God Always Warns Before Judgment By Grant Phillips When I was growing up, I always…
By Grant Phillips
What parent has not heard those two words screamed from the youthful lungs of a two-year-old. The sound hits the adult at the base of the spine and shoots upward to the base of the neck. As the screams continue, the adult brain is sent into overload. If it doesn’t stop soon, the adult brain goes into headache mode. Where’s the aspirin?
The apostle Paul, writing from a Roman prison, wrote his final letter (2 Timothy) to his protégé Timothy. In the third chapter of our Bible, he informed Timothy of how people would behave in the last days just prior to our Lord’s return.
“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, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but it pretty much runs the gamut of mankind’s characteristics in these last days. In just these five verses Paul list nineteen characteristics. Of the nineteen, I can relate at least ten characteristics to the two-year-old mentioned above.
Lovers of themselves:
Let face it. Children are sweet little cuddly blessings from God, but they are also very “Me” oriented. They are totally absorbed in their own little world.
Disobedient to parents:
What parent in their right mind would want their child fighting over a toy? So obviously, children are not being obedient to their parents when they are selfishly clinging to something they don’t want to share.
I’ve seen children fighting over a toy when they have a room full of other toys to play with.
Sorry parents, your little darling doesn’t walk around wearing a halo.
Little ones can be very unforgiving, but at least children will reconcile quickly with a playmate if they’ve had a squabble.
Children have little self-control because it’s something they must learn. Their natural reaction is without self-control.
Children can be very brutal if they are not taught self-control. They will pick up anything that is handy and lash out.
Again, it goes back to training. They must learn patience and that they can’t have everything their own way. (Proverbs 22:6)
Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God:
Children would much rather be involved in their imaginative little world, but hey … they’re children!
Having a form of godliness but denying its power:
That innocent little face you behold sleeping can turn into a little monster when they want their way.
Now I may have some folks upset at this point, and that’s okay, because the whole point I’m driving at is…Children have an excuse! They are children! They are innocent! They must develop! They must be trained!
Paul isn’t referring to children in our Scripture passage above. Paul is talking about adults! Adults are those who have grown up physically. They are no longer two-year-old’s playing with toys. They should be emotionally mature, but that is getting to be a rarity these days.
We in the 21st century live in a very selfish, ego-driven society. Regardless of race, sex, age, education, wealth (or lack thereof), environment, social status, or anything else, this sin-indwelt sickness effects all.
Our main problem today is that people in general have little to no desire to know the one and only true God. Another problem is sloppy parenting from past generations that has produced a whole generation of adults who have never grown up emotionally and especially spiritually. They are spoiled brats in adult bodies. In other words, they are adults acting like little two-year-olds. Little children have an excuse, but grown adults should not be acting like two-year-olds.
All of the nineteen attributes Paul listed are alive and well in the majority of our society today. Don’t think so? Just take each item Paul mentioned, then look around you. Our society has become a train wreck. We need desperately to call out to God and seek His forgiveness. Lost sinners need to be saved, and saved sinners need to mature spiritually. Clearly, we need to repent (change our mind about the path we’re on).
I like the way the King James Study Bible by Nelson defines the word “repent.” It is clear and precise.
Repent (Gr. metanoeo) means a change of mind that results in a change of conduct. Repentance is not merely sorrow. It involves a complete change of attitude regarding God and sin and is often accompanied by a sense of sorrow and a corresponding change in conduct. Such repentance does not arise within man himself, but is the result of God’s mercy in leading man to it (cf. Acts 5:31; Rom. 2:4; 2 Tim. 2:25). Thus repentance involves the very process of conversion whereby men are born again. [The King James Study Bible by Nelson; page 1409; Matthew 3:2 note]
Our society as a whole is corrupt, but the only thing that can change the path we are on is a change of heart. However, the heart cannot be changed without true repentance, and repentance of any kind is of no avail without calling upon Jesus Christ to save us and make us His own. Otherwise, all we can expect is the judgment of God upon our head.
As a society, there is not a sin that can be mentioned that we do not commit and refuse to forsake. We are carbon copies of the societies of Noah and Lot’s days. We, as a society, think we are getting by with it because judgment has not come …yet, but justice delayed is not justice averted.
When I was a child and my parents said, “Just wait ‘til we get home,” I knew exactly what they meant, and they, much to my disappointment, never forgot. There is a seven-year period of time coming upon this world commonly called the Tribulation. This period of time is for God to bring Israel back to Himself and to judge the nations (the world). It is coming. The stage is set. All that is needed at this point is for God to pull the curtain back and judgment will begin.
This seven-year period of time will be the scariest this world has ever seen. God has said in His Word that it is coming, and neither does He forget. Jesus Himself made it clear that no one in their right mind would want to want to experience this time of judgment.
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” (Matthew 24:21-22)
Little children are innocent in so many ways, even in their shortcomings, and God does not hold them responsible. The same cannot be said of adults. God does hold every adult responsible, but there is one, and only one, way to avoid His wrath. Jesus paid our debt to God and took His wrath upon Himself for all who will put their faith in Him.
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)
Jesus said, “…I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
Our sins bring nothing but death and judgment, but in Jesus we can have forgiveness and eternal life.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
Little two-year-olds are innocent until they reach a point of accountability with God. As for adults, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” (Romans 13:14)