The Definition of Evil – 2 Timothy 3:13-15

 

Summary:

The mass shootings we’ve been seeing are evil, but the evil that will wax worse (v.13) in the last days (3:1) is the kind associated with “seducers” (v.15). Religious seducers who have a form of godliness (v.5) and seduce people spiritually by creeping into their houses by means of Christian radio, TV, the internet, etc. (v.6). That means our last days will be different than Israel’s last days, when God’s opponents won’t creep into your house to seduce your spiritual life, they’ll bash your door in take your physical life (Mt.24:9).

The reason Paul says seducers will wax “worse” in the last days is because that’s what Satan’s been doing during this entire dispensation, seducing people (II Cor.11:13-15). I Peter 5:8 is what he’ll be doing in the Tribulation, not today. Today Satan is an angel of light, and his ministers are ministers of righteousness. There’s nothing deceptive about a roaring lion!

Paul says in the last days religious charlatans will be “deceiving, and being deceived” (3:13). In time past God said both were His (Job 12:16) because if a prophet was deceived God deceived him (Ezek. 14:9). He did this to make sin worse so He could punish them (14:9,10). Their sin was the “pollution” (14:11) of idols (cf. Ezek. 20:31,39; 23:30) so God judged them by letting them be carried captive to Babylon, a land of idols, so they’d get sick of idols.

But here we have a dispensational difference. God is not deceiving religious leaders so He can judge us. He corrects our sin with grace, not judgment (Titus 2:11,12). He doesn’t judge us for our sin, He reminds us that He judged Christ for our sins. If that doesn’t constrain you to live for the Lord nothing will (II Cor. 5:14,15).

This is why when Paul goes on to tell Timothy what to do when evil men and seducers get worse, he doesn’t tell him to deceive people with error! He tells him to “continue” in the things he learned from Paul (II Tim. 3:14). That’s the cure for the seductions of religious hucksters, as Timothy had been “assured” (v.14).

But how had Timothy been assured of the things he learned from Paul? God assured people of things in different ways. When they killed the Lord, they perhaps thought He could never judge them as He said He would (John 5:22). But God “assured” them He’d judge them by raising Him from the dead (Acts 17:30,31).

How would that assure Timothy that Paul’s message was true? Well, Paul preached salvation through Christ, and just like a dead judge can’t judge men, a dead Savior can’t save them! When Paul preached a risen Savior, that proved his message was true.

Paul’s manner of life assured the Thessalonians his message was true (I Thes. 1:5) when he didn’t quit in the face of adversity (I Th. 2:1,2), didn’t deceive or flatter men as others did (2:3-5), didn’t seek their money as others (2:6) and didn’t bully them as others (2:7,8). His personal testimony also gave them this assurance (2:10), and that’s an assurance you can give others that Paul’s message was true as well! All these things assured Timothy as well, plus how he saw the grace Paul preached working in his life.

But Timothy needed more than Paul’s message to combat religious seducers. Paul reminds him that he also knew the Old Testament as well (3:15). When he says the OT made him wise to salvation, that sounds like he was saved by reading the OT before he met Paul, but Paul was his father (I Tim. 1:2) not just his teacher (cf. I Cor. 4:15).

When Paul said the Old Testament Scriptures “are able to make the wise unto salvation,” he was referring to a salvation that they could still make Timothy “wise” to (Ps. 19:7).In context, he was talking about being saved from religious seduction. We need a whole Bible to resist that!

This salvation comes “through faith which is in Christ” (3:15). Not faith in Christ, not our faith in Him. Faith which is in Christ, His faithfulness (cf. Rom. 3:3). Deceivers will always say you have to be faithful to God to stay saved. The thing that will save you from that is remembering Christ is faithful to you!

Being Right vs. The Truth

“I don’t want to be right. I want the truth!” That’s what a brother in Christ told me on the phone one day here at Berean Bible Society. I thought it was a tremendous statement. It showed the godly mindset of the person on the other end of the line.

So many have their focus on being right — that is, winning arguments and debates — and are inflexible when it comes to the possibility of being wrong. Many stubbornly dig in their heels and just want to feel that they are right, even when there is Scripture against what they believe. The truth is what is most important.

In 2 Corinthians 13:8 we read, “For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.” The truth never changes. There is always the possibility that our fallible opinion of what we think is right is not the truth. Our focus needs to be on whether what we believe is the truth of the Word of God. We must conform our thinking to God’s Word and have a humble, teachable heart that is willing to change if we are shown truth on a subject or passage on which we might be wrong. We must always have the spirit of a Berean and search the Scriptures to see if what we hear and what we believe are, in fact, the truth.

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.


Two Minutes with the Bible lets you start your day with short but powerful Bible study articles from the Berean Bible Society. Sign up now to receive Two Minutes With the Bible every day in your email inbox. We will never share your personal information and you can unsubscribe at any time.

The Man Upstairs?

In his song entitled “Unanswered Prayers,” country singer Garth Brooks refers to God as “the Man upstairs.” Similar phrases referring to Almighty God include: the Big Man, my Co-pilot, my Homeboy, my Golf-buddy, or simply JC. The user may not intend it this way, but such references are highly disrespectful, and reveal a lack of understanding about who and what our Great High God really is.

When the Apostle John encountered the Lord Jesus Christ, who was instructing him to write what would be revealed to him, he said, “I fell at his feet as dead” (Rev. 1:17). Notice there was nothing casual in John’s response. Why? When the Lord Jesus Christ spoke, it was with “a great voice, as of a trumpet” (vs. 10). “His eyes were as a flame of fire” (vs. 14), and “His countenance was as the sun” (vs. 16).

This brief picture, and the reaction of a mere man in the presence of God, is consistent with the rest of Scripture. Isaiah says he saw “the Lord…high and lifted up” with dynamic angelic hosts attending Him crying, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts” (Isa. 6:1-3). Isaiah’s response was not casual or irreverent. He said, “Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips” (vs. 5).

People of old had a far greater reverence for the Lord. King David described his great God by saying, “The Lord reigneth, He is clothed with majesty; the Lord is clothed with strength…Thy throne is established of old: Thou art from everlasting” (Psa. 93:1-2). He continued, “God sitteth upon the throne of His holiness” as He reigns over all men (Psalm 47:8). He’s not just a co-pilot or a buddy. Balak declared, “God is not a man, that He should lie” (Num. 23:19).

The Lord tells us this is because, “…My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways…For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8-9). In the context of all this information, the Lord Jesus said of the Father, “Hallowed [meaning holy or sacred] be Thy name” (Matt. 6:9).

It would be appropriate to lovingly share articles such as this with lost souls who lack understanding of God’s holiness and magnificence. More importantly, in humility, we believers need always to show great reverence to the Lord and to His name.

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.


Two Minutes with the Bible lets you start your day with short but powerful Bible study articles from the Berean Bible Society. Sign up now to receive Two Minutes With the Bible every day in your email inbox. We will never share your personal information and you can unsubscribe at any time.

I’ll Sleep by My Goats

Missionary Ben Anderson, International Director at Things to Come Mission, taught a class and shared at chapel time while I was a student at Berean Bible Institute. At the end of his chapel time, he shared a story from a recent trip to Indonesia. He told of a certain village where there was a church-planting effort under way, in spite of the fact that the village was almost entirely Muslim. One of the Indonesians, a recent convert, spoke with Ben and the president of the Grace Bible Churches in Indonesia.

The man was poor, and without shoes, estranged from family having trusted Christ, and he told Ben, “I want you to have my house for the church.” They at first resisted and said, “But that’s your house, where will you live?” The man said “I have a small goat pasture, I’ll sleep by my goats.” They asked him, “But why would you do this? Why would you give up your home?” The man replied, “Because Jesus died for me.”

“And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour” (Eph. 5:2).

No sacrifice is too great to make for Christ who gave Himself for us. The Church is taught by God to “walk in love.” God wants us to be devoted to pursue His selfless love in each step we take in life.

We are to “walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us.” Christ’s love is about sacrifice. In His love, Christ willingly allowed Himself to be hit in the face over and over, to have His back ripped raw in His scourging, to have a crown of thorns forced down on His head, to be spit upon, mocked, and to be struck across the head with a large stick. In His love, Christ was crucified for us, having nails driven through His hands and feet. In His love, Christ faced the wrath of God against our sins as our Substitute. He sacrificially took the punishment we deserved and paid sin’s penalty for us so that we might be saved from our sins and live eternally with Him.

Christ gave everything in His love for us. As that love touches our hearts, we too should give ourselves and be willing to give anything and everything for Him. To love as Christ loved us means to be willing to make sacrifices for Him. We should, like this Indonesian brother, be willing to give Him even our house and “sleep by the goats” if necessary, because He died for us.

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.


Two Minutes with the Bible lets you start your day with short but powerful Bible study articles from the Berean Bible Society. Sign up now to receive Two Minutes With the Bible every day in your email inbox. We will never share your personal information and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Do I Need To Know the Time and Date?

“I don’t know the exact time and date I was saved. I’ve been told that I should know this if I’m truly saved. Is this true?”

Knowing your spiritual birthday is not required at all. Whether you know in your heart that you’ve placed your faith in the gospel of grace that Christ died for your sins personally, was buried, and rose again is what is required for your salvation (Eph. 2:8,9; 1 Cor. 15:3,4).

In my own life, I have no clue as to the exact time and date that I was saved. I grew up in a home where the gospel was constantly before me. In my father’s pulpit ministry, his hell-fire sermons scared me to death. I can vividly remember praying in the pew, telling the Lord that I believe. I did this many times. Eventually I stopped, because I knew I was right with the Lord and saved from my sins.

The idea that you have to know an exact time you were saved doesn’t come from the Bible. It comes from man. Our confidence for our salvation shouldn’t be in a date anyway. Our confidence is in Christ, His Cross, and the Word of God. “The Lord knoweth them that are His” (2 Tim. 2:19), and if you’ve placed your faith in Christ that He died for you and rose again, you are His. Praise the Lord!

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.


Two Minutes with the Bible lets you start your day with short but powerful Bible study articles from the Berean Bible Society. Sign up now to receive Two Minutes With the Bible every day in your email inbox. We will never share your personal information and you can unsubscribe at any time.

How Does Faith Establish the Law?

“Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”

In this passage, salvation by “faith” is being contrasted to salvation by “works” (Rom. 3:27), the works or “deeds” of the law (v. 28). The law demands 100% righteousness to be saved (Gal. 3:10; James 2:10,11). That means to be saved by the deeds of the law, you would have to bend the law to say that God will accept people who are only 75% righteous, or 88% righteous, or even 99% righteous.

But faith in the sacrifice of Christ for our sins doesn’t have to bend the law, it establishes the law. Faith acknowledges that “the law is holy, and…just, and good” (Rom 7:12), but that we are “carnal, sold under sin” (v. 14). That is, faith establishes that there is nothing wrong with the law, there is something wrong with us. We can’t keep the law perfectly, so we must place our faith in the Christ who kept it perfectly for us, and then died a sacrificial death on our behalf.

It was because the righteousness of the law couldn’t be fulfilled by us that Christ “gave Himself for us” (Titus 2:14), that “the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us” by Him (Rom. 8:4).

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.


Two Minutes with the Bible lets you start your day with short but powerful Bible study articles from the Berean Bible Society. Sign up now to receive Two Minutes With the Bible every day in your email inbox. We will never share your personal information and you can unsubscribe at any time.