One of Paul’s prophecies begins in a very unusual way for the Scriptures. “But understand or know this” he says in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble had to deal with and hard to bear. Know this. Usually the Bible simply says, “This is the way it will be.” Be in no doubt about this.
Here is an absolutely established fact you cannot change by prayer, pleading or any other activity. It is going to happen, so bow before this fact. We are living in fierce times. And they are going to get fiercer as things get worse. Actually, it will not be so much “things” getting worse as people. People are going to get worse as they give in to pressure to turn from following God.
Here is the initial description that Paul gives, following his injunction to “understand this”
But understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble hard to deal with and hard to bear. For people will be lovers of self and utterly self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate greedy desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane. They will be without natural human affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); they will be slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good.
They will be treacherous betrayers, rash, and inflated with self-conceit. They will be lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God. For although they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession. Avoid all such people turn away from them.
When Paul speaks about fierce times, he begins with the root cause: “For people will be.” Then he lists eighteen moral ethical blemishes. In other words, human character is the root cause of the dark days to come-not a nuclear holocaust. Notice that the list begins and ends with what people love: self, money and pleasure. These three loves are the cause of all the other negative attributes listed here, and they are interrelated.
Why would people have an ordinate desire for wealth? Because they love pleasure. Money can buy pleasure, at least for a little while. But it cannot buy peace or joy. The love of money is also an expression of pride. Riches can also encourage us to be arrogant, to display our wealth and act as if we are better than those who have less. These loves are rooted in love of self. In other words, what you love determines what you will be.
A Form of Godliness
People who are guilty of these moral sins are not people without an outward form of religion. For although they hold a form of godliness or true religion, they deny its power and are strangers to the power that can make them godly. This power is none other than the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Many don’t leave any room for His presence; they don’t have any kind of sensitivity to spiritual things and, worse still, there is no conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgment.
Just listen to people of the world talking together in any public place-a gym, train or a restaurant. What is the most common topic of conversation? Without a doubt, it is money and wealth. After money there comes a variety of other topics, all connected with our physical and material wellbeing, pleasures, comforts, luxuries, cars, family affairs, clothing, and household equipment. These are things which normally occupy the thoughts and speech of the people this world.
Yet the act of being or acting religiously is not missing from our current culture. In other words, Paul is saying that people are professing Christians, but their lives have never been changed. They deny the power of godliness, the power of an encounter with Jesus Christ to change their lives radically and permanently.
Look at the relational, social, ethical and moral character of African leaders many of whom call themselves Christian. For instance, in Uganda certain Pentecostal churches whose pastors are close to the president have gained much in prestige, contributions by their parishioners and occasional moral support or political and legal cover from the state.
The church that was supposed to be a pillar of truth, love, charity, and justice, is now dealing with “useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain” (1 Timothy 6: 5).
These issues are not particular to Africa. The West experiences some of the same problems as the church in Africa. And it is indeed impossible to imagine at the very heart of a society a more astounding fact than this: the law has come to be an instrument of injustice. And if this fact brings terrible consequences to the United States, what about in other parts of Africa and Europe where the perversion of law is a principle or a system?
In the next brief video, Congressman Ken Buck explains to Attkisson exactly how Washington works, and what he reveals is absolutely shocking…