The Ugliness of Sin
The Ugliness of Sin
As Paul ends his last writing (2 Timothy), he again makes a list of the ungodliness that is prevalent in this world. He had made such a list in Romans 1 as he described the world and its ways. There he shows why the wrath of God was to be righteously displayed upon the ungodly. In 1 Timothy 1 he makes another list showing the need for God’s law. The law did show the difference between what was acceptable to God and that which was opposed to godliness. In Galatians 5 Paul makes another list contrasting the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul spoke of the differences between their lives before they became Christians and their lives that they now lived.
In all of these, there is a graphic difference. The world is the world. The ways of man have led away from godliness and righteousness. As in the days of Noah, the whole world often seems to have their mind upon evil and that continually. As in the days of the judges, men are determined to do that ‘which is right in their own eyes’ and ignore the moral guidance of God. Such action leads to the same decadence of society that you see in the book of Judges. No matter how many times we multiply these lists and warnings, men continue to reject God and seek out their own ways.
In 2 Tim. 3 the list begins forcefully with ‘lovers of self’. When God is replaced with self there is no end of trouble. It is of little wonder that Jesus said one must ‘deny self’ in order to come back to God. Clear back in Isaiah’s day God had said: “Let the wicked forsake HIS way” … That is the beginning of our return. The prodigal son had to ‘come to himself’ and see that HIS way led only to ruin and problems.
Yet, it is also a puzzling reality that such evil is often accompanied by a form of religion. Whether it be the idolatry of Romans 1 or the ‘form of godliness’ as here in 2 Tim. 3, people need to feel good about themselves even while they are doing that which is wrong. They don’t give up ‘religion’; they just take it upon themselves to define it. Their religion is not from God but from self. Having itching ears they accumulate unto themselves those who will teach what they want to hear and not what God said.
As we live 2000 years after Paul wrote this, we are still observing the same situation. Jesus came to save us from ‘this untoward generation’ (Acts 2:40). We are to be as lights shining in a wicked world (Phil. 2:15). The warning for each generation is to not be conformed to the world (Rom. 12:1-3). We are different. We are God’s people, let us live as godly people.