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GOD’S PROVISION FOR PERILOUS TIMES
by Philip Owen

For the previous twenty-one weeks we have examined one-by-one the catalogue of characteristics that the Holy Spirit through Paul warns us constitute grave spiritual peril.  As if that were not bad enough, Paul assures us that “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (II Tim. 3:13).  Following such an exhaustive listing of perils and the assertion that circumstances will only worsen, an earnest believer must surely have a compelling question:  How do I protect myself and those of my concern from these perils?  Continuing in the same passage, we find that the Lord gives the antidote to the disaster He has described. In this final note in this series, we will examine God’s provision for perilous times.

 

The antidote is not in becoming a hermit and attempting to avoid all contact with humanity; it is not in coming to a better understanding of our culture; it is not in arming ourselves with the weapons of psychology, sociology, and philosophy.  “But continue thou,” Paul exhorts, “in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them” (3:14).  He does not leave it to Timothy’s imagination (nor to ours) to figure which of the many things he has learned that he is “to continue” in.  He explains specifically:  “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (v. 15).  Then, pressing the point home, he writes:  “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (vv. 16, 17).  God’s provision against peril is the Word of God.

 

God’s provision is imperative.  Paul has not said, “I would suggest . . .,” or,  “It would be a good idea . . . .”  The verb commands us to keep on doing the prescribed action.  The requirement is optional only in the sense that God will not force us to continue in the truth of Scripture.  But the point is clear:  if we want to avoid a calamitous end in times of peril, we must give faithful, abiding heed to the Word of God—to all the Word of God.

 

God’s provision is exclusive.  In other words, we are provided with no other options.  Paul is not denigrating the work of the indwelling Spirit of Christ, nor the efficacy of prayer, nor the necessity of joining in fellowship with a sound local church and submitting to a biblical ministry.  But of paramount importance in the fight against the perils he has delineated is an adherence to the revealed Word of God.  As faithful as is the Holy Spirit, His ability to preserve from spiritual deceit is gravely hampered by a failure to continue in the things we have learned from Scripture.  Prayer is important, but it is no substitute for a mind and heart informed by the Word of God and a will yielded to its instruction.  In perilous times, Scripture is the foundation upon which the fortress is built.  And “if the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psa. 11:3).

 

God’s provision is exhaustive.  It is sufficient.  An old gospel song declared:  “If you know the Lord, you need nobody else.”  Well, if you have the Word, you need nothing else.  God provides other aids in their place.  But the Word of God is sufficient.  Real danger lies in straying from that fundamental truth, in being deceived into thinking that some “-ology” in addition to the Word of God alone will be more beneficial in securing us.  God has provided all that the humblest saint needs to be victorious in these times of spiritual danger.  May we stand.

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