Friday, 13 April 2018
For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 2 Timothy 3:2
Paul now describes why “perilous times will come” as indicated in the previous verse. He will pen out a long list describing people whose life and conduct will bring about a stain on Christianity because of their character. As these are evaluated, remember that these type of people exist both in the church and outside of the church. Further, they have existed at all times in humanity. Therefore, Paul’s note about “the last days” in the previous verse encompass the entire church age which lies ahead from the time of his writing.
In his descriptions, he begins with, “For men will be lovers of themselves.” This is an obvious flaw that describes countless people. In the church, it is wholly inappropriate. If a person has called on Christ, it is because they realize they need to be saved. If one needs to be saved, then he realizes that he is fallen due to sin. For someone to be a lover of himself is to set himself against a need for Christ’s cleansing from sin. Self-idolatry and true worship of God through Christ cannot coexist.
Next he says, “lovers of money.” The sense here is someone whose god is money. He is greedy for it. It is his passion and desire to get rich, and to continue to increase in wealth. One can be a billionaire and not be a lover of money, and one can be a poor man and be a lover of money. The possession of money is not the issue, but rather the desire for the possession of money. Jesus, speaking under the law, stated a truth which exists at any and all times when He said in Matthew 6:24 –
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
Paul next speaks of those who are “boastful.” The word describes a person who shows himself off in a loud and arrogant way. HELPS Word Studies says of this word, “properly, a wandering vagrant (vagabond), boasting to anyone who is foolish enough to take him seriously! This kind of person claims many things he can’t really do, so he must always keep moving on to new, naive listeners.” This is a person who has an “I” problem.
The next category is the “proud.” In the Greek, it is a compound word, huperephanos. The word phaínō signifies to “shine forth.” The prefix huper is the root of our word “hyper.” Add the word “hyper” before it, and you can instantly get the sense. He “over-shines.” It is a person who goes beyond the faith that he has professed because he tries to be more than what God directs. Like the one who is boastful, this person also has a serious “I” problem.
Paul then mentions “blasphemers.” They are those who reverse both spiritual and moral conditions of reality, and who then use slanderous evil-speaking.
The next are those who are “disobedient to parents.” The family is the nucleus of a well-running society. When the family structure breaks down, the society naturally breaks down as well. And so discipline within the family must be maintained. So great is the necessity for this, that God, when speaking out the law to Israel, included this –
“If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have chastened him, will not heed them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city, to the gate of his city. And they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall put away the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear.” Deuteronomy 21:18-21
Likewise, in Exodus 21:17, the Lord noted that anyone “who curses his father or his mother” shall be put to death. Unfortunately, modern society has completely reversed the roles and television shows commonly portray children who are insolent to their parents and who tell the parents what to do rather than the other way around. This can only lead to chaos within a society because God’s order of what is right has been rejected.
After this are the “unthankful.” Here Paul uses a word found only here and in Luke 6:35. It is a word which signifies “experiencing grace,” but it begins with a negative prefix. In other words, “not experiencing grace.” When one doesn’t understand God’s grace (unmerited favor), they will naturally be ungraceful, and unthankful.
The last in this verse is “unholy.” This is a word used only by Paul, and only in 1 & 2 Timothy. It describes someone who ignores their duty to God, disregarding it as unnecessary to their life. They will profane the name of the Lord without compunction, and simply give up right living for a life of sin and wickedness. Such degenerates are coupled with the “profane.” The profane speak of sacred things in a lewd manner. Their actions may carry the same intent. Great examples of this type of person can be found all over the film and music industries.
Life application: Paul’s list is just getting started, but you can see that it describes people at all times and in all places. When such as these creep into the church, surely perilous times will come. We always need to be on the lookout for people like this and to ensure they are not allowed to come in and destroy the fellowship. Further, we need to remember what Christ saved us from, and not allow ourselves to fall back into such sins as well.
Heavenly Father, we are warned in Your word to watch out for those who walk contrary to You, and who have no heart for the work You accomplished in our salvation. But we surely must also remember that our salvation means that we once walked contrary to You. Help us to not fall back into our sins of the past, but to conduct our lives in holiness, and in a manner which honors you. Amen.