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”