If anyone thinks that this world will get any better, they’re not reading the same Bible I am. Until the day Christ comes back, things will get progressively worse. And that shows most starkly in the ungodliness of the people in this world, even those claiming to be Christians.
And Paul’s words seem more real to me now than they did even ten or twenty years ago. Paul says,
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. (12-13)
Paul doesn’t say that people who want to live a godly life may be persecuted, or could possibly be persecuted. He said they will be persecuted.
Why? Because evil men and false Christians will go from bad to worse. Those who are teachers deceive, teaching things contrary to the Word of God, and those who listen are falling for everything they say.
The result is a more and more corrupt morality and a more and more corrupt world. And with that corruption comes a hatred for anyone that will dare shine the light of God’s word into that darkness. Jesus himself said,
Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. (John 3:20-21)
We see this clearly in the world today. Everything is tolerated…except the Word of God.
Paul in his day experienced that hatred. He reminds Timothy of all that he went through for the sake of the light, and he warns him, “This is not an aberration. It will not only continue, but get worse as people fall further and further into darkness.”
How are we to respond in the face of this darkness? Paul tells us.
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (14-16)
In short, hold on to the truth. Though people may turn from the truth, though people may try to extinguish it by persecuting you, hold on to the truth and keep proclaiming it. Why is it so important to hold on to God’s word?
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (17)
God’s word is our life. And it equips us for every good work that we do in the face of this darkness. It’s the sword that can pierce the heart and banish the darkness in the souls of people.
More, it teaches us what is right, rebukes us when we are wrong, picks us up when we fall, and trains us to be godly. And finally, it gives us the strength to endure anything we go through in this dark world as God himself through his Spirit whispers his words of life into our souls.
Jesus never promised an easy life if we follow him. He said,
In this world you will have trouble. (John 16:33)
If you stand up for the truth, if you shine the light into this dark world, you will find trouble. But continue to hold to the light. Don’t let the darkness extinguish it from your soul. And as Jesus said,
Take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 6:33b)