The Bible warns of difficult (“perilous,” KJV) times to come:
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith” (2 Tim. 3:1-8, ESV).
Notice what people will love: self, money, and pleasure. Also take note of what they will not love: God and what is good. Pay attention to the common characteristics: proud, ungrateful, unholy, slanderous, without self-control, opposers of truth, etc. Furthermore, many will have the appearance of godliness—but will deny the genuine workings thereof. The admonition here is not to become suspicious, critical, or cynical of people—no! for God still desires for people to repent and not perish (see 2 Pet. 3:9). Rather, the admonition is for the person of God to remain steadfast in the sound doctrine of faith: “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed” (2 Tim. 3:12-14, emphasis added).
The challenge before the man or woman of God is to remain grounded in faith in Christ and to grow ever deeper roots in the teachings of the Scriptures. “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Tim. 4:3-4).
The person of God is to have their eyes fixed on Jesus, and their heart anchored in Him. One must continue walking the straight and narrow path, going neither to the left nor to the right (see Matt. 7:13-14; Jos. 1:7-8), regardless of what choices family, friends, and communities are making.
Again, this does not mean we are to become cynical of others; however, it does mean we are going to have to press in harder in the Lord. The temptations to give in to sin, to cast off convictions, and to conform to society’s ways instead of Christ’s are going to become more difficult.
I believe we have already entered these last days. Our world is quickly changing; people are becoming more calloused; and there is a growing malice against God and what is good. Many churches are abandoning sound doctrine, and finding teachers who will tickle their itching ears. I believe God can still bring revivals and great awakenings, but will the true people of God call out to Him—pleading to Him for such?
I realize teachings and warnings like this are not popular. One of the major reasons I wanted to start my own blog is because such teachings are neglected in so many pulpits, for fear of parishioners leaving. No, this is not an exaggeration. This might or might not be the generation Jesus returns, but how will the church be prepared if pastors neglect such passages? If all we hear is what we want to hear, how will we endure the trials and persecution to come? How can we travel to heaven if our hearts are clinging to the things and passions of this world?
The Bible explicitly warns us of perilous times, and describes some of the things to watch for. Granted, such attitudes and behaviors have existed since the Fall, but only in modern times have each of these become common place and accepted as the norm. To ignore the Bible’s warnings are foolish. To withhold the warnings is wicked. Although uncomfortable, the wise in heart will study the Scriptures and pray that they may persevere, through Christ, to the very end.