2 Timothy 3:1–5 (NKJV)
1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
We are called to be set apart from the world, to be the complete opposite in most situations. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 gives us a perfect example of what we should avoid being. Unfortunately, if we spend too much time in the world, these attributes can quickly become our reality. The question we really have to ask is whether or not we have done anything to separate us from the world?
A Quick Warning
Anyone that has lived in this world for any length of time can remember a time where the attributes listed above were fairly uncommon. There was a time when people were humble, not money-hungry, didn’t really boast, and so on. These attitudes have become commonplace in today’s society. The warning comes in Matthew 24:36 where it tells us… (36) “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only… It would be very easy to look at these attitudes and think we are in the last days. We could be, but we could also be very far away, no one knows.
Have you ever bumped up against wet paint? Painters will put up signs to warn people, but inevitably, those not paying attention will bump into it and damage their clothes. The sin of the world is a lot like this. The Lord gives us the Bible as a warning sign that if we get too close to the world, it will stain our walk. The problem with this damage is that it is not always visible instantly. The more we rub up against the world the more susceptible we are to its influence. We start to become lovers of ourselves and money in the name of success. We start to boast and be proud after achieving that success. We start to blaspheme and be disobedient to our heavenly Father. We become unthankful, unholy, unforgiving, without self-control, and despisers of good. Too much time in the world unchecked can lead to a number of problems with our walk.
In this same passage, Paul explains to Timothy what his Christian walk should look like. In 2 Timothy 3:10–11 he explains… (10) But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me… If the world is everything mentioned in verses 1-5, we want to be everything mentioned in verses 10-11. We want to do everything we can do to set ourselves apart from anything worldly.
Why Be Set Apart
We are told why God needs us to be set apart in 2 Timothy 3:17… (17) that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work… God wants us to be complete and thoroughly equipped to do every good work! We are here to do one thing, spread the Gospel. We simply cannot spread God’s word if the attributes in verses 1-5 are attached to our walk. We must be examples to the world, not partakers withing it.
We are to be completely different from the world, set apart for His purpose. We must examine our lives continually to make sure these attributes are not holding us back from our goal of spreading the Gospel.
Romans 12:2 (NKJV)
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.