Thought for the Week - 20th NovemberPastor Gareth Watkins
2 Timothy 3: 1-4
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers,
disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,
traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
This week I want to reflect on perilous times.
In the above verses, Paul starts to speak of perilous times. The descriptions he uses aren’t of things like tsunamis and earthquakes – instead, they are all conditions that are in the heart of a man. When we read up on the meaning of “perilous”, we see it means fierce, savage, painful and hard to deal with. Paul is telling us that these perilous things we will face will be savage, hard to deal with… and there to break us.
Have you ever felt that the times we are living in are hard, painful and savage? Can we say that all these things described by Paul are within us?
I thank God that we can see the truth – that these things are perilous and called to destroy us. They deserve attention and dealing with, for these are the things that outwork and bear fruit later in our lives. If you are any of these things, these things will have a particular effect in your life and the life around you. There comes the perilous times, the difficult times, the savage and hard to deal with times.
But I praise God that He can, and is, dealing with the things that the outworking of would be regarded as perilous, destructive and dangerous. He deals with the human character!
But society is getting worse. We increasingly witness little regard of right or wrong, or God’s judgement. If we look at the church at large, do we see that standards are getting better or worse? I would say the church is losing its sense of judgement before God and doesn’t even recognise the need for repentance! The church at large doesn’t even recognise that people are fundamentally sinful. Where there is sin, there has to be a Saviour, and yet the church can’t even speak of sin. They don’t even come into the realm of being judged.
You can have a peach of beautiful colour and perfect skin. If that peach is left on the work surface for a few weeks, it will deteriorate and need to be thrown out. The peach shows the condition of man… we are naturally bound to be rotten. But He makes us a different person than we would ordinarily be. He deals with those things that Paul calls perilous. It’s a miracle of God! That same corruption that belongs to the peach, belongs to us – but our beauty is under God. Without Him that corruption would come upon us. We need something to stop that corruption and being perilous before God. Our God makes us a brand new creature! We don’t have to live like a peach that is bound to rot.
We read in 2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
God doesn’t just tinker with the old stuff and “cut” the bad bit out of the peach, because that peach will still go bad. He gives us a new being that stops that deterioration and rot appearing! All the sins in that list of perilous things can be broken! Our God can heal us and make us a new creation. God Himself shines his light on things. All things become new! We don’t have to be bound to follow the old sins! The power of Christ when He died on the cross set us free from the track on which we were bound! Don’t let the devil lie to you – you are not bound by the past!
In 2 Peter 3:13 we read that God has not simply taken us on for today:
Nevertheless we, according to His promise,
look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
He’s taken us on unto eternity, where righteousness dwells! This place doesn’t depend on us being “nice” or “good”, it depends upon His goodness and His righteousness. It’s a place where sin is not! All the chaos of life will have gone, and there will be a new heaven and a new earth where righteousness dwells.
Keep your eyes firmly on this. When all of life gets chaotic, when we feel fearful, keep your eyes on that place that He has prepared for you. Hold onto God’s word. Go into a place where sin is banished. God hasn’t finished with mankind! He is still working!
If you are going through perilous times, remember that God will steady His own ark. It’s up to us to stay faithful. Where He steadies that ark, God will come. As it was with Noah, we see that safety, peace and security follows.