InTouch.org with Dr. Charles Stanley
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Read | 2 Timothy 3:16-17
“Difficult Times Will Come”
1But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. 6For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, 7always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. 9But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also. 10Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, 11persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! 12Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 13But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
At the cross, the penalty for transgression was paid in full, and sin’s power over us was broken. Nevertheless, we still struggle with ungodliness in our lives. So how can we avoid behaviors that lead to divine discipline?
First, we can pursue God wholeheartedly. As we diligently study the Scriptures and apply them to our lives, we will learn what pleases and displeases Him. Second, we can join an evangelical church and find godly people who will hold us accountable for our actions. Sometimes the right advice is all that is needed to prevent a misstep.
To avoid the necessity of the Lord’s discipline, we can also practice spiritual self-examination. This can be done individually (1 Cor. 11:28) and corporately. Examining our thought life, speech, and actions in light of Scripture uncovers areas of ungodliness. First John 1:9 instructs us to confess our iniquities to the Lord. Genuine confession means to agree with God that His way is right and what we are doing is wrong. Repentance is to follow confession—this involves changing our actions and attitude so they line up with God’s Word.
Because we aren’t perfect, not all discipline can be avoided. When we sin, we need to humble ourselves quickly, admit our wrong behavior, and adjust our ways.
Believers needn’t fear God’s discipline. Our Father never responds to us with wrath or condemnation. His correction may hurt, but it brings great spiritual benefit. We’ll find it easier to avoid pitfalls that lead to divine discipline if we pursue a lifestyle of righteousness and godliness (1 Tim. 6:11).