‘Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.’ — 2 Timothy 3:5
2 Timothy 3 opens with an insidious list of characteristics of the last days (v.2-4). The term ‘last days’ refers to the period between Christ’s first coming and second coming.
At first blush, this list seems unrelated to Timothy and to those of us who are Christians. But then Paul says those with these characteristics will have ‘a form of godliness’. Like the magicians of Egypt, they are religious leaders who are actually ‘reprobate concering the the truth’ and fools (v.7-9).
Following this detailed list, Paul challenges Timothy to continue in the example that he set and in the teaching of Scripture. If Timothy does, he will be able to have everything he needs to persevere in the face of spiritual opposition.
The fact that the wicked men of 1 Tim 3:1-4 are also described as religious should be a warning to those of us who are spiritual leaders. Hopefully, we are true believers, but we also must be on guard against the temptation to become like the world around us.
Let us meditate on not being the following: lovers of our 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, or lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.
May God help us to not be influenced by these things that will characterise so many in the last days. May we carefully follow godly examples and the clear teaching of God’s Word.