These days, we are continually faced with the degrading state of human society. In all areas of human interaction there seems to be nothing but corruption, treachery, debauchery, strife, and suffering. Situations such as the corruption in Atlanta Public Schools; the 190 arrests just made in Savannah following St. Patrick’s Day; the greed that led to our current economic crisis; and the turmoil, suffering, and disasters occurring all around the world are but a small sampling of the effects brought about by the growing state of unrighteousness in the earth. The world, now more than ever, is characterized by theft, greed, spying, sabotage, lies, deception, debauchery and manipulation—as well as oppression directed against those who belong to the Lord. Indeed, as Paul wrote, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” It is important, however, for believers, in witnessing and facing these things, to also examine themselves and keep themselves holy, for many who call themselves Christian are guilty of the same wickedness. Such a situation must not be.
Indeed, the condition of the world today was foretold in the Scriptures, for in his second letter to Timothy, Paul wrote, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” But why do I say that believers must examine themselves? “You, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?” Though these verses from Romans were directed at Jews, they apply to believers all the same. Many who claim to belong to Christ allow themselves to lie, steal, deceive, sabotage and disenfranchise others, discriminate, and participate in the sins of the wicked. Remember, “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers.” As believers, we are never to abandon righteousness because of the influence of the culture around us—no matter how depraved it becomes. When faced with such a wicked and sinful age, we must recall Jesus’ words in Matthew 24: “The one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” How do we stand firm? As Paul wrote, “Continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of”; “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Most importantly, “Come to your senses, behave properly, and leave sin alone; there are some of you who seem not to know God at all; you should be ashamed.” The salt of the earth must not lose its saltiness.
2 Timothy 3:12-13—NIV
2 Timothy 3:1-5—NIV
2 Timothy 3:14a—NIV
1 Corinthians 15:34—The Jerusalem Bible
See Matthew 5:13—NIV