Believers living in perilous times
By Merrill Olson
Looking back sixty years, America today is not what it was back then. For people living at that time, they would never have expected this country to become one manifesting “perilous times” (2 Timothy 3:1).
Therefore, the “principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this age, spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places” are very evident (Eph. 6:12). “The rulers of the darkness of this age” may refer to demons who have infiltrated certain political systems of the world. Their purpose is to pattern them after Satan’s realm of darkness. The “spiritual hosts of wickedness” may be those who promote vile and wretched immoralities. These demonic forces foster Satan’s desires and his wicked schemes. They seek to destroy the lives and testimonies of those who follow Christ. This is why we are instructed to “put on the whole armor of God, that [we] may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:11).
Therefore, because we have an understanding of Satan’s realm of darkness, it is clear when the Bible says “in the last days perilous times will come” (2 Timothy 3:1). This includes the time during the first century and Christ’s return. In this interim period, the Word of God predicts that there will be terrible times of societal degeneration. And the apostle Paul gives specific characteristics that believers should expect. He says, “For men [unsaved people] will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanders, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
Degeneration of society is very clear. For instance, people “without self-control” will eventually lose control of one’s life and become a slave to passions and ambitions. We see it happening! “Brutal” is savagery. It is like wild beasts that attack enemies and tear them apart. “Unholy” is a person driven to gratify his or her lusts and passions with no thought of decency or reputation. These characteristics describe people who are under the judgment of God unless they repent and turn to Christ for cleansing and salvation.
The late conservative journalist Charles Krauthammer once said, “We are living at a time when truth doesn’t matter.” We see this in the political arena as many politicians are dishonest and deny the truth because they feel the end justifies the means. They are characterized by what the Bible calls “despisers of good.”
We are experiencing trying times. As the Lord Jesus tarries His coming, those who are “born again” (John 3:3, 7), are called to live obedient lives for Him and to stand on the truth of His Word. This is how we govern our lives!
Merrill Olson served as a senior pastor for thirty-four years. He received a B.S. from Minnesota State University-Mankato, an M. Div. from Bethel Theological Seminary, and a D. Min. from Columbia Evangelical Seminary. He is currently involved as an interim pastor along with a teaching and writing ministry. His emphasis is on apologetics and training believers to defend their faith in Christ from God’s Word. He is well versed in Bible prophecy as it pertains to end times. He is a gifted speaker with the conviction that only by the Word of God can people experience inward transformation by the Holy Spirit. He and his wife, Jan, reside in Minnesota and have two daughters and four delightful grandchildren.