Paul wrote a warning message to Timothy (2 Tim 3:1-5). It’s clear that the apostle intended to describe a horrible society that had turned away from God. He warned of a future when people would make life perilous for the followers of God. Paul didn’t warn Timothy here of religious persecution or violence. The danger that Paul warned of was people. People who would have frightening qualities that are in direct opposition to how Christians should be. Here is how Paul described them.
What they love:
They love themselves. They love money. They love pleasure. They don’t love God.
How they present themselves:
They are proud. They brag. They are full of themselves. They are arrogant. They disobey parents. They despise what is good. They blaspheme. They live without self-control, doing what is unholy.
How they relate to others:
They are unthankful. They are unloving. They are unforgiving. They slander and act violently. They are traitors rather than loyal.
Now honestly, when you read those qualities, don’t they sound exactly like what we see on the news every day? Paul’s words could be documented among us so clearly it sounds like he ripped his list from the headlines of the world we live in.
Paul was not saying any single person would exhibit all of these traits but that all of these traits would be observable in people. Then Paul added one more trait. They would even have the appearance of being religious. They would be claiming to be from God but denying God’s power to change them.
I think about celebrities I have seen over the years. Some dressed in shockingly immodest clothing or involved in wicked behaviors but with prominent gold crosses hanging around their necks.
Paul’s warning to Timothy (and us!) was simple; “from such people turn away.”
- Tim Orbison