But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV).
These are harsh words about how people will behave in the end days. They’re some of the worst qualities of mankind, and Paul prophesies that the end days will bring them out in full. Whether those end days are now or later, they will be marked by these kinds of behaviors.
These verses apply to Hollywood. They apply to Wall Street, corporate boardrooms, country club dealing, and the jet set. These verses could have been written about the American suburbs, or about the ghettos. They could have been written about people in our universities, in our workplaces, on the road and at the mall and, yes, they could have been written about people who sit every Sunday in a church pew. They’re HBO; they’re Facebook; they’re Las Vegas; they’re Mainstreet USA. They’re our living rooms. These verses could have been written about any of the 7.7 billion people breathing here on Planet Earth. Two thousand years after He left us, come quickly, Lord Jesus, and set things right again.
Especially if these are the last days. In fact, I hope they are. Heaven has much more to offer than our world, which is full of we who could be described by these ugly words. Those words are a mirror, held up for me and you (and a dog named Boo) to look into and see ourselves as we really are. Even the best of us is guilty of being like one or more of those words say we are.
Paul told Timothy to avoid people like those he described above. If Paul met me today, would he see a follower of Christ or a sinking work in progress who loves himself, money, pride and boasting more than Jesus? Who would Paul see in you? Even more, if Jesus does come back today, will He see us as we are, or will He see us through the lens of His love? You know the answer, and thank God Himself for it. We are guilty of being those awful things Paul mentions, and only a Savior who isn’t could set things right. Only He could save us. When He comes back, He’ll see His followers in His own mirror, and welcome us. Doesn’t it follow, then, that we should use our time today to kindly love on people who don’t know Jesus so that they’ll have the same eternity?
For further reading: 2 Timothy 3:6.
Lord Jesus, come quickly. These times are as You predicted, full of evil scoffers. Come and remake all things new.