When difficult times come
“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them...” 2 Timothy 3:1, 12-14 (NASB)
From our text, the Apostle Paul is encouraging Timothy to remain faithful as he faces the coming difficulties. Then, Paul told him what comprises these difficulties. Included in these are the deceptions that will become evident and widespread coming from false teachings that will threaten not only individual believers but the church as a whole. What has been true during the time of Timothy is true of every age. Wrong thinking is rampant today. Paul’s warning and encouragement to Timothy are also what the church needs in our time to be able to withstand the attack of false teaching. There should be strong convictions among believers. Paul told Timothy to remain steadfast on what he learned and had become convince with regarding the truth (v. 14). False teachers can be very convincing as they lure unsuspicious listeners leading them into wrong thinking and confusion, while true teachings will lead to “wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (v. 15). Salvation is by faith in Christ alone and not by good works (Eph. 2:8-9). Good works are the result of having saving faith and not a requirement for one to receive eternal life (Eph. 2:10). God promised that there will be no condemnation for those who belong to Jesus (Romans 8:1). The challenge for us now is to remain strong in our faith and be uncompromising in our belief of the truth of the Gospel. You must not be uncertain in your understanding of who Christ is. There are those that claim Jesus was a good person or perhaps even a prophet, yet the Bible declares that He is fully God made like us and His death alone in the cross would satisfy what was required so that sin’s penalty would be paid in full. “For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17, NIV). Only Jesus, the perfect Son of Man, could meet God’s requirement. That is why Jesus referred to Himself as the “gate” through which one can enter into God’s family. “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved” (John 10:9, NIV). You must have a clear understanding of what the Scripture teaches because this would enable you to distinguish truth from error. Be firmly grounded in your faith so that when times of difficulties come, you will remain strong and steadfast.
Noel De Guzman