“You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!” 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NLT)
Whenever Scripture provides a list of sins or bad behaviors, do you ever check to see if the one you have always struggled with is on it? And, if so, how is it ranked in terms of how much God hates it? That’s not exactly Paul’s purpose in showing Timothy the kinds of behavior and attitudes that he would face in ministering the Gospel in the days ahead. No, it was basically an encouragement to not let anything surprise him in his encounters with people and to what degree sin would control their lives.
The most insidious and most damaging of the behaviors is found in verse five. It almost seems as if it doesn’t fit in with the rest of the list, but we know that Satan has no problem with people embracing a “faith” that devoid of the true power of the One in whom it is placed. The danger of this behavior is found in that it need not be premeditated nor malicious.
Churches that rarely witness the power of God through conversions, baptisms or life transformation can become so complacent that the Gospel they preach may, over time, begin to reflect their lack of anticipation of God’s presence and cause their attendees to trust less and less in God’s power to do the miraculous.
The same Jesus who raised the dead is the same Jesus that restores families and sets addicts free today. To present Jesus Christ in any way less than the transforming, miracle-working God that He is is to deny His power and potentially settle for less than the abundant life He promised.