We are living in perilous times. School shootings are increasing at an alarming pace. Murder is a nightly occurrence. Fornication is perhaps at the highest it has ever been. Profanity is heard on the streets, in restaurants, on television and almost everywhere you go. The way folks dress, the language we hear, the lifestyle of many all point to the fact that morality is almost a thing of the past with many. The murder of the unborn continues daily, and folks say little. We are living in a time much like that expressed at the end of the book of Judges: “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judg. 21:25).
As bad as it is, we should not be surprised. The Holy Spirit, through Paul, told us what our world would be like. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (II Tim. 3:1-5). As you read these inspired words, does this not sound like our world?
As Christians, what should be our response to these things? What should we do? For one thing, we should be standing out as different from those of the world. Paul wrote, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:1-2).
Instead of “fitting in” by conforming to the world’s standards, we are to be different. Jesus says that we are to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). Later, the apostle Paul, speaking by inspiration, speaks of the world we live in and writes, “Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain” (Phil. 2:14-16).
We “hold forth the word of life” in at least two ways. One is by living in accordance with its teaching: “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ” (Phil. 1:27). Two, by teaching and preaching it. “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine” (II Tim. 4:2). So let each of us determine to live for Him who died for us, and continue to teach the Gospel. And whatever we do, “let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
Paul M. Wilmoth