But know this: Hard times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, demeaning, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. 2 Timothy 3:1-5
The days following Jesus’ ascension into heaven are marked by progressive selfishness and moral degeneration. Christians must not be alarmed or discouraged by the breakdown of society. God still is in control and He reigns! Even so, we must strengthen ourselves against the lure of sin and pessimism, continually proclaiming and living the purposes of God. From the text, Paul declared, “But know this: Hard times will come in the last days.” The “last days” is not some future event to which we look. It is now, Jesus Christ initiated this period, and it will continue uninterrupted until His return. Paul defined this extensive time period as “hard times.” Then he proceeded to described what constituted these hard times. God’s extravagant grace will also characterize this era, establishing salvation and expanding His kingdom. But these days will continue to unleash Satan’s wild attempts to destroy and undermine God’s redemptive intentions and it will not relent. In giving us this information, Paul desired that believers maintain a readiness of spirit and to be strong in their resolve to live lives pleasing to God. The battle will rage. What each believer must decide is whether he will prepare for the promised difficulties or continue to be passive giving in to personal safety and comfort. Spiritual decay will become widespread for people will be more lovers of self. As people neglect the spiritual dimension of life, they turn in upon themselves to find meaning and consolation in the face of life’s irrationality. People will turn to false teachers and all those who turn from truth. They would rather hear about their own preference rather than to hear about God’s will. “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear” (2 Timothy 4:3). In this era, people refuse the love of God choosing instead to be lovers of themselves. What God wants from His children is to be more discerning of the times; always using the word of God to test what they hear and see so they could remain strong and firm in their faith. Paul knew that in order for us to remain steadfast in these terrible times is to remain faithful to God. “…continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:14-15).
Noel De Guzman