “impostors” – This word “impostor” speaks of “an enchanter with drugs, a cunning cheat; one who leads astray, a seducer” (Zodhiates). The agents of “the Liar” (John 8:42-44) who through their “cunning” deceive the masses. Oh history is replete with these “seducers.” And as time has passed since our Lord ascended into heaven these “impostors” have grown in numbers, just as we are told here in verse 13; they “will grow worse and worse.” God has warned us over and over and over again in the Scriptures to be on guard for these “enchanters.” Over and over again we are admonished to “not be deceived.”
The prime time players in the “perilous times” of the “last days.” I always marvel at how the Bible speaks to the times past and the times of the present . . . and for those “who . . . live godly in Christ Jesus,” the time to come:
- “. . . for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day . . . the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (II Timothy 1:12; 4:8 – NKJV)
Have a good day. . . and let me ask you a question: “Are you desiring to live godly in Christ Jesus? And are you ready to face the evil men and the impostors, no matter their number, and do battle with them with the Sword of the Spirit?”
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