by Michael E. Brooks
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:1-5 NKJV).
Recently another garment factory collapsed in Bangladesh. It was reported that there had been an earthquake shortly before. Inspection revealed weaknesses in the multi-story building and the workers did not want to go into it.
The owners of the factory insisted however, ignored government requests to close the facility, and compelled the employees to go back to work. They were in the building a very few hours before it collapsed. At latest report there were at least 900 dead or missing.
When we read Paul’s prophesy in 2 Timothy 3 about the perilous times that were to come, we naturally think first and primarily about spiritual dangers. The conditions he describes put souls at risk, jeopardizing faith and salvation.
But the fact is that sin produces great physical risks as well. For example, the sin of drunkenness causes the deaths of thousands in accidents and violent crimes each year. Besides that, drugs and alcohol destroy the bodies of those who use them.
The sin of greed (covetousness) is the motive behind many wars (James 4:1ff), and obviously much crime and violence.
Less violent crimes such as lying or gossip produce other forms of harm, destroying reputations and relationships.
The fact is that sin is harmful, always (Romans 3:10-18). It damages those who engage in it, as well as innocent bystanders and victims who suffer its consequences.
Obviously there may be more to the story of the garment factory’s collapse than has yet been revealed. However, if the facts given above are true, this is another example of the devastation caused by sin. The owners’ greed and callous indifference to safety have cost many their lives.
Sin is dangerous. We often see the supposed pleasure and joy which results from indulging our desires. Commercials and Hollywood entertainments convince us that the sinful lifestyle is the one which produces true happiness. Reality is that this is simply not true.
Those who ignore God’s truth are in great danger. Not only are their souls at risk; they (and others more innocent who become their victims) are much more likely to suffer physical harm as well.
That is the nature of sin.
In direct contrast, those who follow Christ are to seek the good of others in every possible way. Their objective is to “be fruitful in every good work” (Colossians 1:10). Essential Christian principles such as “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39) promote beneficial actions on the part of all believers.
Further, the Christian life is to be marked by unselfish concern for others (Philippians 2:3-4), self denial (Matthew 16:24), and the abhorrence of all evil (Romans 12:9).
Finally, two passages in Paul’s letter to Titus make plain the distinction between the harmfulness of sin and the essential benevolence of Christian faith:
“They (i.e., the ungodly) profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work” (Titus 1:16).
“Remind them (i.e., Christians) to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work” (Titus 3:1).