by Wayne Barber
The people who are the most harsh towards those who seek to live godly lives are religious people who have chosen not to yield to Christ. In our last article we addressed several characteristics of these people who wear their religious masks, as described in 2 Timothy. Let's pick up from where we left off.
The last characteristic was arrogance. They will be "revilers." One of the ways to make themselves look good is to revile those who are seeking to live right before God. The word is blásphemos. Meaning to blaspheme. These proud, boastful, lovers of themselves and their pocketbooks will be the ones to "revile" us. They will speak evil of us. They will make up lies about us to cause us harm.
An interesting characteristic of these people is that their children are a disgrace, "disobedient to parents": The Greek is "apeitheâs"-without a willingness to be persuaded. The arrogant and boastful parents will reap what they have sown.
Then, those who wear religious masks are "ungrateful"- acháristos, without gratitude. They feel they deserve what they want. This leads them to be "unholy"-an interesting word in Greek: ahosios: a (without) and nósias, which refers to outward holiness. It has to do with the body. There is no limitation to what these people will do with their bodies . The way they dress them, the way they use them. Nothing is sacred anymore.
Too, they are "without natural affection": ástorgos: a (without) plus storgos which identifies the bond between mother and child. Do you ever wonder how a mother could abort a child that is a part of her? If ástorgos is present, that answers that question. They are "irreconcilable." The word is áspondos, meaning a person who is without any hope of ever conceding an argument. He is right and that is it. There will be no discussion with this type of person.
They are "malicious gossips"-and this word may surprise you: It is diábolos, the great divider. These people will divide the most intimate of friends. They are akpárte, "without self-control." They are like a snowball going down a steep hill; they are powerless to stop. Because of this they are "brutal." The Greek means like an untamed animal. They are dangerous.
They are also "despisers of good"-aphilágathos: literally, without love for good. They despise anything that might be good for others. They are "traitors": prodótes, which means to give over into the enemies' hands. This certainly draws a picture for us. But it gets worse.
They are "reckless." The Greek means "to stumble forward." They are always stumbling forward in reckless abandon. Further, they are "conceited." The Greek is tuphóo, meaning "to blow smoke." In other words, to wrap oneself in the cloud of his own opinion. They are also "lovers of pleasure": phileâdonos, from phílos, indicating emotional attachment to something, and hedone, the pleasing of oneself. They love pleasing themselves. Look at the last phrase: "lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…." They have made a conscious choice.
Again, who are these people? They must be in the world! I don't think so! I think that they are in the church: Lost members of churches who have chosen to love themselves.
Wayne, how can you say that? Easy! Look at the next verse.(v. 5): "holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these." The phrase "holding to a form of godliness," is to me the key. The pagan world doesn't care about this. These people are religious, but they have denied its power. They are in every church.
The word "denied" also has the meaning of "refused." Paul says we should avoid such men as these. The word "avoid" means to turn away from them.