Difficult Times & the Degeneration of Men, Part II

An Exposition of 2 Timothy 3:1-5

by Thomas Coutouzis

 

 

     This is the part 2 of the our study on 2 Timothy 3:1-5. The first post looked at verses 1-2 and this post will focus on verses 3-5.


“…unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good,…” —2 Tim. 3:3

 

     The first word in verse 3 that Paul uses to show us the evil that will be going on as we approach the last days is “unloving“. Mankind will grow more and more unloving. The Greek word that Paul uses is ἄστοργος (astorgos). It combines “A” (alpha) which is a negative that means “without/not” and “storge” which is one of the four Greek words for love (eros, philos, and agape are the other three). “Storge” means “familial love” or “kindred love”. It is an affection that comes naturally, thus it relates to family/kindred. For any of you that have had children, or those of you that have had grandchildren, there is a natural love for the child the moment it is born. I will never forget sitting in the operating room with my wife Kathy as she was having a C-section. The doctor had removed our daughter from the womb and held her up over the covering for Kathy and I to see. Despite all the stress of the emergency C-section my wife’s first words were, “I love her!” That is the essence of “storge” love. It is a natural love for one’s kindred. Even though my wife and I just met this little one that God knit together in Kathy’s womb we had an immediate love for her. It was our disposition. The “a” used in front of “storge” renders it the opposite of “love of kindred/familial love”. Properly, ἄστοργος means, “Without natural affection/without kindred love”. What Paul means is that in the last days people will not have any love for their own family. There will be no more natural affection. Probably the greatest example of this is abortion. Any woman that has their child aborted is complicit in murder whether or not they were pressured or have a seared conscience. Any woman that has an abortion is ἄστοργος (devoid of kindred love).

     Let me give you another example: Black Lives Matter wants to destroy the nuclear family. The nuclear family is God’s design and He uses it to restrain evil, train up children, and teach them to respect authority. It also gives us a glimpse of the gospel as the husband represents Christ who will lay his life down for his bride just as Christ did the church. The family was so important that God has two of the 10 commandments (5 and 7) that address it. If you destroy the family then you destroy the cornerstone for society that keeps it from collapsing. Black Lives Matter desires for the community to raise the children, not the parents. The two examples I have given with Black Lives Matter and abortion have a common sin that is integral to destroying the family…sexual immorality. The women getting abortions want to have sex without consequences. Black Lives Matter is championed by Planned Parenthood which is the largest abortion provider in the United States. They are fervent supporters of homosexuality and transgenderism which oppose God’s design for the family. God designed marriage to be between a man and a woman, so when people venture outside of His boundaries for marriage (see: Genesis 2:21-25) it creates havoc on a society. Here is what I am positing: In the last days there will not be many that hold to God’s design for marriage and family because sexual immorality and sexual perversion will be so rampant. There will be no familial love because children will be born out of wedlock by parents who just wanted to have the benefits of marriage without the commitment. The parents will have little to nothing to do with their children which will foster hatred between parent and child. Sexual immorality of every kind will be rampant so as to nullify God’s design for marriage and abortions will be rampant. The reason why there will not be any familial love in the last days is because sexual immorality of every type will be out of control. Marriage will have effectively been abandoned by the unbeliever.

 

     The next sin that Paul points out that will manifest in great measure in the last days is “irreconcilable“. The Greek word Paul uses is ἄσπονδος (aspondos). The “a” is a prefix known as “alpha” which means “without/not”. The word σπένδω (spendo) simply means “to pour libation”. It can be rendered “without pouring libation”, but there is a much deeper meaning behind simply not pouring a drink. Paul is using this term as a figure of speech, not literally. “Spendo” was an act where two warring factions or nations came together to make an armistice. “Spendo” was for making a truce. The pouring of the libation between these to factions symbolized the ending of their conflict. By adding the negative (alpha) to “spendo” the meaning of the word changes to “to not pour a drink “. This would mean that one or both of the factions will continue hostilities towards each other. There will be no peace treaty. Applying this to the last days reveals that as we near the tribulation people will tolerate each other less and less. It will manifest in two ways. There will be people that disagree with your position on something and hate you. This is becoming more prevalent today with the political divide in our nation. I am finding today that if you disagree with a person about homosexuality or transgenderism that you will be hated and called a “hater”. True Christians do not hate anyone. In fact, we can disagree with people whose views oppose ours and not hate them, nor do anything that would harm them. Telling them God’s truth or sharing the gospel is not harming them. We are commanded to love our enemies. The problem that I am seeing escalate more and more is that we are living in a world that wants Christians to assimilate to it, but more than that in the context, we are living in a world that refuses to disagree amicably and will repay evil for evil or perceived evil.

     My second point will be the most prominent of sins as we approach the last days. Revenge will be celebrated. Many TV shows or movies that comes out have a protagonist that is seeking revenge for some evil that was done to them. The TV Show “Revenge” that came out years ago embodied seeking one’s own revenge. These shows in fact celebrate hostility towards your enemy, not making peace or forgiving them. We live in a day where no one can tolerate any wrong done to them even when you apologize to them. They are unwilling to “pour out a drink” and make a treaty to cease hostilities. They have a spirit that is easily enraged. Unforgiveness is a lust for revenge. The unforgiving person fantasizes about the destruction of their opponent and seeks to do anything in their power to hurt the person that hurt them, or hurt the person they disagree with. These people refuse to be reconciled. I have personally had a falling out with one of my brothers where he got involved in an argument between my wife and I when we were on the phone fighting early in our marriage when she was pregnant. Without getting into the details I should have gone home to be with with my wife because she was my priority and we needed to work through this sin that had arisen in both of us together. We both said some horrible things to each other while on the phone. I made the wrong decision of staying behind to confront another brother who was in sin. I was in no spiritual state to confront another brother in sin when I had just said some horrible things to my wife and had not even repented. My heart was in the wrong place. Regardless, this brother confessed his sin within minutes. I didn’t need to be there. As you can imagine, things escalated after that night. A rift grew between my brother and I because we repaid evil with evil and we both refused to show each other any grace or mercy. He blamed my wife for this falling out. We had deeply different theological beliefs regarding marriage, forgiveness, reconciliation, and soteriology as he had many unorthodox beliefs not supported in Scripture. This contributed to the inability to reconcile. We tried Biblical counseling, but that lasted maybe two sessions before my brother canceled them without my consent. I was challenged by the Biblical counselor to show my brother grace and to not hold any of his transgressions against Kathy and I against him anymore. Kathy and I forgave him unconditionally. I even apologized for all the sin I was convicted by the Holy Spirit of committing as did my wife. Over the years I apologized for the same sins to my brother over and over again until I finally just stopped because I had already confessed and apologized numerous times. This brother would never let it go. He ostracized us, so this has gone on for 11 years unresolved. After 10 years he did apologize for one way that he had hurt my wife, but would not apologize to us for any of the other ways he hurt us. My wife and I were okay with that. My wife and I said that he didn’t need to apologize for the other ways he hurt us. That we should just all show each other grace and move past this and be family. He called it cheap grace (forgiving someone’s sin and not holding it against them any longer). My brother refused to “pour a libation”. He was irreconcilable. He wanted war until he got everything he wanted. We told him the ways he hurt us and he accused us of lying and told us to repent. He didn’t want peace. He wanted submission to his will. When my nephew Zion died he continued his pursuit of wanting a court case where a mediator would hear all the arguments and assign guilt. I told him, no, because his way wasn’t Biblical. He rehashed the entire past as he yelled at me and misquoted Scripture in front of my grieving brother and sister in law. I lost my temper and yelled back at him. I could not believe that of all the times and places to do this he chose to do it hours after my nephew Zion was buried. I told him we could drop everything right here (pour out a drink offering) and be at peace by showing one another grace and moving on. He refused to do it. We have since cut off relations with him. Beloved, there are some people that you can’t be at peace with, and when you discover that, it is time to cut off relations so that their bitterness doesn’t pollute your soul. We are willing to be family with them again if they are willing to stop seeking revenge, but they are unwilling.

     In the last days, people will not want to be at peace with each other. They will seek vengeance with every fiber of their being. Their lust for vengeance will not be satisfied even if they get everything they want. They will hold the sword over your head for the rest of your life even if you apologize or try to make peace. Beloved, forgive unconditionally and leave the vengeance to God (see: Romans 12:17-21). I am reminded of Brandt Jean who forgave the police officer who shot his brother Botham Jean. That was Christ’s power on full display right there and it blew the world away. As the days get darker the light of Christ will shine all the brighter for man to see. They will be speechless when they see such miraculous acts. May we be more like Brandt Jean and forgive our offenders without condition. May we be quick to pour a drink offering and make a treaty with those who wound us in the church to show the world an example of the power of forgiveness that is in Christ. May we pour a drink offering with our enemies who seek to wound us in hopes that Christ may bring them to salvation.

 

     The next sin Paul points out that will abound in the last days is “malicious gossips“. The Greek root word Paul uses is διάβολος (diabolos) which means “to accuse falsely/to slander”. It denotes falsely accusing someone with the intent to cause harm. These people are prone to slander because it is their natural disposition. What is interesting is that the Hebrew word שָׂטָן(Satan) that is used in the Old Testament is translated in the LXX (the Septuagint, the Greek Old Testament) as διάβολος (diabolos). This is the term we use to identify Satan as the “accuser” of the brethren. This is where the English word “devil” is derived. “Dia” means “across” and “ballein” means “to throw”. Properly “diabolos” means, “to throw across”. It denotes the “hurling” or “throwing across” of accusations at another person. Does it surprise you that the children of Satan (unbelievers) will be hurling accusations and insults? This would mean that in the last days man will have no ability to bridle their tongues. It would reflect what Jesus said as he rebuked the Pharisees in Matthew 12:34b, “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.” Man will be so corrupt that injurious speech will be the most recognized speech on the planet. People will only want to use their words to slander others. Can you imagine what accusations will be made of the church in the last days before Christ’s return? Can you imagine being out with your children at a public place and someone (an unbeliever) knows that you are a Christian and they say, “You homophobic piece of trash! You make me sick!” as they proceed to curse you and your family out. How about at work where the unbelievers around you make false accusations to your boss in attempts to have you fired because they hate that you serve the Lord Jesus Christ. These realities are becoming more real today with the ‘Cancel Culture’. People cannot disagree amicably anymore so they seek to destroy your life so that you never work again by labeling you as evil and using their influence to ruin your life. The Cancel Culture today that has birthed will continue to get exponentially worse the closer we get to the last days. Cancel Culture is the epitome of “malicious gossips“.

 

     The next sin that Paul points to in the last days is “without self-control“. The Greek root that Paul uses is ἀκρατής (akrates). It combines “a” (alpha) which makes a word a negative and means (without/not) and “kratos” which means “strength”. Properly, “without self-control”. It denotes incontinence, meaning that they will lack the ability to control themselves. They will not be able to restrain themselves from evil. This goes with my first article highlighting that God is removing His restraining grace from this world so people will do even more vile things than before. Our world will mimic the Antediluvians before the flood came and wiped them off the face of the earth as a judgment from God. What I must point out is that Paul isn’t just talking about sexual immorality. He is saying that their lack of self-control will encompass every fiber of their being. This will apply to every one of their appetites. They will not only be unable to restrain their desire for sexual immorality (which is frightening) they will be unable to restrain themselves from any pleasure, whether money, food, entertainment, alcohol, etc… If they can’t restrain their own appetites for pleasures, do you think they will be able to restrain themselves from attacking someone they hate? They won’t, and I believe that is why Paul addresses “brutal” and “haters of good” next. They will be the antithesis of the fruit of the Spirit that is self-control ( ἐγκράτεια ). In these last days not only will adultery, rape, and prostitution/sex slavery be on the upswing, but also people craving non-stop entertainment, pornography, drunkenness, drugs, fits of rage, vengeance, and gluttony to name a few.

     One example of this growing trend is the CEO of Netflix (Reed Hastings) in 2011 is quoted as saying, “ Netflix’s brand for TV shows is really about binge viewing,” he said. “It is to accommodate, to just get hooked, and watch episode after episode .” Companies are promoting “akrates”. If you lack self-control you will buy more and more product and these companies will market themselves in a way to make it seem like a good thing. Another example is sex trafficking within our nation. Did you know that the average teen that enters the sex trade is 12-14 years old? Did you know that 51.6% of the human trafficking cases in the U.S. are sex trafficking cases only involving children? Sex trafficking numbers are on the rise because the demand is there. This means that sexual immorality in our nation is on the rise. Men and women are sleeping with prostitutes at a higher rate than ever before. This is because man is becoming “akrateia” (incontinent) and cannot control their lusts anymore. Brothers and sisters, as these days grow more evil, expect for the lusts of men to multiply. You must prepare for these new harsh realities we are facing because man is getting more evil, not less.

 

     The next sin that Paul identifies as prevalent in the last days is that men will be “brutal“. The Greek word that Paul uses is ἀνήμερος (anemeros). It combines “a” (alpha) which is make the word into a negative. It means “without/not”. The word “hemeros” means “tame/gentle”. Properly, “not tame” or “savage”. In the last days men and women will be more like animals than humans because they will be that far from God. The closer to God we are the more human we become, yet the further we turn from God the more like animals we become. Since people will lack self-control it makes sense that they will act more like animals who have no self-control over their desires. Brutal denotes they will be vicious, given over to anger. People will be inhumane, merciless, and vengeful. They will delight in hurting others, yet never finding satisfaction for this insatiable craving, always wanting but never satisfied. They will seek to dox anyone online who does not agree with them. They will go to your employer and seek to have you fired because you disagree with them on an issue. Their brutality will reflect the malice that resides in their hearts. People will become more violent and seek to physically hurt those they hate. They won’t be able to control their violent behavior. They will be given over to violence as the way they operate, harboring murder in their hearts, because as Christ pointed out in Matthew 5 that if you harbor anger in your heart you have committed spiritual murder. Physical murder is actually the furthest end one can take their anger. Murder and physical brutality will be commonplace. When Peter cut off Malchus’ ear Christ created a new ear on the man and rebuked Peter. Peter wasn’t aiming for Malchus’ ear, he was aiming for his head to kill him. Peter had murder in his heart as he was acting like an animal in the wild who had no ability to control his desires. This is why Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those that take up the sword shall perish by the sword.” Matthew 26:52. If violence is how you operate then it will be violence that will take your life. Bring a bunch of violent people together and a melee will ensue because they cannot control their rage. These savage people, if legitimately hurt, will become vigilantes and seek retribution. If they are laid off from a job whether their fault or through no fault of their own they will become embittered and start a slander campaign at the very least and trespassing, vandalism, and workplace violence at the most. When God removes His restraining grace people will become more like wild animals doing whatever their sinful heart throws into their mind. They will epitomize “follow your heart” or “listen to your heart”.

 

     The next sin that Paul names that is prevalent in the last days is “haters of good“. The Greek word Paul uses is ἀφιλάγαθος (aphilagathos). This is a compound word. The “a” (alpha) is a negative that means “without/not”. The next two words are the compound. “Philos” means “friendly love” or “friend” and it denotes a familiar or experiential personal affection, meaning that your love is based on having spent time or interactions with a person. It is the love that you would have for a close friend or family member. The second part of the compound word is “agathos”. It means, “inherently good” denoting intrinsic goodness. Together, “philagathos” means “a personal affection for that which is intrinsically good.” When you add the negative (alpha) to the word, you get the opposite. It means, “a hater of that which is good”. It denotes being hostile or opposed to that which is good or virtuous. To put it simply, they hate anything that is good. They will burn with anger when you show a person mercy, including if they are the recipient of your mercy. They will hate you for forgiving your offender because only cowards forgive, real courage in their eyes is to get even. They will hate you for not swearing or not laughing at their course jokes. They will mock you for abstaining from sex until you are married. They are haters of all that is holy. The Christian’s holiness will be a piercing dagger in their heart convicting them of their evil. As God’s restraining grace lessons on this world the light of Christians will be all the more convicting of their sin. They don’t like that feeling when they are in your presence. They want everyone to be as evil as they are. Holy people are a reminder of how truly wicked unregenerate man is. The Israelites were afraid of Moses because after he was with the Lord, the glory of the Lord shined on his face. This literal shine from his face frightened them and convicted them of their sin, so much so that Moses had to cover his face. In the last days men will hate that which is good and seek to harm or corrupt those who are holy.


“… treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,…” —2 Tim. 3:4

 

     The next word Paul uses for people in the last days are that they will be “treacherous“. The Greek word used is προδότης (prodotes). In Greek “pro” means “before” and as a prefix it intensifies “didome” which means, “to give”. Properly, it means “betrayer/traitor”. The word denotes giving someone over to an enemy. In fact, this word was used to in reference to Judas Iscariot in Luke 6:16. So, what does Paul mean that people will be traitors/betrayers in the last days? I am looking at it from two perspectives.

     First, I believe that this will suggest that people will sell each other out. Paul already said that in the last days people will be lovers of money, so people with sensitive information about other people or leaders will use it to gain wealth, power, status, or favor. If Judas Iscariot would sell Christ out for 30 pieces of silver because he loved money then it makes sense that people will sell each other out for some sort of gain. To be honest I see nothing but treacherous activity in politics, so if our leaders are backstabbing each other, will the people of this nation not follow their lead?

     Secondly, and I believe most importantly, this may more specifically be in regards to Christian persecution. We are all aware of the Germans relentless pursuit of the Jews for the purpose of extermination. German citizens sold out fellow citizens who were Jewish, some even pointing the Nazis to where Jews were in hiding. I read a story from a 2002 article in the LA Times that reported that in the Netherlands Dutch citizens would turn in Jews living in their country for money. It was more of a Dutch effort to turn the Jews over to the Germans and it paid well. These Dutchmen sold out their own countrymen for $75 a week and $37.50 per captured Jew. That is a lot of money for late 1930’s-1940’s. Just a few verses down in 2 Timothy 3:12 we are told that “all” who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. Christians are to expect to be persecuted if they are living for Christ. In these last days I believe that people will be selling Christians out just as the Dutch sold their Jewish countrymen out. There will be traitors among us, people professing Christ, who conform to this present age and fear man more than God. As the persecution of Christians grows in each nation, including the United States, understand that there will be traitors among us who will turn us into the government to be arrested. Expect it. If Jesus was sold out to the Pharisees (Jewish religious leaders) for 30 pieces of silver, are we so above our Master that it could never happen to us? If it happened to Christ it will happen to us. Just as Christ was betrayed by Judas Iscariot we should also expect to be betrayed by those who profess Christ too. It will reveal that they are sons of perdition just like Judas.

 

     The next sin Paul addresses in the last days is that man will be “reckless“. The Greek word Paul uses is προπετής (propetes). “Pro” (before) is a preposition that intensifies the word and “pipto” means “to fall”. Properly, “to fall forward” denoting rashness or careless behavior because the person is headstrong. The implications here are that the person is impulsive. They shoot first and ask questions later as the old saying goes. They think they know it all so they make reckless decisions that cause them calamity. These people give no thought to their actions. They do not seek counsel. They do not entertain anyone’s opinion unless it lines up with their own. They never consider the consequences of their actions. They will spend more money then they make in their paycheck. They will jump into a marriage without really knowing the person because their spouse is hot, not godly. When I served in a college ministry many years ago I met a headstrong couple that had not dated long and they wanted to get married immediately because they could not control their passions for sex. They ignored everyone’s advice to not rush into the covenant of marriage and were married. Needless to say their early years of marriage were a struggle because it takes much more than sexual relations to maintain a relationship, especially when you raise it above God. A reckless person will take a mortgage out on their home to invest in the stock market or even worse, take it to the casino.

     In the early days of my sanctification when God had a lot of work to do in me after college, I remember going to a casino in Tunica, Mississippi. I remember playing roulette. A lady sat down next to me who had just cashed her entire paycheck and spent every last penny gambling. When I left she had lost well over $1100 and was almost broke. Another example would be to look where modern Christian music is trending. Song lyrics are born from emotion, not reasoned through Scripture. The song “Reckless Love” irritates me to no end. That one would call the love of God “reckless” is both callous and blasphemous. God’s love is not careless, hasty, impetuous, or rash. This would suggest that God has no idea how to love at all. Reckless people care for no one else but themselves and leave throngs of wounded in their wake. They are controlled by impulse, not reason. Saying that God’s love is reckless is slanderous to His holy name. In the last days, people will be so headstrong that they will make reckless decision after decision and bring those close to them into their storms.

 

     Paul follows up with the next sin prevalent in the last days and it is a good follow up to “reckless”. He calls people in the last days τυφόω (tuphoo). It literally means “to blow smoke” or “to wrap in smoke”. Paul uses it figuratively like he has done most of this passage to denote being “puffed up” or “conceited“. You can render this, “to be lifted up” as they are inflated with pride, blind to their own conceit and ripe for a fall. These people will think very highly of themselves. They will seek after vain things to glorify themselves. They will think they are experts in every facet of life. They will look down on those that challenge them as lesser people whose opinion is worthless. They will speak to people in a condescending manner. They will tell you what is best for your life because they know you better than you know yourself. They will seek to be influencers to push their immoral agendas because they are right and you are wrong because they are smarter than you. I don’t like politics, but I saw the perfect example recently where a Democrat commented that the Republican congresswoman from Colorado Lauren Boebert is not fit to serve in Congress because she only has a GED. In the last days elitism will be rampant and if you don’t have the right pedigree you will be looked upon as a witless peasant.

 

     The next evil Paul addresses regarding people in the last days is that they will be “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” The term “lovers of pleasure” is the Greek compound φιλήδονος (Philedonos). It combines “Philos”which is the experiential love. It is a love that you would have for a friend that grows because of the time you spend with them (experience). The experience that Paul is speaking to here is an experiential love of “pleasure”. The second part of the compound is “hedone” which gives us our English term ‘hedonism’. “Hedone” simply means “pleasure” and implies a pleasure that itself has become an end. Properly, “philedonos” translates as “lovers of pleasure“. The implications are clear. The ends (pleasure) will justify the means. The people in the last days will live to gratify themselves. Pleasure will be their god, not Yahweh. They will sacrifice whatever they can to procure these fleeting pleasures if but for a moment. In the second Hunger Games movie (Catching Fire) Katniss and Peeta were at President Snow’s mansion for a party which celebrated the victors. They were stuffed from eating all the sensuous foods when a man and woman offered them some more food to which they refused. They handed Peeta and Katniss a drink and said that if they drank the mysterious beverage that it would make them vomit so that they could enjoy eating more food. That scene of decadence and gluttony in Hunger Games will give you an idea of what “lovers of pleasure” will look like in the last days.

     Think about sexual immorality. Sex slavery and brothels will be commonplace, adultery will be off the charts. Drunkenness will be an epidemic as people seek alcohol to deal with life’s troubles and as a temporary escape from reality. Mind altering drugs will prominent whether at home or in night clubs or at raves. Entertainment venues will be full as events will have to make more and more provocative shows to keep people coming back. These people will be addicts always looking for their next fix as each act of lust for pleasure will bring about ever diminishing returns. Their god of pleasure will leave them discontent and unable to satisfy their desires, whereas the Christian finds their satisfaction in Christ, not be brought into slavery to pleasure. Love of pleasure is slavery to sin and it is a cruel master that will never let you go unless God rescues you by His grace. These people will be in a constant state of want and suffering because they cannot be satisfied. Contentment and satisfaction will be absent in the last days.


“…holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.” —2 Tim. 3:5

 

     The base word that Paul uses for “holding” is ἔχω (echo). It means, “I have” and denotes possession of something. Paul is using this verb in the present tense meaning that they are constantly holding to this “form of godliness“. It appears that Paul is switching gears just a little and is now pointing to apostasy in the church in the last days. Granted, apostates will embody every one of the aforementioned sins Paul says will be common in the last days, and they should, because they are unregenerate. From 2 Timothy 3:5-9 Paul is directing his warning as to what will be happening in the last days to the church. In the Tribulation there is no church, this is why I believe that the last days here refers to the time just before the rapture of the church. Putting that aside, Paul is warning the church that these men and women will appear godly on the outside. They will profess Christ, pray daily, fast, read Scripture every day, teach or serve at church, take communion, fight injustices, talk about Christ often, give food and clothing to the poor and hungry. The Pharisees did the exact same things regarding God. This is why Paul says they hold to “a form” of godliness.

     “Form” in the Greek is μόρφωσις (morphosis). It means “form” but it carries a deeper understanding. It denotes “a form/outline”. In other words it takes the shape of something and gives you the impression that it is what you think it is purely by how it looks externally. When it is used in context with “holding” it denotes a process (constant) rather than an ending point. I am using too many pop culture references, but they seem to be fitting examples. In the first Men in Black movie a spaceship crashes out in a rural area on a farmers property. The farmer witnessed the crash on his property and came out to investigate. This farmer was suddenly snatched into the crater made by the ship by some sort of giant alien bug and was presumably killed. When you next see the farmer he is walking away from the crash but is really awkward in his speech and movements. The giant alien bug somehow went inside the dead man’s body and began acting as if he were human so as to carry out his plan. On the outside we saw a man, but on the inside was a giant alien bug controlling the man’s body. This is what Paul is talking about. On the outside we see someone who looks like a Christian. They do all the right things and say all the right things, but it is a facade covering who they really are. This is why Jesus said in Matthew 7:15, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” People have this misconception that evil people look the part of what is considered evil. They think that evil is going to take the form of Orcs like in Lord of the Rings and that good is going to take on a beautiful form. This is not true! Evil many times takes the form of something good or pleasing! Paul clearly says in 2 Corinthians 11:14-15, “No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.” Evil likes to take on the form of good for the sole purpose of deceiving you. If you think an evil person is good then they can lead you astray. This is why I made the wicked (Mardok, traitorous Adelphos, and Azriel) in my Athanasia series some of the most beautiful people, because they appear like an angel of light, but are desperately evil. These apostates put on a form (morphosis) of godliness on the outside, yet they are anything but godly. They hold (echo) to this outward appearance (form) of godliness constantly, but they are apostates. These are pagans disguised as Christians.

 

     These apostates in the church will do their best to hold to a form of godliness, “although they have denied its power“. The Greek word for “denied” is ἀρνέομαι (arneomai). What is interesting is that the word is in the present tense denoting constant/perpetual denial by these apostates in the last days. The word within the context means, “to deny/to abnegate/to adjure”. This is not merely a denial they keep to themselves, rather it embodies carrying this denial into their own personal practice. Christianity to them is a mere outward expression, not an inward transformation to reflect the living power of God. These individuals will appear godly on the outside, but inwardly they will be raging with countless lusts. What is in the mind will transition to action.

     Sadly, the best example of this is Carl Lentz, former pastor of Hillsong Church in New York City. On the outside this man lived a pretty clean life. He looked like he had his life in order, though his theology was terrible. He agreed with Oprah about everyone going to heaven (universalism) when she interviewed him. He also would not call abortion sin when directly asked about it on the The View. All the red flags for apostasy were there because his beliefs were erroneous. This man was credited for turning Justin Bieber’s life around, a man who poured countless hours into sermon prep, a man who prayed and appeared holy from the outside regarding his actions. Then it was reported that he had committed adultery with an atheist woman who lived in New York City. He kept it on the down low. Even after the affair was discovered by his wife and by the leaders of Hillsong, he still went back and had sex with the woman after the fact. He looked like a Christian on the outside, but his actions in secret pointed to his unbelief. He held to a form of godliness but denied its power in his life. He revealed that he was a fraud. Many Christians already knew this based on his theological beliefs, but his faux godliness wasn’t enough to combat his sin nature. I will point out that this doesn’t just apply to heterodoxy.

     There are orthodox Christians out there that hold to the right theology, but are inwardly dead. They do not practice what they preach. They look down on those not as wise as them rather than showing them grace. They belittle rather than exhort so as to exalt themselves, not God. They can be cruel and heartless to those that oppose them. The Pharisees made some horrible accusations regarding Jesus, including saying that he was born from adultery (John 8:41). There are some discernment ministries out there that fit this bill. I would also add that many who profess Christ on the left are modern day godless Sadducees. They appear moral too on the outside, but like the Sadducees do not hold to the authority or sufficiency of Scripture. They are practical atheists. They fight for worthy causes to stop the sex slave trade. They fight to help get third world country kids vaccinated, as well as feed and cloth the poor. The problem is that their actions justify their salvation, not Christ. These actions are not born out of orthodoxy (right beliefs) thereby bringing forth orthopraxy (right practice), rather it is their orthopraxy that they lean on to justify that they are orthodox. I am sorry, the fruit doesn’t give birth to the tree. It is the tree that bears the fruit. As Christ said in Matthew 12:33, “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make a tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit.” On the outside they have a form of godliness, but on the inside they are dead. How do you recognize them? They reject the authority and sufficiency of Scripture. They will be okay with abortion, transgenderism, sex before marriage, homosexuality, gossip, drunkenness, recreational drug use, lying, pride, reviling, course jesting, cursing, etc… It is because Scripture has no authority over them that they are not obligated to obey God’s commands showing that they in fact are unbelievers. In fact, they will also import man made philosophies into Christianity as well as beliefs of other false religions. This is called ‘Syncretism’ as they attempt to sync Christianity to other beliefs and religions. In the last days my hope is that the church will exercise discipline against these apostates, and for those who are truly in error and refuse to repent, that they be tossed out to keep Christ’s church pure as best as fallible man can.

 

     “Avoid such men as these“. This is a command. We are not to associate with these fake Christians. The Greek word for “Avoid” is ἀποτρέπω (apotrepo). It combines “apo” (from) and “trope” (turning). Properly, “turning from”. You can also translate it as “to shun/avoid”. The implication here is simple. Have nothing to do with professing Christians who work hard to put on an appearance as a Christian, but inwardly have no evidence of regeneration. This will come out in their beliefs and actions, especially the hidden actions. “Be sure your sin will find you out,” from Numbers 32:23 comes to mind. I often wonder why Christians associate with the godless, especially in politics. It is true, we are and must witness to unbelievers and be a light to them, yet I am noticing a lot of Christians who fellowship with the unbelievers. They empathize and befriend them more than Christians in their church. I see it in the political realm and in the philosophical realm. Christians are importing worldly philosophies into the church and corrupting it. I have seen it with nationalism, but even worse with CRT which is more pervasive because it is being adopted and employed by the U.S government, every major corporation, churches, and into our schools. The same can’t be said about nationalism. Either way, these, and the multitude of heresies associated with the church with prosperity theology, social justice, eastern mysticism, panentheism, gnosticism, antinomianism, self help theology, attractional church, emergent church, etc…need to be challenged and removed from Christ’s church. The command is clear…have nothing to do with them. Avoid them because if you let them into your life or into your church they will come to roost.

     As I finish up I would like to point out that it appears that there will be two churches just from looking at Paul’s words in verses 5-9. We are seeing the Harlot church form like Bethel which is obviously apostate, but some churches are more discreet in their heresies, though a careful look at them would show their heresy. The apostate churches will become more and more obvious the closer we get to the last days. Paul makes it sound in verse 9 as if anyone who has been redeemed will know the harlot church from the true church. It will be that obvious. The good news is that we will see the true church split from the harlot church. When the harlot church is removed they will fall into deeper wickedness, and the true church will easily see that they are frauds. This would signal that there is going to be some painful times ahead as people we once thought redeemed go to the harlot church. It will sting, but it is a good and necessary pain. Prepare for it, beloved. It is Christ purifying His church and we need to be grateful for it because we have failed in our attempts to keep the church holy and pure.

 

    

End.

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas Coutouzis is the author of Agonizing for the Faith: A Biblical Exposition of Jude as well as an epic fantasy series that is partial allegory called Athanasia: The Great Insurrection (Book 1) and Athanasia: The Unknown Lands (Book 2). Thomas resides in Fuquay Varina, NC with his wife and two children and is an expositional bible teacher at Southside Church in Clayton, NC. He can be reached at thomascoutouzis@gmail.com.

 

 

 

To read more expositions A Pilgrim’s Coffer:

A Pilgrim’s Coffer – Expositions

 

 

 

 

    

Difficult Times & the Degeneration of Men, Part I

An Exposition of 2 Timothy 3:1-5

by Thomas Coutouzis

 

 

     Restraining grace is a grace from God that restrains the evil inside each man’s heart. Scripture tells us that man is totally depraved in their nature (Romans 3:10-12). This means that they are incapable of doing any good that pleases the Lord because their whole being is corrupt to its core, incapable of being holy. The restraining grace of God prevents man from carrying out fully the evil they are capable of. In essence, God restrains their evil. The Lord has different ways of doing this through regeneration, or government, or family, just to name a few. If God were to remove his restraint off the hearts of man, evil would run rampant and mankind would eradicate itself and carry out every bit of evil in its heart to their own destruction. The text we are going to look at today is 2 Timothy 3:1-5. In this text, you will see how in the last days (not the tribulation) men will become more wicked because God is removing his restraining grace. One only has to look at the riots of Antifa and Black Lives Matter that raged and are still raging, as well as the Capitol riots. God is removing His restraint off men and giving them over to the lusts of their heart. As a result, wickedness becomes rampant and as we will see in this passage the degeneration of men will increase at a warp speed in the last days before Christ’s return.

 

     I am going to warn you ahead of time that I am a dispensationalist. No, not like John Hagee. He knows absolutely nothing about dispensationalism as he is in fact a false teacher. That said, I am not going to point to my dispensationalist beliefs in light of this passage other than to say that the last days are the time just before the rapture of the church.

 

     With this in mind it helps to know the context. In chapter two of Second Timothy Paul is exhorting Timothy to press on faithfully despite the persecutions of the world against Christians. He has to press on like a good soldier of Christ who does not run from a fight but stands their ground even to the death. At 2 Timothy 2:14 Paul shifts gears to distinguishing between being faithful workmen within the church and false teachers. Paul then gives examples of people by name within the church who were not good workmen. They were not good workmen because they were apostates who had infiltrated the church. At the end of chapter 2 Paul is exhorting Timothy to stand firm in holiness. To “flee youthful lusts“, “refuse foolish and ignorant speculations“, “not be quarrelsome“, “able to teach“, “patient when wronged“. He finishes in verse 25 by saying, “with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition.” This is the interesting part: Paul tells Timothy in verse 25 to do this so that, “perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth“. In other words, Paul is saying to reprove the apostates in his church gently that they might be saved. This may even include actual believers deeply deceived by apostates in the church. It is not that they need salvation, but they need to repent of believing the lies taught by these false teachers so that they can once again embrace the truth. With all of this said, we go into 2 Timothy 3.


“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.” —2 Tim. 3:1

 

     Technically speaking you could say when Christ arose we were in the last days. This however is not talking about a figure of speech that covers thousand of years. It is a more specific period towards the end of this dispensation. The reason I say this is because Paul covers a lot of sins that will get progressively worse as God removes His restraining grace. They will bring about greater hardships and calamity than the world has ever known at this point. The days will be so evil that it will be hard to walk in holiness, and if you do, you will be hated, thus persecution will ramp up. Let me show you why:

Paul uses the word, “realize” which in the Greek is γινώσκω​ (ginosko) which means “to know”. It is an experiential knowledge, meaning that it is knowledge gained from experience. Now why would Paul say that we have to realize that their will be difficult times in the last days? He means that we will experience “difficulty” ourselves and he wants us to not be surprised by it. We have to be ready!

 

     So, what are these difficulties? Paul uses the word χαλεπός​ (chalepos) as the adjective
“difficulty” used to modify “times”. The word means, “hard to bear” or “harsh/savage”. It impresses the point that something is fiercely hard to bear. It can be rendered, “grievous” or “perilous”. The implication here is one of severe pain. To give you the magnitude of this word, Christ uses it in Matthew 8:28 when he comes across two demon possessed men. One of these men was possessed by Legion. The text of Matthew 8:28 tells us that these men were so “violent” that no one could pass by that way. The Greek word that translates as “violent” is χαλεπός. If you read Mark chapter 5 which is a parallel passage witnessed by Mark, you will see the man infested by Legion was breaking out of chains. He could not be restrained and that lack of restraint allowed him to thrive in his violence.

Brothers and sisters, the last days will have so much peril that we will be tempted to become anxious constantly because evil will be rampant. It will be a constant piercing pressure on our backs as the world begins to lose its mind. 2020 was just the pre-game warm up for what we as Christians will face. These difficult times won’t just be persecution of Christians, but will be full of hardships for all mankind. Mankind will progress in evil so we can expect violence to be at unprecedented levels, political unrest will be constant, civil unrest will be a regular part of our lives, civility will be abolished and sexual perversion and immorality will be everywhere. Alcoholism and drug use will be rampant as people try to escape all the troubles going on in the world with mind altering drugs. Mankind will chase after every pleasure possible to drown out the noise of the constant calamity of these last days. The Christian will certainly be tempted to fall into this anxiety if we don’t stay grounded in God’s promises and remember James words, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials.” I want to impress upon you exactly what Paul impressed upon Timothy—be ready to expect pain.

 

     Before we take a look at verse 2 to see the list of things we can expect in these last days I want to reiterate that the days of Timothy had persecution and troubles, but nothing to this degree. As the gospel made its way to the nations people came to know the Lord and turned away from their evil. God was using regeneration to restrain evil and influence nations for positive change. Christians are a preservative in this world and their influence became so strong that the Roman Empire crumbled and the Byzantine Empire was founded. It was a government favorable to Christians and allowed Christianity to flourish and influence the nation and surrounding nations. Christians started hospitals and created orphanages to rescue those children left on their door step to die in Roman Empire. Christianity was having quite an impact on the world by suppressing and restraining evil. Paul had no idea how he and other Christians would impact the world in such a way that the old Roman Empire would collapse and the Byzantine Empire would emerge.

These are obviously not the last days that Paul means here. Paul is looking towards the future where Christianity will have much less of an impact on this world because God is beginning to deliver it over to judgement and will eventually put it under the rule of the Antichrist. This means God is removing His restraining grace, not increasing it as unbelievers will not be able to even enjoy the common graces that He bestows upon all of us. One thought that occurred to me is that this might mean that less people are regenerated, therefore, there are not as many people turning from their evil and living as a light of Christ. In fact, hearts seem to be so cold to Christianity today that it is most likely a judgment from on high. One only has to go to Romans 1 to confirm this. If people are being given over to a depraved mind by God as a judgment then verses 2-5 make all the sense in the world as to what we should expect. While these sins are committed in every age, they were not to the degree of “perilous”.


“For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy…” —2 Tim. 3:2

 

     When Paul says that men will be “lovers of self” he is stating this first for a reason. He is starting with the foundation of all sin. Every sin that follows is an act of self love, not love of God. All sin is contempt towards God and a love for self because our sin nature wants is in rebellion to the Lord. It does not want peace with God, it wants war. In Mark 12:31, Jesus tells us to “Love your neighbor as yourself“. The implication is that we already love ourselves, so a faithful servant that loves the Lord his God with all his heart, mind, and soul [greatest Commandment] must now love their neighbor as themselves [second greatest commandment]. If we don’t love God first then we won’t love our neighbor, which means that we will only love ourselves. Only with Christ as a our Lord and Savior is it possible to love someone else as much as ourselves. I would like to point out a misnomer. I hear, “love your neighbor” detached from loving God. You cannot do this. In order to know the love your neighbor needs you have to love God first so He can direct you as to what type of love they actually need. Many people make the second commandment proceed the first commandment. That would lead to legalism and a love of self as you prescribe what loving your neighbor looks like, not God.

“Love of self” in the Greek is φίλαυτος​ (philautos). It combines two words. “Philos” meaning “lover” and “autos” meaning “self”. The root “phil” denotes an experiential love, meaning that it is a love based on your experiences or interactions. In context, it is a love rooted in your experiences with yourself. Our sinful disposition makes us naturally a lover of self. When a person murders another person they did it out of their love for themselves, not their love for that person who is their neighbor. When a man or woman rapes someone they are doing it to please themselves. They are in fact hating their neighbor which points upward to their hatred of God who detests rape. When a person uses profanity it defiles the hearer. When a woman has an abortion she is showing contempt for the child who is her neighbor and contempt for God who is knitting the baby together in the mother’s womb. When a person slanders another person they are not loving their neighbor as themselves. Most importantly, they are not loving God with all their heart, mind, and soul, when they do these things that He detests and will judge one day. Love of self is the foundation for all sin in a person’s life. This is why Jesus says that if we wish to follow Him we must “deny ourselves” (Luke 9:23), that is, our sin nature which is in direct opposition to every single one of His precepts in Scripture. 

 

     The next term that Paul uses to describe people in the last days is φιλάργυρος​ (philarguros). It combines “philos” (lover) and “arguros” (silver). Properly, it is a “lover of silver” or better stated, “a lover of money”. I am reminded of Paul saying in his first letter to Timothy, “​For the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:10)​ . We must contemplate, why does man in his sin nature love money and raise it above God as an idol? Because of what it affords him. Money gives us access to many things like pleasure (nice homes, boats, cars, clothing, trips, etc.). Money can buy us every hedonistic luxury in an attempt to satisfy our insatiable desires. It never satisfies so we want more. Love of money will even drive true believers away from Christ and leave them in ruins.

In my Athanasia epic fantasy series I put this on display when the Pirate King Sprasian is meeting with his second in command, Bremus. Sprasian is conflicted and is starting to question his wicked ways:

Sprasian asked Bremus, “​Are you really satisfied by the lifestyle we lead?”

To which Bremus answered, “​I am never satisfied, that is why I must keep doing it.”

The point is that money never satisfies. These men spilled blood by killing men, women, and children to feed their lustful desires, but all it did was leave them in more want. What Paul is talking about regarding love for money is that it is actually a lust for money. Money has become preeminent over everything else. People will cherish money over even their closest relationships. If you try to deprive them of this lust for money they will treat you as an enemy. They will even go so as far as murder to get what they want. James even tells us in James 4:1-3 that the source of the quarrels amongst the members in the Jerusalem church were the pleasures that waged war in their bodies. They lust and do not have so they commit murder.

Love of money is not separated by class. Both rich and poor alike can make it their god and step on anyone that gets in their way. I have seen the greedy poor spend their money on lottery tickets rather than pay their utility bills or buy food. Why is that? It is a love of money. Is it any wonder why lotteries have almost billion dollar jackpots now? They are nothing more than a tax on the poor who covet the jackpot money.

I once worked for a wealthy man at his Miniature Golf course when I was a teenager. I did such a good job that I got promoted to a management position called Shift Supervisor. At the time minimum wage was $4.25 an hour which was what I was making. I was only given a raise of 10 cents for the increased responsibilities and contributions I made that boosted sales exponentially. This man was known for being very stingy because he loved money more than people, and most importantly God. In the last days, people will be such lovers of money that your life will be insignificant to them. They will step on you or take advantage of you to get what they want. I would have to believe that murder will be at epidemic proportions during this time as people will kill to attain the god that gives them their pleasures.

    

     Paul then says that the people during this time will be “boastful” and “arrogant“. These are two
words are very similar, but let’s point out the difference. “Boastful” in Greek is ἀλαζών (alazon) is a noun and denotes an “imposter” or “a wandering vagrant”. It implies a person who goes from place to place making great boasts because after he/she is found out they will be forced to leave and boast to others elsewhere who don’t know that they are a liar. They prey on the naive, and it makes you wonder if Paul said this intentionally right after “lovers of money” because these boastful people are empty talkers who will swindle you from your money and flee when they are found out. Again, I am not sure if that is Paul’s implication, but the two certainly go hand in hand. Boastful leads right into the next word “arrogant” because boasting is fulled by arrogance. It is a product of that sinful pride that resides in the heart.

The Greek word for “arrogant” is ὑπερήφανος is one of the Greek words that gives an amazing word picture. “Huper” is transliterated at “hyper” and means “beyond/over” as in “excessive”. The other half of the word is “phaino” and simply means, “to shine”. Properly, this is rendered as “to over-shine”. This word is translated as “proud” in James 4:6 where “God is opposed to the proud“. This word shows that these people have an overinflated view of themselves. They think more highly of themselves than they ought. Pride and selfishness go hand in hand as you can’t have one without the other.

I would go a step further and say that pride is selfishness. It was the first sin ever committed in creation by Satan who boasted, “I will raise my throne above the stars of God” in Isaiah 14:12-14. This is the preeminent example of what it means to over-shine. This person will make great boasts like Nebuchadnezzar made when he said, “​Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?” Daniel 4:30.​ Notice the “I’s” and “Me’s” and “My’s”. The world revolves around these people, not God. They, like Satan, are a god in their own eyes. In the last days people will be serial narcissists.

Why is it that social media which I call vanity media is one of the biggest most profitable industries in the world? Because people are in love with themselves. In Greek mythology Narcissus was a handsome man who saw his reflection in the water and fell in love with himself. Narcissism comes naturally to fallen man within Christianity there are apostates that teach narcissism. They teach self help and prosperity theology like Steven Furtick, Joel Osteen, Paula White, Joyce Meyer, and even Beth Moore who associates with these people, just to name a few. They tie Jesus to you helping yourself. They will say, “Jesus gave you the ability in yourself to overcome trials,” or “Jesus only wants the best for you,” or “You are a little g-god who can speak anything they want into existence,” or “God has equipped you to overcome your Goliath’s,” or “You are having a Daniel in the lion’s den moment.” I could go on and on, but you get the picture. These aforementioned people teach you to read yourself into Scripture. This is what many call narcigesis (the reading of yourself into a text of Scripture which was not the author’s original intent). When you do that, Scripture is no longer about Christ’s glory, but your glory. You are now the hero of the text, not Christ. Christendom is full of Narcissists with “pastors” calling themselves “Life Coaches” rather than preaching a text and teaching people nothing about the God of the Bible. I am glad they call themselves Life Coaches because they are not pastors. Narcissism attracts apostates, so when you preach it, guess who will fill your seats…unbelievers who love themselves. They like your message because it tickles their ears and tells them what they want to hear, “I like this Jesus who revolves around me.” As these last days approach understand that the church has been infiltrated by those that “overshine”, not just the world. A world run by narcissists will only lead to disaster. A church influenced by the world’s narcissism is not Christian. It is a false gospel, one of which does not lead to repentance of sin. When you think too high of yourself you will never turn to Christ and repent of your sins against Him. 

 

     “Revilers” is the next sin Paul addresses that will be rampant in the last days. The Greek word he uses is βλάσφημος​ (blasphemos). It combines “Blapto” which means “to injure/harm” and “pheme” which means “fame/report”. Properly, it means, “an injurious report” or “abusive speech”. It also translates as “slander”. It denotes damaging someone’s character, thus this is where our English term “blasphemy” derives from. It is speech that is intended to harm another person. This same root word is used in Ephesians 4:31 when Paul is condemning all the anger sins. The word βλασφημία​ (blasphemia) is translated in that verse as “slander”. What is interesting to note is that slander is not an anger sin, rather it was a symptom of anger.

In the last days slanderous/injurious speech will be rampant revealing that sinful angers rooted in the hearts of men. The last days will be filled with rage, and I believe after this last election season that we are headed there full throttle. Isn’t this all we see on news channels. We have leaders/lawmakers and pundits calling each other names and making false accusations against one another. They are intentionally injuring others because they are their opponents that stand in the way of getting what they want and those that vote for them. If these people are our leaders whom we elected, then they in fact are a reflection of the people of this nation. No wonder we are so quick to revile each other. The people we elected are just like us. It is hard for me to be on social media without taking regular breaks because all I see from the world and most Christians is reviling of one another. Some discernment blogs are notorious for this and give discernment a bad name. They revile apostate and brethren alike.

Reviling has sadly become the native tongue of this world. Civility has been thrown out the window. We see it in the church currently with people calling their pastors and elders “Caesar worshipers” and refusing to obey the elders for the times they designate for the wearing of masks. We see others saying that “science” says that the elders are not “loving their neighbor” unless they obey every mandate of the government. Again, these are words solely intended for injury on both sides of the issue and all they cause is strife. On social media I am slandered about 85-90% of the time by professing Christians who seek to injure me, not unbelievers. I don’t care if you disagree with me on a subject as I am not your Holy Spirit. I take issue when brethren attack the person and not the argument. This should never be! These are all examples of slander and it is becoming more rampant as we rapidly approach these last days. Expect it and learn to obey Romans 12:19 by not seeking to avenge yourself by repaying evil with evil. Turn the revilers over to God for judgment, forgive them of their sin, and move on. Don’t allow the poison spat from the mouths of revilers to taint your heart with bitterness.

 

     “Disobedient to parents” in the Greek is ἀπειθής (apeithes). It combines “a” (alpha) which is a negative that means, “without/not” and “peitho” which means “to persuade”. Peitho is root where
we get the word “pistis” which translates as “faith”. Properly, this means “not persuaded/unpersuaded”. The implication is that the children don’t believe their parents. They don’t obey their parents who have been placed in authority by God over them. They are rebellious and causing strife in the family. The only way a child should disobey their parents is if they are commanding them to do something that violates God’s word. This isn’t the case here. These children in their pride think they know it all and will do whatever they want not knowing that the end it leads to is destruction. If you can’t obey your parents then there is no way that you will obey any authority, including Almighty God. It disobeys the fifth commandment which is to “honor your mother and father that your days may be prolonged” (Exodus 20:12).

Societal stability hinges on respect for parents and their authority. They are actually one of the restraining grace’s I mentioned earlier that God uses to repress sin. If a child will not obey their parents then society will begin to spur into anarchy. All the riots by Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and recently from the March on the Capitol all point to children who did not obey their parents because they have no respect for those in authority over them. This lack of respect for authority reveals that we are closing in on the last days. 

 

     “Ungrateful” as another prevalent sin during the last days is the Greek word ​ἀχάριστος
(acharistos). If you remember from earlier “a” (alpha) is a prefix that gives a word a negative meaning (without/not). When it is combined with “charis” which means “grace/thanks” it is translated as “ungrateful/thankless”. These are people who are entitled. They believe they are entitled to whatever they want. If you help them they will believe that you owed it to them and will have no gratitude for your altruism.

I know of people who didn’t have much money and were in need of help from the church benevolence fund. They had to fill out paperwork to prove that they were in need of help. This was a very large church so he was not a well known person. They had to show finances and expenses to show that they had need. This husband grumbled having to do this. When the church saw his needs they gave him exactly what they needed. When I praised God that his family had his bills met he said, “That’s what they are supposed to do.” That was one of the most thankless comments I had ever heard. This person thought that because they were a Christian they were entitled to benevolence.

Beloved, we don’t deserve anything from God. In fact, what we truly deserve is to face the wrath of God in Hell forever for our sin. We deserve eternal torment for offending a perfect all holy God because we cannot keep one of His precepts as Christians apart from His help. I see that we are headed in that direction quickly today as one only has to look at the civil unrest in our nation with the social justice movement. Those who have never been in bondage to slavery in their lives feel they are entitled to slave reparations for work they never did. There are women who believe they are entitled to murder children in the womb so that they can have a career, and there are many men that support them too. Many people are discontent with their wages, so instead of getting more education through college or a trade they appeal to government to raise the minimum wage. What we see stemming from this is Marxism beginning to rear its ugly head. People are beginning to hate the wealthy and believe they need to “share their wealth” and look at the government as a way to do this through coercion and compulsion. This is covetousness. If there is one thing that we are taught throughout Scripture is to be content in any and every circumstance, including financial hardship.

I am guilty of being ungrateful. Early on in my career when I was laid off from my job I refused to work at lesser job that paid minimum wage. I was going to work in my profession, which was Advertising and Marketing. I was blinded by my arrogance. That ended when my parents stopped giving me money to pay for my expenses because I was draining them. The only job I could find was at the NC State Student Bookstore making $7 an hour. It was not near enough to pay my expenses, but God had made me content working there. He knew my needs and I trusted him. One month later I found a job back in my field. God is good! God takes care of His children (those He has redeemed), but that promise isn’t for unbelievers. He will meet each and every need of a Christian, but most times it doesn’t happen the way we planned for it. With all of this said, in the last days people will be grace haters. I mean it in this vein, they will see grace as something they deserve. Grace is something we cannot earn or deserve. It cannot be merited, or it would cease to be grace.

 

     The last sin sign in verse 2 is “unholy“. The Greek word used is ​ἀνόσιος (anosios). It combines “a” (alpha) which is a negative that means, “without/not” and “hosios” which denotes “Being pure of defilement” thus it is translated as “holy”. It implies a respect for that which is sacred or hallowed. Properly, it means, “unholy/impious/wicked”. In the last days the people in the world will not be immoral, rather they will be amoral. They will have no ability to discern right from wrong. The best example of this in Scripture is in Judges, whose theme is ​”In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes“; Judges 19:25​ . Let me give you an example of what amoral looks like:

 

1.    Jephthah made a vow (Judges 11:29-40) before God that if God gives him victory over the Ammonites he will sacrifice the first thing to come out of his house to greet him as a burnt offering. Jephthah was victorious, so when he came to his home he was crushed to find out that it was his one and only daughter that was the first to come out and greet him. Instead of repenting of his foolish vow he sacrificed her as a burnt offering. This did not please God. This is amoral. The pagan nations had human sacrifices and this was forbidden. In fact, the only human sacrifice pleasing to God was Christ’s sacrifice for sin as Theanthropos (God-man).

2.    In Judges 17, there is a man named Micah who robbed his mother of 1,100 pieces of silver. His mother cursed the person who stole her silver. Micah admits to stealing the silver and gives it back to his mother. His mother praises the Lord and gives 200 hundred pieces of silver to a silversmith to make into a pagan idol as gratitude for what the Lord had done for her. This is amoral. She thanks God by doing evil in return for His good.

3.    The most disgusting and nihilistic part of Judges is Chapters 19-21. There is a Levite (priestly order) who is supposed to be a man of God who owned a concubine. A concubine was a female slave that owner would have sex with. This was forbidden by God. It was sexual immorality. His concubine ran away and he fetched her from her father’s home. On his travels back he stopped in Gibeah where he found an old man to put he and his concubine up for the night. That was when the men of the city came up and demanded that the Levite be sent out so that they could rape him. The old man offered his daughter and the Levite’s concubine. The Levite pulled the old man back inside the home and pushed his concubine out. The men raped the woman all night while they slept peacefully. She was left at the doorstep. When the Levite was ready to leave in the morning he saw her laying just outside the door and told her to get up. When she didn’t arise he put her on the back of his donkey and took her home. He then cut her into pieces and sent her throughout Israel to show what the Benjamites did to his concubine. Israel enraged by what happened sought out to destroy Benjamin in retribution. This is by far one the most unholy and amoral passages in Judges. That a man of God would own a concubine, throw her out to a bunch of animals to be ravaged, and then take her dead body and cut it into pieces to enrage Israel to repay the Benjamites for their evil is beyond wicked. It is beyond profane. It is beyond inglorious. It is beyond desecration. It is unholy. It is amoral. The Levite, old man, and Benjamites had no ability to know right from wrong. That is the essence of being accursed. They held nothing as sacred.


     In the last days, you can count on the people of the world to emulate the amorality of the Israelites in the book of Judges. Be ready for it. It is starting to happen around us. Georgia just voted in a U.S. Senator who abused his wife, and abused children that he was in charge of at a “Christian” camp. A famous Christian rapper even stumped for him at one of his rallies. One thing that I never thought I would see in the U.S. is rampant sex slavery. Children are being kidnapped and turned to a life of prostitution. They are being abducted from some of the safest cities in our country.

My daughter had a scare a couple of years ago when just she, my son, and wife got home from school. My wife and son went inside and my daughter went to get the mail. Suddenly, a white van parked down the street came speeding towards our house and hit the brakes right in front of our mail box while my daughter was getting the mail. A man jumped out of the van and hurried to my daughter. My daughter turned and ran into our garage while my wife opened the front door because she saw what was happening. The man ran back into his van and sped off. I thank God for His grace. Whatever this man’s intent, it surely wasn’t for good.

All this to say that we are living in dark times and they are getting darker. We as believers need to get busy with sharing the gospel, praying for our children who will inherit a degenerating nation and world, and pray that we will be light bearers of Christ, a symbol of hope for a dying world. While degeneration of our world is horrid as God removes His restraining grace, remember that this is not our home. These trials loosen our grip on this world and make us long for heaven. This is why we proclaim, “Come, Lord Jesus, come!”

 

In part 2 I will exposit 2 Timothy 3-5. 

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas Coutouzis is the author of Agonizing for the Faith: A Biblical Exposition of Jude as well as an epic fantasy series that is partial allegory called Athanasia: The Great Insurrection (Book 1) and Athanasia: The Unknown Lands (Book 2). Thomas resides in Fuquay Varina, NC with his wife and two children and is an expositional bible teacher at Southside Church in Clayton, NC. He can be reached at thomascoutouzis@gmail.com.

 

 

 

To read more expositions A Pilgrim’s Coffer:

A Pilgrim’s Coffer – Expositions