Conduct for the Last Days

by A.E. Knoch

Perilous is the present period in which we are living, for these are the last days (2 Tim.3:1). God has graciously granted us special instructions for this era, written by our apostle Paul in his last days (2 Tim.4:6,7). We are called upon to suffer evil. The saints will turn away from Paul, and will not tolerate sound teaching. This, of course, is true of apostate, unbelieving Christendom, but it is not written of them, but of the saints, those who turned to Paul before they turned away from him.

So impressed was I with God's grace in this administration that I tried to have fellowship with my calumniators and adversaries, hoping thus to win them and help them. I did not realize that this was not God's way in grace. I should have seen that, since He had foretold their conduct so long ago, it is the fulfillment of His intention and will glorify His grace in the future, rather than mine at present. I disobeyed His charge to shun them (2 Tim.3:6), not seeing that this is His way of being gracious to them, and will fulfill His purpose for them.

Others, who wish to exemplify grace in these last days, are similarly inclined. These I would counsel to consider Paul's epistles to Timothy and Titus. In these dark days, when most of the saints harbor much traditionary discordant teaching, it is difficult to have fellowship only with those who are fully agreed as to doctrine. And, indeed, that is not required, except in severe cases, which undermine the faith. But we can confine our contacts to those not guilty of the moral lapse which characterize the last days (2 Tim.3:1-5). These we should shun. Moreover, we should shun such conduct ourselves.

As in Paul's day, there are many adversaries. But we do not wrestle with blood and flesh, but recognize our real enemies in the spirit sphere, and take Paul's advice to Timothy, and shun them, leaving them in the hands of God. As this has been foretold, there is nothing else that we can do. The best thing for them is for us to obey His Word. It is a serious error to treat them with a false graciousness, as if we were more loving than God.

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