An Appearance of Godliness: Case Studies in Evil – Part 4

This series has the subtitle, Case Studies in Evil. The theme comes from Paul’s words to Timothy – 2 Timothy 3:5 ESV  having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. It is now time to begin our examination of these case studies. They are cases of evil being embodied behind “an appearance of godliness.”  They are evil ones we have met wearing the facade of saintliness. We had best look at the verses once again:

2 Timothy 3:1-5 ESV  But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.  (2)  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  (3)  heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good,  (4)  treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,  (5)  having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

There will be difficult times in the last days – the days in which we live, the days before Christ returns. The church age in other words. And what we might initially conclude is that this era is difficult because of all the evil that is in the world. Evil such as Paul lists here in verses 2-4. But here is the vital point to get hold of – our primary difficulty doesn’t come from without, it comes from within. That is to say, these people who are so evil and who cause true believers to suffer so much trouble, are people with an appearance of godliness. That is to say, they are counterfeits. They are fake Christians. And notice this as well –

2 Timothy 3:6-7 ESV  For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions,  (7)  always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

This is what these creeps do. They seek out weak people to deceive. I don’t fully understand the weak people Paul describes briefly here. He says, “weak women,” who are “burdened with sins and led astray by various passions.” He also points out that these targets of the evil creeps are not firmly grounded in truth. Does Paul use “weak women” as a figure of speech for professing Christians who are easily deceived due to their going “to and fro” in respect to the truth? I am not sure. But I do know this – the wicked creep in among us and go to work deceiving others. And these deceivers are cloaked in an appearance of godliness. This is the source of the difficult times Christ’s true people experience. We have to be constantly vigilant and we are going to have to do battle with these kind.

Alright then, let’s begin our look at these enemies fleshed out in real time. Let’s talk about Dave.

Continue reading “An Appearance of Godliness: Case Studies in Evil – Part 4”

An Appearance of Godliness: Case Studies in Evil (Part 2)

2 Timothy 3:1-5 ESV  But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.  (2)  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  (3)  heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good,  (4)  treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,  (5)  having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

This is the second installment in this series – which is going to have quite a few installments before we are finished. As I mentioned last time, my intent is to end up compiling these posts, including many of your comments and insights, into a book by the same title – An Appearance of Godliness.

The Apostle Paul warns us here that the last days, that is, the church age in which we live and which will terminate with the return of Christ, is not going to be an easy time for Christ’s true people to live in. There will come times of difficulty.  But the difficulties Paul had in mind are not things like economic downturns, pandemics, car crashes, or broken water lines. No.

Continue reading “An Appearance of Godliness: Case Studies in Evil (Part 2)”

Judgment of the Wicked is Part of the Gospel

1 Timothy 1:8-11 ESV  Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully,  (9)  understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers,  (10)  the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,  (11)  in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

What is the gospel? Most professing Christians would say that it is a simple, short sentence. Something like: “Jesus died for your sins on the cross and if you believe in Him as your Savior, you will go to heaven.”

But I can remember, even many years ago, wrestling with this question – “just what is the gospel?”  And I can tell you that the answer cannot be condensed down into 25 words or less.

Continue reading “Judgment of the Wicked is Part of the Gospel”