Imagine making a New Year’s resolution to cut back on excess eating, only to have all our good intentions crumble like powdered donuts at the slightest temptation.
That is apostasy in its purest form.
When we stand before men and declare our religious zeal, only to later lose our faith or, even worse, deny God’s power, apostasy has dug its talons into our souls, and we face dangers we cannot imagine.
In 2 Timothy 3:1-9 Paul bares the evils of apostasy, describing how perilous times will come to the Church in the last days. He also cautions us against apostasy’s insidious advances into our Christian walk.
We live in the day of apostasy right now. The danger signs listed by the apostle Paul will ring true to anyone with a television or Internet connection.
The 1st Danger Sign:
In the last days men will be lovers of themselves, greedy, showoffs, users of swear words, disobedient to parents, unappreciative, and irreverent.
Look at our national sports stars. They are examples to our youth, yet they party to excess, wreck expensive cars, and take no responsibility for their actions. What sort of example have they become?
The 2nd Danger Sign:
There are those who will show unnatural affections; break their promises; be mean, careless, and angry with others; and despise those who try to be good.
Our entertainment industry and the lifestyle it embodies are in this warning. Those in the industry who show Christ’s example are forced into the background, while the limelight is aimed at those who are steeped in the degradations of the world.
The 3rd Danger Sign:
Many in the last days will be traitors, interested in beauty for beauty’s sake, more concerned with high ideals than helping others reach those ideals, and lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.
Observe our lawmakers and politicians. They espouse high moral and financial standards for their constituents, yet when their facemasks are pulled away, we see the leering mockery of men who have hidden their evil deeds in secret.
The 4th Danger Sign:
Many will have a form of Godliness, but they will deny God’s power.
When we attend church for the social benefits, or mouth God’s truth on Sunday only to backstab a business partner on Monday, we deny God’s power. There are no half measures with God. We must not deny the power of the cross.
The 5th Danger Sign:
False teachers will tempt the weak with erroneous teachings.
If we support false teachers because their words “feel good” rather than because they teach the truth, we will be led astray. We must base our faith on the cross and the teachings of Christ Jesus.
The 6th Danger Sign:
Men will not want to find the truth.
They will be shown the truth, and they will choose a different path. Look at the false teachings that have come to the surface in the recent past, from men who claimed themselves prophets to recently created religions based on science. They claim salvation, yet there is no sign of the cross in their teachings.
The 7th Danger Sign:
Men of faith will become corrupt.
When we know the truth, and the truth corrupts us, we become reprobates concerning the faith. When we use the truth to our own ends, twisting God’s plan to benefit ourselves, then we have denied the power of God, and we are in danger of falling away.
What will become of those who fall into apostasy? Those who fall into apostasy will be exposed before all men. The Holy Spirit will allow those who have fallen away to remain in the body for only so long. If we do not realize the error of our ways and return to Christ, we will be rejected and cast out.
We live in the last days, and we must be ever vigilant that we do not stray from the teachings of Christ.
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