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Unveling Religious Mask: Form Without Power & Godliness


Denying its power!

This is really good.  I don’t have much to say.  It’s a litmus test for the heart, including mine, to see if we’re merely having the appearance of godliness, but denying the power of the Gospel in heart and life. The form does not matter if the heart and the power is not there.   I’ll let God speak to you through John Piper.

2 Timothy 3.

“In verses 2–5 Paul lists 19 examples of the kind of evil people who will populate the last times — the now times — and worse at the end of the end. I’m going to do what I encourage you to do. I’m going to read the list and add my brief description of what I think each one means. The aim of a list like this is not to grovel in evil or gloat over others or savor indictments. The aim is to understand the untrue and varieties of evil and to spot these things in ourselves and others with a view to overcoming them and avoiding them.

Verse 2: “For people will be lovers of self (narcissistic),

lovers of money (materialistic),

proud (loving to draw attention to their accomplishments),

arrogant (with an inflated view of self),

abusive (wanting to be verbally hurtful),

disobedient to their parents (having a rebellious spirit),

ungrateful (assuming that they have a right to the things they get),

unholy (indifferent to the attitudes and acts that reflect the value of Jesus),

heartless (unable to sympathize or empathize),

unappeasable (unwilling to forgive),

slanderous (devilishly distorting what other say and do),

without self-control (a slave to their appetites),

brutal (dead to all tenderness),

not loving good (unable to see and savor moral beauty),

treacherous (breaking promises for their own advantage),

reckless (craving admiration for taking risks),

swollen with conceit (blind to the ugliness of self-preoccupation and the beauty of admiring others),

lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (finding more satisfaction in physical titillation than in the divine admiration),

having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power (using religion for personal gain without treasuring Christ above all).” (2 Timothy 3:2–5).

You can tell that Paul knows he is in the last days because he begins in verse 1–2 by saying that these are the kinds of people that come in the last days, and he ends the list in verse 5 by saying to Timothy, “Avoid such people.”  They are there.  Not just coming, but present. And so they are today.

When he says “Avoid them,” he doesn’t mean never talk to them.  In 2 Timothy 4:5 he tells Timothy “Do the work of an evangelist.”  Talk to unbelievers. Instead he means: Don’t hang out with them month after month as though they’re not in trouble.

But the sheer fact that Paul gives such a long list of evils shows that he had seen a lot of evil in his day.  And he had thought a lot about the way sin ravages human life.  You will see a lot, too.  Think deeply about what you see. Grieve. Pray. Care. Cherish the gospel that saves you and speak it to the perishing.  And pursue holiness which pleases the Lord.” (The specifics of evil @ Desiring God).

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