2 Timothy 3:1-9 – The Last Days

This Tuesday we will be discussing 2 Timothy 3. This chapter (Paul didn’t write in chapters and verses) opens with a description of the godlessness of the last days (vv1-9). As you read through these verses, see how Paul describes the people during this time. The common characteristic of each of these adjectives is that each arises from a disordered love. Jesus gives us the twofold commandment to love God and to love our neighbor. Matt. 22:34-40. The people Paul describes have a disordered or bent love that rises not to God nor out to others, but is focused inwardly towards the self or for acquiring things to satisfy the self. It is this disordered love that gives us the Seven Deadly Sins and the Works of the Flesh (Gal 5:19-21). In his commentary on these verses, St. John Chrysostom (349-407) provides a wonderful description beginning with Cain on how these disordered loves are all related to one another and ultimately to a hatred of neighbor and God. If you have time this weekend, I commit Chrysostom’s short discussion to you.

The great danger in these verses is that we want to assign who or which group within our present society fits these characteristics. As the Methodist Adam Clarke (1760-1832) remarks in his commentary, “the description in this and the following verses the Papists apply to the Protestants; the Protestants in their turn apply it to the Papists; (Johann) Schoettgen to the Jews; and others to heretics in general.” When I read these verses, certain people quickly come to my mind. However, it is always easier to see the disordered love in others than in ourselves. Therefore, when you read through these verses, see how these verses describe you. In what respect are you a lover of yourself with a corrupt mind and a counterfeit faith? How do you oppose God in the same way that Pharoah’s magicians opposed Moses (Ex. 7:10-12)? And upon what basis could someone else assign you to be a part of the godlessness of the last days? These verses should compel us to only speak of such people in the first person singular.

Dinner is at 6. The menu is seafood pasta salad. Discussion about 6:45. Hope to see you here and please bring a friend.

Our Christian faith forbids us from spying on the sins of others and demands that we’re strict and merciless judges when it comes to our own misdeeds. Patients in the hospital are concerned with their own condition and have neither the time nor the inclination to check up on others or to mock their afflictions.

St. Nikolai Velimirović (1881-1956)

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