When the Bible predicts the coming of “perilous times” (II Tim. 3), it is very clear that it is a warning about the spiritual environment of “the last days” (vs. 1). “Having a form of godliness, but” (vs. 5) lets us know that there will be much pretense and hypocrisy among the professing religious crowd.
Some will be morally unfit (vs. 6). They will corrupt themselves with the sins of the flesh.
Others will be academic idolaters (vs. 7). They will be constantly pursuing knowledge but never willing to admit the truth and surrender to it.
Some others will resist leadership and defy authority. They will not follow those who follow the Lord (vs. 8a). This is a huge battle in the twenty-first century.
Some will be “men of corrupt minds” (vs. 8b). They will have drunk the Kool-Aid of humanism, hedonism, liberalism, etc., until they can no longer think reasonably, sensibly or correctly.
Some will be totally “reprobate concerning the faith” (vs. 8c). They are heretics. They are the godless pretending to be godly. They redefine terms and reinvent the Christian faith to suit themselves.
But let’s not forget they are engaged in “folly” (vs. 9) and their end is coming. They are not right and they are not invincible.
Furthermore, Christians who are true to the Lord need to understand that they will be the target of criticism, opposition and persecution. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (vs. 12). Even the great apostle Paul felt the heat of this nonsense.
“Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me” (vs. 11).
And the world is not getting better. It is winding downward, not upward. Trouble, turmoil, trials and tribulations are the norm (vs. 13) “in the last days” (vs. 1).
Nonetheless, you and I must:
1. Continue (vs. 14)
2. Know that we are on the right track (vs. 14b)
3. Take instruction and comfort from “the holy scriptures” (vs. 15)
4. Remember that salvation is through faith in Christ (vs. 15)
5. Remember the Scripture is God’s Word (vs. 16a)
6. Know the Scripture is “profitable” to guide us, teach us, correct us and counsel us (vs. 16b).
7. Acknowledge that we can, even “in the last days,” be mature and fully equipped to do the Lord’s bidding without compromise and without fail (vs. 17).
So, yes, Christians are imperiled in the perilous times; but we must look up, watch out, dig in and press on. Amen!