By Tope Banso
THESE ARE PERILOUS TIMES
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come” (2 Timothy 3:1 New King James Version).
The phrase, perilous times, means terrible times, difficult times, grievous times or times of many troubles. I don’t think anyone would doubt that the times we are now are difficult for people. Nations are facing many challenging troubles. One does not need any political or economic analyst to understand that. And there are indications that things will get worse.
The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, his son in the ministry, and indeed all Christians, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come” (2 Timothy 3:1 New King James Version). This message is for you, too. Paul said there would be perilous times in the last days. These are the last days. So perilous times are already here.
In the New Testament, the phrase, last days, is used five times in the New King James Version of the Bible (Acts 2:17; 2 Timothy 3:1; Hebrews 1:2; James 5:3; 2 Peter 3:3).
The last days began on the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came upon the believers. And this will continue until the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Many events will take place in-between. As said by Paul, perilous times shall come; and, indeed they’ve come.
What are the features of the last days that Paul spoke about? Why will there be perilous times? “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 its power. And from such people turn away!” (2 Timothy 3:2-5 New King James Version).
We are in the last days and evil is getting worse and some weird behaviours are being exhibited by people, even among those who claim to be Christians. Do you manifest any of the features of the last days?
The first thing Paul said is that men will be lovers of themselves. This refers to selfish love. In other words, they’ll love only themselves and not bother about any other person. Lack of love for others is responsible for many of the ills in the church and the society today. Are you guilty of this?
Next, that scripture says people will be lovers of money. In fact, the New Living Translation puts together the first and second things this way: For people will love only themselves and their money. Do you love only yourself and your money? The Twentieth Century New Testament says men will be mercenary. In other words, they’ll be motivated only by a desire for money. Money is the only thing that matters to many people. They can do anything for money, even if it is sinful or illegal. Does that describe you?
Many people do terrible things because of the love of money, including murder, kidnapping, stealing and armed robbery, making life difficult for others. 1 Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (New King James Version).
You may not be guilty of the love of money, but what about other things that Paul talked about? Are you boastful, proud, blasphemous, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving and slanderous? Are you without self-control, brutal, a despiser of good, a traitor, headstrong, haughty and a lover of pleasure rather than a lover of God?
Do you have a form of godliness but deny its power? That is, do you act religious but reject the power that could make you godly? Paul warned Timothy to turn away from people behaving in the ways he listed. Don’t have anything to do with them also. But be sure you’re not such a person, and if you are, repent today.
Earlier, Paul, using a similar phrase, latter times, in 1 Timothy 4:1-3, dealt with another set of behavior that will be prevalent in the latter times. He said, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth” (New King James Version). Beware of false teachers! Don’t patronize or support them and don’t be a false teacher.
We are already in the latter times spoken of, and all the things mentioned, which are contrary to the Scripture, are happening already. A true Christian must avoid them. Similarly, Jude 18 recalled the words of the apostles of Jesus Christ that there would be mockers or scoffers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. The mockers are those who laugh about God. There are many of them around. Don’t be a mocker and don’t let mockers discourage you.
These are perilous times. Romans 1:28 says even as sinful people did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting. Verses 29-32 give a long list of their evil behaviours, which, unfortunately, are a common sight today.
These are perilous times, indeed difficult times to serve the LORD. Things could get worse, but be faithful to the end.
If you’re not born again, repent of your sins today and accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. Whoever comes to Him, He will by no means cast out.
PRAYER POINT: Holy Spirit, help me in these perilous times to lead a life worthy of my calling as a child of God.
This is wisdom for living, and it’s worth sharing. Please share.
(For over 250 in-depth and insightful messages by T.O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
▪ Banso heads Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria
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