2 Timothy is the last book that the Apostle Paul wrote. In it, he prepares young Timothy, and us, with knowledge for living a faithful life for Christ in his absence. We read of Paul’s encouragement to us in 2 Timothy 2:1-2, “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”

Paul also gives us strong warnings as in 2 Timothy 3:1-7, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

Without a doubt, we are living in the ‘last days’ of the church age that Paul was speaking of. Soon, the church will hear a shout and the blast of a trumpet and be called to meet the Lord in the air. We read about this in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

While we wait for the Lord, we need to be cautious because we are living in ‘perilous times’. 2 Timothy 3:1-7 describes the character of many people living today. After describing the sinful characteristics of these people, Paul goes on to say that they have ‘a form of godliness’. These people will keep up an outward show of being Christians, but their behavior will give them away. They are lovers of themselves; they are liars; they hate those that do good and they are traitors. While they may be able to ‘say the right words’, there is no power of God in their lives to give power to their words. They are living a lie and will be able to fool many people, but they cannot fool the Lord. We read of such people in Matthew 7:22-23, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

We are warned to ‘turn away’ from these people. They may already be in our local churches. They may, because of their ‘form of godliness’ serve in leadership capacities. We are called upon to judge their behavior and character. If we, being led of the Lord, identify them as those who only have a ‘form of godliness’, but are living in sin, we are to ‘turn away’ or have no fellowship with these false professors. Why are we to turn away from these people? Because we will learn nothing from these people; we have no true common ground with them; they will only harm us if we allow them to continue to function. It is such an unpopular thought today that we should actually ‘judge’ someone, but we are exhorted in 1 Corinthians 5:12, “…do not ye judge them that are within?” Let us all be cautious towards those that say godly things, but live ungodly lives. (169.8)