From such people turn away

Published 8:33 pm Monday, September 4, 2023

“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 the power. And from such people turn away!” — 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NKJV)

As the Great Apostle writes his second letter to young Timothy, he does so in hope of preparing the young minister for all the situations which Paul has himself encountered. Not least of these are the “perilous times” of which Paul speaks so pointedly.

This warning was to prepare Timothy for the coming change in attitudes and actions of those who were currently among those who had received the Gospel Paul had preached. No such warning to Timothy was necessary concerning those outside the faith, these attitudes were already evident among non-believers.

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We see this warning being played out in churches across this land, by those who also “deny the power of God.” They are those who are content to live as they choose, without surrendering themselves to the on-going work of the Holy Spirit that continually changes us, they become those who declare “that’s just the way I am,” or “that was how I was raised.” The greater danger in associating with them is their desire (conscious or not) to pull us back into the same quagmire from which we struggled (maybe still struggle) to escape the prison of complacency that prevents us from wanting to be changed.

As Christians, we will be attacked from all quarters; those attacks that come from friends and family are particularly difficult to successfully contend with. I said particularly difficult because it is painful to resist their invitation to become once again the “Old Man,” whom we have put off. Paul was very adamant about how we deal with such subtleties, “From such people turn away!”

Our only hope to avoid the destructive effect of these “perilous” people, is to not be pulled into our old life style, to not go, or do, or say, those things that were so much a part of who we were. To remain strong in the faith, and to let the Power of God continue His work in us.

The Rev. Bobby Thornhill is a retired pastor.