1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.
2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant,
abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,
3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good,
4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak
women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions,
7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.
8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose
the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith.
9 But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that
each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body,
whether good or evil.
11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord,
we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is
known also to your conscience.
12 We are not commending ourselves
to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be
able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about
what is in the heart.
13 And you, who were
dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made
alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,
14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and
drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.
17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.
18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of
angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by
his sensuous mind,
19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom
the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and
ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
20 If with Christ
you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were
still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations--
21 "Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch"
22 (referring to things that all perish as they are used)--according to human precepts and teachings?
23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made
religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no
value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.
the “appearance of godliness” is listed with all kind of unrighteous
behaviors. Paul is speaking about himself and his companions in ministry
throughout 2 Corinthians. Men have turned it into neo-legalisms to
gain or lose salvation by, ignoring both context and content.
is an old British television comedy called “Keeping Up Appearances”. The
main character, Hyacinth Bucket (bouquet as she would say) wears
herself (and everyone around her) out trying to be something she is not.
The show is funny because it’s true of all mankind. It is sadly both
affliction and epidemic in today’s professing evangelicalism. Then again
it has always been a problem else Paul would not be addressing it.
The rulers and authorities disarmed by the Father through the crucified
Son in Colossians 2 are, in context, the religious leaders of the day.
By His death we are no longer under the Law and its curse so that those
who would feel the need to enforce the law and apply it to the Gospel,
have had their weaponry made ineffective.
This fits right in the
narrative of Rev 12 and 13 with the dragon, the accuser of the
brothers, being cast down from before the throne, as Christ, who has
accomplished everything regarding both the justification and
sanctification of the saints, is now seated at the right hand, and there
is no longer any room for Satan and his angels to rail against the
elect as he did before God in the story of Job. The dragon then hands
all of his power to the beast which represents not just the political
and economic systems of men, but also the systems of false religion,
(which includes westernized christianity). This was taking place in
John’s day when he wrote the book, and so has continued into our times.
Satan wages war on the saints through the beast. The false doctrines of
sinless perfection, progressive sanctification, and all other aberrant
”holiness” teachings are disarmed through Christ alone by grace alone,
to the glory of the Father alone. This is the battle the saints of God
are engaged in.
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the
knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. (2 Cor 11:3-15)
15 If anyone stirs up strife, it is not from me; whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you.
16 Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and
produces a weapon for its purpose. I have also created the ravager to
17 no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed,
and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment.
This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication
from me, declares the LORD."
13 For even those
who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to
have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh.
14 But far
be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by
which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
15 For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.
16 And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
What the visible professing church has forgotten in its charge against
that which is unrighteous, i.e. sin, is the fact that all
self-righteousness is unrighteousness. (Luke 18:10-14)