"Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived." (2 Timothy 3:12-13)
There is a lot packed into these two verses! Our Lord is truly great in the way He speaks in such depth in so few words!
The verse is connected with a comma and the word "while". It is plain- Christians are going to be persecuted. And persecution is going to happen because evil men and impostors flood the world and the church in ever increasing numbers. So no, it is not your imagination that things are getting worse. It is because they are getting worse.
The verse says evil men "and impostors" will go on. The word impostors is Greek, "goētes". This is translated as "shameless cheat pretending to use supernatural power; an actor (cheap impostor), looking for self-gain, i.e. posing to be someone he isn't...'a charlatan', used only in 2 Tim 3:13, refers to a seducer (properly, a wailer) – a fraud who "sounds off" like a whining enchanter. This person uses their verbal spells and incantations to give the (false) impression they can do miracles."
The entire comment is linked to the description at the start, a long list Paul records for Timothy, and us, to be warned by. He'd mentioned Jannes and Jambres, two of Pharaoh's sorcerers who (for a while) copied God's miracles He performed through Moses. What we should be wary of is the fact that we're being told that these aforementioned evil men are going to use their verbal skills to deceive, and I'm not just talking about the obvious ones like Benny Hinn or Joyce Meyer. Or even Joel Osteen. These were sorcerers who can charm you and deceive you like no others. Remember, the two that Paul mentioned copied God's miracles one for one during the first few plagues! They are powerfully deceptive.
Paul had said that the deceivers are evil. MacArthur wrote, "They are evil. That's poneros, it's used of Satan in Matthew 13:19, they're as malicious and wicked as he is."
OK, so that's pretty evil.
And they are going to get worse and worse. Each individual man will wax worse and worse, and the general deceptions will get worse and worse. Attendant with the deceptions will come persecution.
Barnes Notes explains,
"But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse - That is, it is the character of such men to do this; they may be expected to do it. This is the general law of depravity - that if men are not converted, they are always growing worse, and sinking deeper into iniquity. Their progress will be certain, though it may be gradual, since "nemo repente turpissimus." The connection here is this: that Timothy was not to expect that he would be exempt from persecution 2 Timothy 3:12, by any change for the better in the wicked men referred to. He was to anticipate in them the operation of the general law in regard to bad men and seducers - that they would grow worse and worse. From this fact, he was to regard it as certain that he, as well as others, would be liable to be persecuted. The word rendered "seducers" occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means, properly, a "juggler, or diviner;" and then, a "deceiver, or impostor." Here it refers to those who by seductive arts, lead persons into error."
The Latin phrase 'nemo repente turpissimus' is translated "No man becomes a villain all at once."
And the last part of the verse, 'being deceived" is explained thus by Barnes Notes,
And being deceived - Under delusion themselves. The advocates of error are often themselves as really under deception, as those whom they impose upon. They are often sincere in the belief of error, and then they are under a delusion; or, if they are insincere, they are equally deluded in supposing that they can make error pass for truth before God, or can deceive the Searcher of hearts. The worst victims of delusion are those who attempt to delude others."
These are dangerous times...dangerous times. The closer we come to the time of our Lord's return, the worse men get. And the worse their influence gets and the accumulation of all the lies and false teaching mounts and escalates and we're in dangerous times. And dangerous times call for strong people."
Are you strong? Jesus said in Matthew 12:29
Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house."
You ARE strong! Barnes tells us, "A man could not break into the house of a strong man and take his property unless he had rendered the man himself helpless. If he had taken his goods, it would therefore be sufficient proof that he had bound the man. So I, says he, have taken this "property - this possessed person" - from the dominion of Satan. It is clear proof that I have subdued "Satan himself," the "strong" being that had him in possession."
Jesus is the strong One in you! He has busted satan out of your house (your body) and delivered you from the dominion of darkness! There is no one more strong that Jesus, and it is He that is in you. He is the best,t he top, the most, the superlative among all superlatives. There is no possible way you could be stronger than to rely on the Strong One who is inside you and loves you and made you His child. It is He that is in us who resists satan and overcomes that old serpent. No charms or deceivers can come if you rely on Jesus because even though things on the outside of us go from bad to worse, HE IS ALWAYS THE SAME. (Hebrews 13:8)
Victory in Jesus!
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:57
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