Hi everyone, have you noticed stories abounding in the news that make you question your morals? You start to wonder what’s right and wrong!
In the Apostle Paul’s final letter before being executed, he writes: “ in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God”.
Clearly Paul was inspired by God. If we pick out each of those phrases, we’ll see what an accurate prophecy it is of the world we live in!
Is there anyone on earth right now who wouldn’t see we’re in perilous times; times of great stress? Covid-19 has made everyone feel we’re in perilous times, but of course that’s just one of many problems. We can add to that many more general horrific problems such as pollution, terrorism, racism, inequality, corruption, violence, abuse etc.! Our times are perilous, people are frightened to let their children out of their homes, no street is safe!
Why is this the case? Well, it’s interesting to note that most translations start the next sentence with ‘For’. In other words, the explanation as to why we live in such perilous times is about to come:
People will be loves of self - narcissism is considered a ‘modern epidemic’. In the past few decades we have witnessed a societal shift from a commitment to the collective to a focus on the individual or the self. Self-esteem has been put forward as the key to success in life. Educators and parents started telling their children how special and unique they are to make them feel more confident. Parents tried to confer self-esteem upon their children, rather than letting them achieve it through hard work. Internet addiction, and in particular addiction to social media has been strongly linked to narcissistic behaviour and low self-esteem.
People will be covetous (love money) – society is based around the love of money: everywhere we look we’re bombarded with advertisements for the next product: food, clothing, cars, houses, gardens, sport, holidays, technology. We are all conned into believing that we need the next thing. Furthermore, a huge amount of crime in our societies is driven by the love of money.
People will be boasters - what’s social media for? Do people use it to put up the bad in their lives? No, it’s used to paint a picture of how wonderful we are! Author Jesse Rice in his book The Church of Facebook, writes: “Instead of building true friendships, we're obsessed with endless personal promotion [boasting], investing hours on end building our profile, pursuing the optimal order of words in our next message, choosing the pictures in which we look our best.”
People will be blasphemous (abusive of God) - more than ever people have no problem with insulting God. Humanism is considered to be the fastest growing religion. Forget God and trust in Man is the philosophy of our time.
People will be disobedient to parents – it’s so true! I’m a teacher, we have police come to the school to give talks to pupils and adults. The police say that society’s biggest problem is the lack of authority. Having taken God out of the way as an authority alongside people pushing agendas on rights, society hasn’t got any stability. No one can say anymore what is right and wrong. Once you’ve been convinced that we’re all just the result of an explosion when chemistry, by fluke, became biology, why would a younger, more improved, (according to evolutionists) set of chemicals – i.e. youth, listen to an older set of chemicals – i.e. adults? They wouldn’t! In fact, on that basis, the improved model should be telling the older model what to do! No wonder parents are struggling. Society’s beliefs have taken authority away!
The Apostle Paul continues to list the problems of the last days – if you take the time to look at them, you’ll very easily see it’s a summary of the society we live in. We are in the last days!
What’s the solution?
Well, in encouraging Timothy (the recipient of the original letter), he encourages us all to turn to the Bible, “the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:15-17)
Can you see the contrast with the world we live in during the last days? If we’ll step away from the topsy-turvy, ever changing, morality of society and rather put our faith in God’s word, then suddenly we have something we can base our lives on: a rock!
We can now be reproved, corrected and instructed in right ways. For example, because we believe in the authority of God, and we believe we’re created in his image, He says respect parents – so we should! Or, He says marriage should be between a man and a woman as it was at the beginning (Genesis 2), therefore we don’t decide to go along with men marrying men and women marrying women. Or, the fact his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, said, “any who will follow him should deny themselves”, helps us to realise this life isn’t about ME – I’ll actually be happier and far more content if I put God first. “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6).
This has been John Owen with you for this week’s Bible in the News. Return next week for more pointers of the Bible in the News.