Bible Reading Blog

Bible Reading Blog

“Continue in Faith”

Categories: Congregational Bible Reading

BIBLE READING: 2 Timothy 3

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” (2 Timothy 3.1-5)

I doubt Timothy was unaware of these difficulties. This has always been the way of the world [3.8]. But Paul’s warning wasn’t just a PSA. Living in a sinful world can make one frustrated, and worse, apathetic. When it’s everywhere, it can cause one to retreat, to question, to avoid dealing with it altogether.

Paul’s encouragement to Timothy was simple: “continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it” (3.14). Many things will change but the gospel will not. Continue in it. Challenging times will come for your faith, even persecution. Don’t shrink back. Keep your mind firm and fixed on what you know is right. And remember who it comes from. The word of God is not from man and the gospel is not about what we have done. It is God’s message about what God has done and it calls us to better things. The world offers that but falls miserably short. God has worked and is working for your good. Continue in that knowing that God is faithful and will not change.

As Timothy matured, I’m sure he changed his mind about a thing or two and made many changes to his lifestyle to become more godly. But one thing Paul encouraged him not to change was his faith, informed by the “sacred writings which made him wise for salvation” (3.15). If he would continue in these things, he would be “complete, equipped for every good work” (3.16)

The gospel is not complicated but the world and its desires are a present force for everyone. In fact, 2 Timothy 3.1-5 sounds a lot like our world. Culture’s moral boundaries are constantly moved to accommodate agendas. It seems each generation is becoming increasingly desensitized to absurd and blatant sin. We are not unaware of this degeneration, but we can easily become numb to its effect on our faith.

We need to practice faith that endures. To do that, faith must not only be active, but persistent. We must pray in every circumstance and without ceasing (James 5.13-18; 1 Thessalonians 5.17). We must pursue godliness and fight against sin (1 Timothy 6.11-12). We must engage other believers to encourage and comfort (1 Thessalonians 3). We know this but are we set on doing them?

We need regular exhortations to get after it. We must not be lazy or apathetic, but must daily engage life with actions of faith. Only then will we realize the power of Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians: “and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father…” (1 Thessalonians 3.12-13a).