A Critical Appraisal of Our Times
by Charles R. Swindoll
Need a picture of just how hopeless and empty society really is? Just glance over 2 Timothy 3. Within the first thirteen verses, I find three undeniable descriptions of our world: difficult, depraved, and deceived.
The first verse refers to our times as "difficult." One version renders the word perilous (KJV). Another translates it terrible (NIV). The Greek root word means "grievous, harsh, fierce, savage." It is used only one other time in the New Testament. In Matthew 8:28, it appears when the writer describes two men with demons as being "extremely violent." What an apt description of our world! Savage, harsh, violent. If you question that, if you need proof that that is no exaggeration, check this morning's news on the Web or listen to the evening news. Both will convince you our "village" is in desperate straits.
Further in the passage, we read of two men from the days of Moses as representatives of people in these "difficult" times. "Depraved" is the word to describe them (2 Timothy 3:8). It means humanity is as bad off spiritually as it can possibly be. Dead toward God. Unmoved by anything spiritual. Hard-hearted and dark within. Depravity is a universal disease in society. And we are reaping what we have sowed.
Now let's look at the third descriptive term. It will not surprise you to read these words: "But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived" (3:13). The last word is the one to notice: "deceived."
Remember yesterday's post, titled "Keeper of the Spring," and the necessity to keep the village spring clean? Today's "village" is a place where impostors flourish. Rip-off experts flood every profession. Religious charlatans are here as well. Many politicians speak smoothly from both sides of their mouths. No one can deny the phony-baloney facade of ads and fads. And Scripture is right; society proceeds "from bad to worse." Remove "the spring" of life from the village—take away the salt and the light—and within a brief time, "the village" becomes a diseased cesspool of contamination.
Technically, there can be only one "keeper of the spring": Jesus Christ, the Lord. But we, His servants, His representative ambassadors, have been commissioned to carry on until His return. We, His servants, are assigned to the task. But how can the job be done? We'll talk about that in the posts to come.
Excerpted from Improving Your Serve: The Art of Unselfish Living, Copyright © 1981 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.
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