Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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February 16th, 2012 – Opposition to the Truth

“For among them are those who creep into households and lead captive silly women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith.   But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.” 2 Tim. 3:6-9

Devotional Thought For The Day

This is a continuation of Paul’s description of the nature and character of people opposed to the truth in the “last days,” when “there will come times of difficulty.” [2 Tim. 3:1] It is a predictive description of the kinds of opposition true pastors and teachers will face within the church. In the preceding verses Paul warns us that “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.”  His advice is clear: “Avoid such people.” [2 Tim. 3:2-5]

The difficulty that we have is not with the people like this who are outside of the church, but rather with those who are inside of the church – who have either infiltrated or have morphed into this through the years while “nominally” members of the church. These we have difficulty “avoiding,” as they are sometimes “prominent” members who insist upon participating in the life of the church – indeed, being “proud, arrogant, lovers of self, swollen with conceit,” they are eager to don “the appearance of godliness” and actually control the church. They are eager to give the appearance of “always learning,” but regretfully they are “never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.” Teaching them is futile, try as we may. Thank God that “they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all” – except to the “silly women” they are able to lead captive. So they continue to create “times of difficulty” with their opposition to the truth. Paul’s judgment is clear on these people, that they are “corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith.”

The great “difficulties” that come along with dealing with such people is that they are also “abusive, disobedient to their parents [and other authorities], ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless.” They speak recklessly, revealing their evil hearts and intents. They don’t even realize the abusive nature of their speaking and behavior, how their ingratitude is brutal and heartless. They can’t control the self-revelation of their unholiness and lack of love for what is good – they blurt it right out. Finally, they are “unappeasable” – there is simply no pleasing them, no reconciliation with them, no way to achieve genuine peace and amity, for they truly are “treacherous” – and this is absolutely heartrending for those who truly do love others. This is the opposition that we have to deal with, and though we strive to put the best construction on everything, this is not “loyal and constructive” opposition but rather abusive persecution and enmity against God.

In that these same sinful dynamics continue to percolate in our own hearts and minds, we should pray God that we never fall prey to them and become dominated and controlled by them – and thus “corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith.”  Rather, we should constantly be in repentance for this inner wickedness, humbly begging God to forgive us and keep us from falling away. And when confronted by this “opposition,” we must take care not lower ourselves to wickedness in confronting and fighting it.  We will never completely eradicate it from the church – it is part of the difficulty of the last days predicted by God’s own Word. So also we must take care not to capitulate – this would be conceding and abandoning the truth.  So the opposition and conflict will continue until God resolves it, as He did in the case of Jannes and Jambres in the days of Moses and the exodus from Egypt!

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, it is so sad and depressing to have to observe this wretched opposition to the truth within the church, but this is how it has always been in the “last days,” from the time of the apostle Paul to this day. Help us to bear with this opposition – as treacherous, brutal, and unappeasable as it is. Keep us in humble repentance, far from evil, and firmly resolute to speak the truth in love. Amen.