Perilous Times

The following post is from a newsletter that I subscribe to by Brent Riggs called “Serious Faith.” This post on our wicked times is right on and, as you will see, it is completely scriptural.

The link to this post on Brent’s web site is: http://www.seriousfaith.com/teaching_detail.asp?teachingnumber=305

Enjoy and be blessed. – Mike Ratliff

by Brent Riggs

2 Timothy 3:1-5 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! (NKJV)

In the last days, good will be called evil and evil will be called good. Mankind will have a “form” of godliness but it will be false because their hearts will be so wicked they won’t even recognize how evil their behavior is. Who would deny that in general even professing Christians are typically tolerant of an embarrassing level of sinfulness?

Let’s look at some Biblical contrasts between wickedness and righteousness.

Proverbs 28:1 The wicked flee when no one pursues, But the righteous are bold as a lion. (NKJV)

Wickedness keeps a person restless and unsettled. The guilty conscience worries about being caught at any moment and sees every person as the one who will uncover secret sin.

When we stand righteous before God through repentance and prayer, we are bold in the face of every situation. When we are in close fellowship with God, we don’t fear discovery of concealed sin and hypocrisy.

Psalm 10:3 For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire; He blesses the greedy and renounces the LORD. (NKJV)

The wicked person brags about being free of Godly constraints, and proudly proclaims exactly what they think of anyone who would dare “judge” them for their sinful desire. How many times have you heard someone say that it is “nobody’s business” what they do?

Psalm 34:17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles. (NKJV)

The righteous are heard by the Lord, who is faithfully listening for our cries of help. The Lord is ready and able to deliver the righteous from their troubles.

Psalm 37:12 The wicked plots against the just, And gnashes at him with his teeth. (NKJV)

The wicked constantly look for ways to persecute the righteous because holiness exposes sin. A wicked person feels guilty in the presence of the Godly and instead of responding in repentance, they seek to destroy the one who exposes wickedness just by their presence.

Proverbs 15:8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But the prayer of the upright is His delight. (NKJV)

Nothing a wicked person does pleases God, no matter how “good” the act may appear on the surface. However, the prayers of the righteous are a joyous thing to God; they are His delight.

I highlight these verses to demonstrate that the Bible clearly divides the wicked and the righteous. There is nothing “relative” or ambiguous about it. It is not uncertain or debatable. The wicked are condemned and the righteous are blessed.

The wicked and the righteous are clearly defined,
and the consequences plainly stated.

We live in a world today where the line between the wicked and righteous has been blurred. It is considered “intolerant” to draw a line between good and evil. It is said to be “judgmental” to declare absolute right and wrong. It is “mean spirited” to call anything sinful.

The result is a world that finds the words “righteous” and “wicked” to be old-fashioned, “religious” terms. But the Bible clearly divides all people into one or the other. The blessings of righteousness are clearly pronounced. The condemnation of wickedness declared without question.

…For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…

Read that list again (lovers of themselves, etc.). There is not one behavior on that list that is not defended today as acceptable, given the right circumstances (relative morality). The whole idea of wickedness is reserved either for the most severe extremes in taboo behavior, or is hypocritically applied to anyone who is “intolerant” or “judgmental” enough to declare that God HAS set an knowable standard of right and wrong (a STANDARD, not a LIST). Just about any “lifestyle” or “personal choice” is considered “nobody’s business” as long as “it doesn’t hurt anyone else”. The only person considered wicked is the person who dares to call anything “sinful”.

In the last days perilous times will come when mankind will have a form of godliness that cohabitates quite comfortably with sin. Those times are no doubt upon us.

Father, we pray for Your strength and guidance in these perilous times. It is becoming harder and harder to stand up for Your truth. We pray for courage as the world grows more wicked every day. Amen.

Contemplation: Do you tolerate a certain level of wickedness in your life? What is your standard of holiness? Other people, or God? Is all of your “Godliness” truly Godly, or just a “form”? How can a person tell?

Application: Wickedness is not relative. God has given us an absolute standard regardless of the world’s standard. Do you know what that standard is?

1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?

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6 thoughts on “Perilous Times

  1. Wow. I don’t think we really comprehend what wickedness truly is, and we certainly go about our daily lives oblivious and somewhat ambivalent to the enormous Spiritual war happening all around us.

    The wolf isn’t at the church door, no, he’s inside preaching.

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  2. Amen Rick! As I read this post, God showed me that those I have attempted to point in right direction at my old church who scoffed at me, insinuating that I had “no right” to speak the truth to them that way, are relativists.
    I run into this “everywhere” and it has always been confusing to me. I would speak the truth. I would attempt to explain doctrine or theology to them and they would have that scoffers look on their face then say something like this, “Well, that is just your opinion.” Opinion! What? How can what the Bible teaches clearly be open to opinion? Then as I read this post, God made it clear to my heart that relativism is simply a compromise between righteousness and wickedness. It is amazing because I find this in nearly all of the “Christians” I work with.
    A preacher who “changes” the gospel so it won’t be offensive is doing this very thing. Yes, the wolf is preaching.
    In Christ
    Mike Ratliff

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  3. Mike:
    Thanks for posting this. I have been reading your blog for a number of weeks. I found it through comments you made at Slice of Laodicea. I really appreciate this post and find it very edifying. These days I often wonder if I am crazy for striving for personal holiness and sound doctrine. It seems that so many in the visible church believe holiness and doctrine doesn’t matter as long as we “love” one another. I have tried to hold former friends, church staff members and family accountable to the Word of God only to be dismissed as an over the edge legalist who limits their freedom in Christ. Such “freedom” often means the right to engage in all manner of sin and pagan worship without any conviction…Grateful for His Grace, Wendy West

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  4. You are very welcome Wendy. No, you are not crazy and I rejoice that you are on the Narrow Path that few find. I fear that the vast majority of confessing Christians, at least in the West, are going to be shocked when they appear before the Lord. Let’s pray for a genuine Revival based entirely on personal holiness, fully submitted to the Lordship of Christ.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

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  5. OKay, so today’s world people have become lovers of themselves….ie: sociopaths, narcissist, etc…….I KNOW I have had to start over too many times and I am only 19, becuase of ex boyfriends lies, turning people against me and I can’t get them to believe ME. haha

    These people who turned on me are supposed christians,,,,,,,always in the church, maybe they haven’t forgiven themselves…….I am trying to move on, I dont’ hate anyone and I know GOd has lead me to where I am.

    Here’s the thing, I now have some really good friends who have defended me, listened to my problems and believed in me. THey are not like me at all. I am a christian, truly, living my life knowing and listening to God daily to guide me and always wondering what God is doing in my life now. My friends do believe in GOd but drink alcohol, my girl friend is a stripper, but she doenst’ go around hurting peopel, she’s nice, considerate, and has had a hard life too. I am a virgin, my friend encourages me to stay that way………I dont’ drink. They dont encourage me to. It seems my actions are enfluencing them more, my boyfriend, who btw is a missionaries son and nephew of a local preacher has stopped drinking now since with me and is not a sociopath like in my past relationships, and my girl friend wants to stop stripping………I know this all sounds so naive and corny, but God has lead me away from those that openly call themselves christians and are in church when the doors are open, i however, go when I feel it and live godly daily……….

    What can you see that GOd may be doing in my life….am I doing wrong by being with people of ill repute???

    THanks kassie

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