1 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. (1 Timothy 2:1–2, NKJV)
Paul began a series of exhortations to Timothy with an appeal to pray “for all men.” Jesus had taught to “pray for those who spitefully use you” as an expression of loving your enemies (Lk. 6:27-28). That is not easy to do, but it is the very essence of loving our neighbor as ourselves. Since love focuses on others rather than itself, therein lies the answer to how we can faithfully do this. We need to pray for those who have rule and authority over us. The reasons are apparent (yet Paul reminds Timothy and us of them). Their decisions impact many lives, including Christians. God desires us to lead peaceful lives, flavored with godliness, and infused with reverence. Therefore, supplicate (entreaty) God for them. Solicit God on their behalf for truth, wisdom, and justice to guide them in the affairs of state. Petition the Ruler of rulers, interceding for them through earnest prayers and thoughtful thanks. Paul reminds us that God desires the salvation of all people (1 Tim. 2:3-4). Therefore, let us diligently pray for leaders (and all others) so that an atmosphere that enhances the cause of the gospel may prevail on the earth.
1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! (2 Timothy 3:1–5, NKJV)
Please read this list carefully. Let it sink into your heart. The “last days” and these dangers have continued since the first century (Hebrews 1:1-2; 1 John 2:18). Troublesome, difficult, stressful times exist as people turn away from God with selfish and sinful demands, expectations and actions. Christians are called to be God-loving, while those who press, stress and persecute God’s people love everything except God. They do not love good and they do not love God (v. 3, 4). They are hostile and heartlessness – they are without natural affection. Yet, they are warmly fond of some things. They “love” 1) Themselves (they are selfish and self-absorbed), 2) Money (they are materialistic and covetousness), and 3) Pleasure (they are fond of sensual delight). These obstructionists may even be religious (they appear godly), but their lives negate the power of true godliness. Satan’s angels still appear as servants of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). Be warned, and turn away from such (Ephesians 5:11).
1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (2 Timothy 3:1–5, NKJV)
“The last days,” as Lenski correctly observes, “refer to the whole time from the completion of Christ’s redemptive work until his Parousia” (Commentary on Timothy, 820). During this final age (in which Paul, Timothy and we live) before Christ’s appearing there would (and will) be occasions of particular stress upon the righteous (v. 1). Spiritual dangers and threats arise from people who disrespect God and their fellow human beings. Their conduct is unrestrained by godly fear, which is abandoned for self-indulgent, wasteful and hurtful living. Loving self, material increase and sensual indulgences, there is no formation of godliness within them. Any claim to godliness is empty, powerless and unworthy of our attention. With Timothy, we are warned to “turn away” from such people. The harmful influences of their sins endanger us, urging us to compromise, approve and participate with them in their sins. Refuse, resist, and turn away!
8 I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; 9 in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.” (1 Timothy 2:8–10, NKJV)
Just as men are to be spiritual leaders whose holy lives equip them to “pray everywhere,” women profess godliness through their good works. The godly woman does not announce herself to others through immodest clothing that draws attention to herself and her body. Instead, propriety (a sense of shame, “shamefastness,” ASV) and moderation (“self-control,” see 2 Tim. 2:15), are hallmarks of her attire. She is careful to wear attire that does not present herself to others as one devoid of moral decency and discretion. To be godly servants of the Lord, whether man or woman, we must first adorn our hearts with holiness and godliness. Then, our clothing and our conduct will bear righteous fruit before God and before the world.
5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness… (2 Peter 1:5–6, NKJV)
Perseverance is of no redeeming spiritual value if it is not directed by godliness. Steadfastly committing sin is no virtue. So then, in order to strengthen your faith, add godliness to your endurance. Godliness is reverent respect for God; piety, devotion. Surely godliness guided Jesus to always do what pleased His Father (Jno. 8:29). As your mind is turned toward God in reverent respect you are better equipped to persevere through life’s challenges. When your faith is tested, it will be your devotion to God that helps you endure. Without this God-ward attitude you lose your incentive to endure; you forget God. But through godliness, discouragement is thwarted and faith prevails. Strengthen your faith today by remaining devoted to the things of God: “exercise yourself toward godliness” (1 Tim. 4:7-8).
7 But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. 8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. (1 Timothy 4:7-8, NKJV)
Practically all would agree that exercise is beneficial for one’s overall health. Yet, when viewed from a temporal as well as an eternal perspective, it “profits a little”. The body grows older day by day. When all is said and done, death comes to every person, including those bodies well-exercised. Exercising oneself in godliness gives greater profit, benefiting one’s life on earth as well as the eternal realm. We are more than flesh and bones; we have an immortal soul that defines us. Keep yourself in shape with an exercise regime of godliness. It will strengthen you for daily living and keep you fit for eternal life.