It seems as if everywhere we turn we observe that the culture is becoming more and more secular. Secularization is defined as, ‘the transformation of a society from close identification with religious values and institutions toward nonreligious values and secular institutions. The secularization thesis refers to the belief that as societies progress, particularly through modernization and rationalization, religion loses its authority in all aspects of social life and governance.’
As believers we have observed this transformation of culture in media, government, education, science, entertainment, family and sadly even in the Church. The feeling of being ‘marginalized’ as Bible believing Christians is real and corresponds to reality of what is happening around us. The Biblical world view is being silenced by the ‘cultural elites’.
Even among ‘Evangelical Christians’ the absolute moral authority of the Bible is simply given lip service to and no longer believed and lived out. Many evangelicals today are embracing the sexual revolution as normative and creatively finding ways to justify this from scripturally. It can lead those who hold to the absolute inspiration and authority of Holy Scripture to be discouraged and despondent when they see both the Church and the culture declining into moral insanity and not willing to embrace the Truth of God’s Word.
However we can find hope and direction in God’s Word for these difficult days. In 2 Timothy 3 Paul describes what is happening in our present day and the proper response for believers.
In 2 Timothy 3:1-9 Paul notes the downward spiral of the Church and culture similar to what is occurring before our eyes. The root of what we are observing is the sinfulness of humanity unleashed: humanity wanting to be god, wanting self as the center of the universe, wanting religion that keeps selected truths of God’s Word out of the belief system.
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. Avoid such people. ~ 2 Timothy 3:1–5
True believers can’t have true oneness and fellowship with this kind of mindset and priority. However we are called on to respond in love. We are to love our neighbors as ourselves. We are to love those who oppose us. This love is not sentiment but intentional actions with the Word of God. We are to speak the Truth in love.
Paul’s answer to the decay he describes in verses 1-9 is followed by an admonition to hold fast as believers to the Word of God and to share, preach, teach, and announce God’s Word to the secular culture and the Church. The reason we must do this is due to the nature of God’s Word. It is divinely powerful, authoritative, and able to save and transform. God’s Word is the medicine for a secular culture and church.
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. ~ 2 Timothy 3:14–17
A clear and loving communication of God’s Word is the method that God uses to change people’s minds and hearts from self serving to God glorifying.
This passage also mentions that there will be difficulty, persecution and hostility to our overtures of God’s Word. But we must remain convinced, steadfast and true to the only Truth that matters—God’s Truth.
Do we trust in what God says about His Word?
- Psalm 19:7-10: That it revives, gives wisdom, produces joy, enlightens the mind and is true and righteous
- Hebrews 4:12: That it is alive and active, able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart
- Romans 10:17: That faith comes from hearing the Word of Christ.
Let us pray for one another that we will be courageous, loving, as we listen to and dialogue with the secularists and wayward believers; praying that as we share God’s Word it will have impact on their souls.