Read 2 Timothy 3:1-9.
When Paul wrote 2 Timothy, he prophesied about the end times. This letter is likely the last that Paul wrote, so one of his last acts on this earth was to leave us a description of those who will trouble the church at the end. He said these people would be marked by three things: immoral conduct, religious zeal, and militant fanaticism.
Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can change our culture.
As to their immorality, they will be lovers of themselves and not lovers of God (see 2 Timothy 3:2, 4). Everything they do will be motivated by love of self. The backbiting, the scandal, and the brutality we see in our society today all flow from this selfishness. No amount of legislation, no amount of knowledge, no amount of education, no amount of indignation is going to cure this. Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can change our culture.
Those who trouble the church in the last days will have "a form of godliness but [will deny] its power" (v. 5). In other words, they will put on an outward show of religion but will have no internal transformation—they will yet have self-centered hearts of stone. True faith, however, combines form and power. It combines spiritual worship and godly living. True faith talks the talk and walks the walk. Faithful believers show suffering sinners where to go to find forgiveness, healing, and hope and inspire those sinners to receive God's grace by the evident fruit of the Spirit in their lives. But religion without moral conduct is a dead religion—it cannot testify to the power and love of God.
False teachers in these end times seek to empty the church of the Truth, coupling immorality with religious fervor. Their mission is to remove the offense of the cross and to make every church conform to their worldly way of thinking. They are hostile toward Biblical morality and will attack anyone who disagrees with them. They preach tolerance but display intolerance for the Word of God. They want to destroy Biblical faith as we know it.
When we look carefully at Paul's words, it's hard to deny that his prophecy rings true in our day. But we have nothing to fear. Soon and very soon, Jesus will appear. He will wipe away all of our tears and in righteousness judge those who have made a mockery of His Word. And then, we will be with Him forever.
Prayer: Father, give me faith to stand firm on Your Word in the face of false teaching. Thank You that Christ will come again soon and bring to completion Your work of redemption and renewal. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days" (2 Timothy 3:1).