2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
There is much talk these “last” days about the anticipated rapture of the church. What do I mean by “last”? Following our key verse (2 Timothy 3:1) is a detailed description of men’s character in the “last days”. Some of the traits include lovers of their own selves; covetous; boasters; proud; blasphemers; disobedient to parents; unthankful; unholy; without natural affection; incontinent; fierce; despisers of those that are good; high minded; lovers of pleasure; etc. Indeed, I think we all can agree we are in the last days.
Considering these character traits that pervade 21st century humanity, the logical question is: “Is Satan winning?”. As far as the eye can see and the ear can hear, it sure looks like it. Indeed, as noted in our poem, the world is “awash in sinning”; and, it seems to be escalating day by day.
Much blood has been shed by saints over the ages at the hand of “despisers of those that are good”. Foxes Book of Martyrs bears sad testimony to countless horrible atrocities against saints of the past. Christians are still being persecuted as documented by current day publications such as The Voice of the Martyrs. Jesus said the world would hate us because it hates Him. We are not to be surprised, and we are not to think there will be a solution outside of Jesus’ second coming. As a matter of fact, the Bible is clear that it is going to get worse.
In light of these things, it is not surprising that Christians could have a longing that the Lord would just take them on home to be with Him in heaven. But, that’s not God’s plan. Jesus prayed in John 17:15 that He was not asking the Father to take the disciples out of the world, but that they would be kept from the evil of the world. (See Monday’s devotional.)
So, my Christian friend, how are we to endure this present age? There’s only one answer…. run to Christ. Have sweet fellowship with Him. It’s only then that we’ll get the comfort we need and the armor for the spiritual warfare. (Ephesians 6:10-17) In the end, the last enemy, death will be defeated, and Satan will be cast into the Lake of Fire. But that’s not now. For now, we are to cling to Christ, have sweet communion with Him, fight the good fight, and finish the course (1 Timothy 6:12) When we suffer, let us “rejoice, inasmuch as ye (we) are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” (1 Peter 4:13) I like the way John Bunyan in The Pilgrim’s Progress portrays what followed Faithful’s martyrdom at the hand of wicked men in Vanity Fair: “Now I saw that there stood behind the multitude a chariot and a couple of horses, waiting for Faithful, who (as soon as his adversaries had dispatched him) was taken up into it, and straightway was carried up through the clouds, with the sound of the trumpet, the nearest way to the Celestial Gate.” Saints, heaven is our sure, eternal, blessed inheritance! (1 Peter 1:3-4) Praise to the Lord!