Amplified: [They will be] without natural [human] affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); [they will be] slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good.(Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: without human affection, implacable in hatred, reveling in slander, ungovernable in their passions, savage, not knowing what the love of good is (Westminster Press)
GWT: and lack normal affection for their families. They will refuse to make peace with anyone. They will be slanderous, lack self-control, be brutal, and have no love for what is good. (GWT)
KJV: Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good
NLT: They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control; they will be cruel and have no interest in what is good. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: utterly lacking in… normal human affections. They will be men of unscrupulous speech and have no control of themselves. They will be passionate and unprincipled (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: without natural affection, implacable, slanderers, lacking self-control, savage, haters of that which is good (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: without natural affection, implacable, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, not lovers of those who are good,
|UNLOVING: astorgoi: (Mt10:21; Ro1:31)
without (destitute) natural affection (feeling)
lack normal affection for their families (GWT)
Unloving (794) (astorgos [word study] from a = without + storge = family love) literally is without family affection or without love for kindred and is frequently used of parent-child relationships. Storge love is instinctive, involves natural affection and is a conditional love. Although the Greek word storge is not used in the NT, it does form part of 3 derivative words - Ro 1:31, Ro 12:10; 2Ti 3:3-see notes Ro 1:31, Ro 12:10; 2Ti 3:3.
If there is no human affection, the family cannot long exist. In the terrible times men will be so set on self that even the closest natural ties will be nothing to them, even willing to "bite the hand that fed them" so to speak!. This is the sort of degradation in the human heart that allows mothers to have abortions or to leave their babies in trash cans. To be astorgos is to be heartless. It is not natural for people to love God or the things and people of God, but it is natural for them to love their own families.
Astorgos was used in secular Greek to describe women who had many love affairs and as a result did not have that nobler love for their husbands which they should have had.
Astorgos described animals who do not love their young. In these perilous times men will be so focused on self love that even the closest ties will mean nothing to them. The natural affection of storge is found even in people without Jesus but in the last days the love of self will override even this natural love of family members.
It is a terrible time when men and women are so focused on self gratification that even the closest ties mean nothing to them. Perhaps Dickens had this thought in mind in his classic epic "A Tale of Two Cities" when he wrote "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times". The "best of times" of course is only possible when depraved men & women living in the "worst of times" accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, and are forever transferred from the city of man to the city of God (cf note Revelation 21:2-note).
Barclay notes that the age of the Roman Empire was "an age in which family love was dying. Never was the life of the child so precarious as at this time. Children were considered a misfortune. When a child was born, it was taken and laid at the father’s feet. If the father lifted it up that meant that he acknowledged it. If he turned away and left it, the child was literally thrown out. There was never a night when there were not thirty or forty abandoned children left in the Roman forum. Even Seneca, great soul as he was, could write: “We kill a mad dog; we slaughter a fierce ox; we plunge the knife into sickly cattle lest they taint the herb; children who are born weakly and deformed we drown.” The natural bonds of human affection had been destroyed." (The Daily Study Bible Online)
MacArthur explains that
Wuest adds this note on astorgos
IRRECONCILABLE: aspondoi: (2Sa 21:1;21:2,3 Ps 15:4; Ezek 17:15;17:16, 17, 18, 19 Ro 1:31)
unwilling to be at peace with others
bitter haters (BBE)
implacable (not capable of being appeased)
Irreconcilable (786) (Aspondos from a = without + sponde = libation or drink offering, truce or an agreement) so literally not pouring out a libation (an act or instance of drinking often ceremoniously). This picture later came to mean “without a truce” because in the ancient world the making of treaties and agreements was accompanied by a pouring out a ceremonial libation. These men are unwilling to negotiate a solution to a problem involving a second party. Like the "Hatfield's and McCoy's", their feuds never end! The thought is not that these men break a truce but that they resist all efforts to reconciliation. They cannot be persuaded to enter into a covenant or agreement. This is the picture of the absolutely irreconcilable person who, being at war, refuses to lay aside their enmity or even to listen to terms of reconciliation. It means "hostility which refuses truce." It is hatred and unforgiveness "set in cement".
Irreconcilable describes a person who is implacably hostile or uncompromisingly opposed. It is one who is unwilling to negotiate a solution to a problem involving a second party.
Hendriksen writes that…
The breaking of the marriage covenant (see related topic Covenant: As It Relates to Marriage) between husband and wife and the consequent skyrocketing divorce rate is one good example of this sin, because in it's "purest" form, divorce is a resolute refusal to forgive the other party, producing an unforgiveness "set in cement". Both parties refuse to change, no matter how desperate their own situation becomes, and are determined to have their own way regardless of the consequences, even to the point of knowingly destroying their own lives and the lives of their families. They do not forgive and do not want to be forgiven. They are beyond reasoning and inevitably self-destructive. As far as they are concerned, there is no compromise, no reconciliation, no court of appeal.
The only other NT use of aspondos is Ro1:31 where it occurs as one of a list of unrighteous traits characteristic of those who "did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer" and who God therefore "gave… over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper" (see note on Romans 1:28), one of those things being to be "irreconcilable"
Trench adds that aspondos are not those who are only difficult to be reconciled with but are those who are
Barclay - Aspondos can mean two things. It can mean that a man is so bitter in his hatred that he will never come to terms with the man with whom he has quarreled. Or it can mean that a man is so dishonorable that he breaks the terms of the agreement he has made. In either case the word describes a certain harshness of mind which separates a man from his fellow-men in unrelenting bitterness. It may be that, since we are only human, we cannot live entirely without differences with our fellow-men, but to perpetuate these differences is one of the worst—and also one of the commonest—of all sins. When we are tempted to do so, we should hear again the voice of our blessed Lord saying on the Cross: “Father, forgive them.” (The Daily Study Bible Online)
MALICIOUS GOSSIPS: diaboloi: (Mt 4:1; Jn 6:70; 1Ti 3:11; Titus 2:3)
men of unscrupulous speech.
Malicious gossip s (1228) (diabolos [word study] from dia = through or between and ballo = throw) literally means to "throw between". Thus the intent and the effect of "diabolos" is to falsely accuse and divide people without any reason. One might even say their speech is "diabolical". Whereas the irreconcilable person tends to disregard and neglect others, malicious gossips make a point of speaking slander so as to harm others. Whether to promote their own interests, to express jealousy or hatred, or simply to vent their anger, they take perverse pleasure in damaging reputations and destroying lives. Engulfed and blinded by self-love, malicious gossips do the very work of the Devil, the chief of all slanderers. Like father, like son.
Diabolos - 37x in 34v - Mt 4:1, 5, 8, 11; 13:39; 25:41; Lk 4:2f, 6, 13; 8:12; John 6:70; 8:44; 13:2; Acts 10:38; 13:10; Eph 4:27; 6:11; 1 Tim 3:6f, 11; 2 Tim 2:26; 3:3; Titus 2:3; Heb 2:14; Jas 4:7; 1 Pet 5:8; 1 John 3:8, 10; Jude 1:9; Rev 2:10; 12:9, 12; 20:2, 10. NAS = devil(34), malicious gossips(3).
Someday (and it could be soon)
Diabolos points out the fact that these individuals are like devils because they imitate the Devil in constantly inventing and throwing evil reports and accusations at others.
The devil's object is to come between and to break up relationships and then to keep this brokenness "alive". The reasons churches split are because of "old diabolos" who uses the envy, jealously and general ungodliness of other members (cp Mt 13:24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, Jude 1:19, 1Co 1:10, 11:18, 19, 12:24, 25) to the point that they cannot not reconcile with one another (See discussion of the importance of Forgiveness in notes on Eph 4:32). Gossip is never relating facts but is coloring the facts with falsehood, innuendo, supposition, etc. Gossip robs others of their name because it insinuates some attitude, motive, action, etc is present in their lives when it may or may not be (See Jesus' stern warning Mt 7:1, 2ff-note)
Application: What do you say to your brother about your other brother in the Lord?
There is a sense in which slander is the most cruel of all sins. If a man's goods are stolen, he can set to and build up his fortunes again; but if his good name is taken away, irreparable damage has been done. It is one thing to start an evil and untrue report on its malicious way; it is entirely another thing to stop it.
Shakespeare aptly described this diabolical trait:
WITHOUT SELF CONTROL: akrateis: (1Co 7:5;7:9 2Pe 2:14;2:19, 3:3; Jude 1:16, 18)
KJV has "incontinent" (Webster defines it as lacking in control, one who fails to control sexual appetites)
Without self control (193) (akrates from a = without + krátos = strength) is literally without strength to resist the solicitations of one's passions and so describes a man who is powerless and/or unable to govern his fleshly appetites. They are void of that inner power of self-government which is the characteristic of the disciplined man. This man has jettisoned inhibitions and shame, does not care about what people think or what happens to them because of what he does. Like a driverless car, he careens haphazardly and crashes into whatever gets in his way. These men reach a stage when, so far from controlling his passions and desires, they are totally in bondage to that life sapping habit or desire which is their "master". The body which God gave them to use for His pleasure, has tragically become a vehicle for their selfish pleasure. Few things are more tragic than a man or woman who can no longer say "no" to self and who have become hopelessly enslaved to their own cravings.
These men are "without power over self" so that they are slaves to their own passions and lusts. The body which God gave them to use for His pleasure, has become a vehicle for their own pleasure. Few things are more tragic than a man or woman who can no longer say "no" to themselves and thus are hopelessly enslaved to their own cravings.
Paul is saying that in "the last days" anything goes. No rules, no moral absolutes, no restraints of any kind. Every man does that which is right in his own eyes, and woe to the person who dares to question his “lifestyle choices.”
Jesus excoriated the religious leaders who had a "form of godliness" but lacked the power:
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence” (Greek here is the related noun akrasia derived from akrates) (Mt 23:25)
BRUTAL: anemeroi: (Ge 49:7; Rev 13:15;13:17 16:6; 17:6)
Brutal (savage, fierce, untamed, cruel) (434) (anemeros from a = without + hemeros = mild, lame) (found only in this verse in the NT) means literally not mild, not tame, savage, merciless, the very opposite of the gentle. These men have a character and conduct befitting a brute beast and are grossly ruthless or unfeeling. They are like animals in their nature, action and instincts. They are savage (lacking the restraints normal to civilized human beings), cruel, violent like that of wild beasts, who attack enemies and tear them in pieces. These men are not just given to violence now and then; they are in fact, ferocious "savages" who pounce on whoever gets in their way, and have no regard for the rights or feelings of anyone other than themselves. Even a dog may be sorry when he has hurt his master, but these men in their malevolent treatment of others have lost natural human sympathy and feeling. This trait is the opposite of gentleness called for in the manners of the bondservant of the Lord in (2:24).
Genuine godliness has power which produces gentleness and the want of this power makes men rough, harsh and cruel.
HATERS OF GOOD: aphilagaqoi: (Ps 22:6; Isa 53:3; 60:14; Lk 10:16; 16:14; 1Th 4:8; Jas 2:6)
Haters of good (865) (aphilagathos from a = without and a combination of phílos = friend + agathos = good which is spiritually beneficial to another = literally loving and practicing what is good) (found only in this verse in the NT) describes men who are hostile to or despisers of all that is good and of good men. These men lack of generous interest in the public good. They have no love of virtue. In their love of self they have become haters of good, hating what should be loved and loving what should be hated! Listen to God's warning through Isaiah to given to faithless Israel but applicable to men such as these
Jesus said that despite the fact that
The direct contrast is found in the criteria of "overseers" who are to be "loving what is good" (philagathos) (see note Titus 1:8)
These haters of good don't even want to be in the presence of good things and good people because they have no love for anything spiritually beneficial and the most damaging place for these workers of iniquity is in the walls of the church.
Barclay - There can come a time in a man’s life when the company of good people and the presence of good things is simply an embarrassment. He who feeds his mind on cheap literature can in the end find nothing in the great masterpieces. His mental palate loses its taste. A man has sunk far when he finds even the presence of good people something which he would only wished to avoid. (The Daily Study Bible Online)
Amplified: [They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: treacherous, headlong in word and action, inflated with pride, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. (Westminster Press)
GWT: They will be traitors. They will be reckless and conceited. They will love pleasure rather than God. (GWT)
KJV: Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
Phillips: treacherous, self-willed and conceited, loving all the time what gives them pleasure instead of loving God. (Phillips: Touchstone)
NLT: They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Wuest: betrayers, headstrong, besotted with pride, fond of pleasure rather than having an affection for God, having a mere outward semblance of piety toward God but denying the power of the same. And these be constantly shunning. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: traitors, heady, lofty, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God,
|TREACHEROUS: prodotai: (2Pe 2:10-22; Jude 1:8 ,9)
They will betray their friends (NLT)
those who turn against their friends (ICB)
false to their friends (BBE)
Treacherous (4273) (prodotes from prodídomi = to give away, to betray which in turn is from pró = before or forth + dídomi = give) describes men who who betray another’s trust and confidence or are false to an obligation or duty. This is the man who delivers without justification a person into the control of someone else (in the sense of giving forward into another’s hands). It describes one untrue to what should command one’s fidelity or allegiance and even implies readiness to betray trust or confidence. These men betray confidence and trust put in them.
Luke describes the prototypical traitor…
Stephen boldly accused the Jews
Treachery comes naturally to a person who possesses the other "qualities" already listed.
Jesus warned the 12 that
This was written in the times of persecution and if that gangrene gets into the church, your best friend may betray you. Whenever the church has suffered persecution, true believers have been betrayed into the hands of the oppressors, often by members of their own families who value safety and prosperity above devotion. Feigned love and friendship become means of treachery. That is also the time when genuine loyalty proves itself, often at a high price. At this particular time in the ordinary matters of politics one of the curses of Rome was the existence of informers (delatores = one who brings a charge against). Times were so perilous that Tacitus could say: "He who had no foe was betrayed by his friend." There were those who would revenge themselves on an enemy by informing against him.
Barclay - What Paul is thinking of here is more than faithlessness in friendship—although that in all truth is wounding enough—he is thinking of those who to pay back an old score would inform against the Christian to the Roman government.
Barclay goes on to quote Lenin, clearly not a believer, as representative of an attitude of treachery…
Reckless - headstrong, heady, rash, such as fall forward, self willed, those who do foolish things without thinking.
Reckless (4312) (propetes from propípto = fall forward in turn from pró = forward + pípto = fall) is literally falling forward or headlong. It was used to describe one slipping down in bed. Figuratively as used here, it gives a vivid picture of these men marked by or proceeding from undue haste or lack of deliberation or caution. They plunge ahead without forethought in their impetuous deeds. Their behavior is rash, reckless, headlong (without due deliberation, out of control), impetuous, thoughtless and precipitous. Nothing stops them. Rashly they plunge ahead in their wickedness, being reckless or precipitate in their wicked deeds.
They act impetuously without thought for others or care for possible consequences. These men are swept on by passion and impulse to such an extent that they are totally unable to think sensibly. Such people act foolishly and carelessly, completely unconcerned about the consequences for themselves or others. The word headstrong includes their determination to have their own way, regardless of advice to the contrary.
The only other use is by Luke describing a riot in Ephesus and the town clerk's declaration that…
Vincent writes that propetes means…
Rienecker adds this note describing these men as
CONCEITED: tetuphomenoi (RPPMPN): (Ro11:20; 1Ti 6:17)
Be puffed up (NLT)
swollen with conceit (NRSV)
high minded (KJV)
having been swollen up with pride
Conceited (5187) (tuphoo [typhoo] from tuphos [typhos] = smoke) means literally to literally wrap in smoke or mist and so to becloud. Figuratively it means to be puffed up or conceited. Some secular Greek sources actually use tuphoo to describe one as mentally ill.
Tuphoo is used 4 times in the NT. Jesus uses tuphoo literally to describe a "smoldering (smoking) wick" (Mt 12:20) Paul uses tuphoo twice in first Timothy…
The verb tuphoo means wrapped or enveloped by smoke, so that what is outside one’s circumscribed world of self cannot be seen.
The man who is "swollen with conceit" is really just "filled with smoke" for all his accomplishments will be reduced to nothing more than smoke and ashes one day. (2Pe 3:10-notes)
The perfect tense pictures a person who in the past has come to a state of such pride, and is so puffed up, that his mind as a permanent result is beclouded and besotted with pride and conceit. No one can tell them anything, for they know it all.
Gill says these men are
They have a much higher view of themselves than is justified. The Greek word properly means to wrap in smoke & was then used metaphorically for conceit, to picture a badly mistaken view of one’s own importance. The perfect tense pictures their puffed up opinion of themselves as their permanent condition. The idea of conceit differs from the “lovers of self” for the latter trait can be concealed, while the very nature of conceit involves being noticed by others.
Hendricksen comments that…
John Lennon, the former Beatle, exemplified this attitude as shown by the following brash statement…
All that John Lennon ever accomplished will be turned into wisps of smoke, but Christianity will continue to flourish until
LOVERS OF PLEASURE: philedonoi:
Lovers of pleasure (5369) (philedonos from phílos = friend or loving + hedone = pleasure from hedos = delight, enjoyment and the related verb hedomai = to have sensual pleasure). Hedone gives us our English word hedonism which is the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the sole or chief good in life.
Philedonos is used in a bad sense of what is against God and spiritually destructive to oneself. These men are intent on pleasure, abandoned to (sensual) pleasure and pleasure-loving.
This word describes well the self-absorbed, self-gratifying orbit of the ungodly. Pascal once wrote that in every man's heart is a "God-shaped vacuum," yet men will continue to fill this vacuum with the god called "pleasure."
Christ Himself said of these days,
Americans spend $600.00 on luxuries for every $1.00 they give to missions. More money is spent on tobacco each year than both the U.S. and Canada have spent on missions since the discovery of America!
The list ends, as it began, with those whose love has become so misdirected that they can only think of their own desires. They love their own pleasures, are wholly controlled by them and are unwilling to make any sacrifice for temporal pleasures.
INSTEAD OF LOVERS OF GOD: para mallon e philotheoi: (Ro 16:18; Php 3:18;3:19 1Ti 5:6; 2Pe 2:13;2:15 Jude 4 Jude 19)
Lovers of God (5377) (philotheos from phílos = friend or loving + Theós = God) In other words, the true God has no place at all in the thinking and living of a false teacher or of anyone who is self-centered. They ignore the claims of God and live their life in pursuit of selfish aims that gratify the flesh.
Hiebert says that…
Jesus told Nicodemus
Amplified: For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession]. Avoid [all] such people [turn away from them]. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: They will maintain the outward form of religion, but they will deny its power. Avoid such people (Westminster Press)
GWT: They will appear to have a godly life, but they will not let its power change them. Stay away from such people. (GWT)
KJV: Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
NJB: They will keep up the outward appearance of religion but will have rejected the inner power of it. Keep away from people like that.
NLT: They will act as if they are religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. You must stay away from people like that. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: They will maintain a facade of "religion", but their conduct will deny its validity. You must keep clear of people like this. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: having a mere outward semblance of piety toward God but denying the power of the same. And these be constantly shunning. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: having a form of piety, and its power having denied; and from these be turning away,
|HOLDING TO A FORM (outward appearance): echontes (PAPMPN) morphosin: (Isa 29:13; 48:1,2; 58:1, 2 ,3; Eze 33:30;33:31, 32 Mt 7:15; 23:27; 28 Ro 2:20, 21, 22, 23, 24; 1Ti 5:8; Titus 1:16) (See 2 excellent sermons on this topic Formalism by Ryle, Form of Godliness w/o the Power by Spurgeon )
They will maintain a facade of religion (Phillips)
They will appear to have a godly life (GWT)
They will keep up a make-believe of piety and yet exclude its power (Weymouth)
Though they keep up a form of religion, they will have nothing to do with it as a force (Moffatt)
It is important to see here that the flesh can put on a show of godliness while in fact being utterly devoid of true spirituality. Mark it well that these men are not self-acknowledged pagans but rather professed adherents of Christianity. Their form of godliness is a shell which looks at first glance as if it corresponds to the essence, but there is a lack of genuine substance.
Holding (2192) (echo) means to have, hold, possess and in the present tense means this is their lifestyle, their habitual practice. The present tense describes this this "spiritual masquerade" to be their lifestyle!
Form (3446) (morphosis [word study]) refers to outward shape and appearance, such as that of a silhouette, which is an outline or shadow of something. Morphosis as used in this verse refers to the mere outward resemblance, as distinguished from the essential reality. Like the unbelieving scribes and Pharisees, lovers of self are concerned only about the outward form, about
Isaiah's OT description of faithless Israel fits these charlatans who
These men are like those Jesus warned about
These men go through all the correct movements and maintain all the external forms of religion; but they know nothing of the dynamic power of the Christ life which transforms sinners into saints.
These men "disguise themselves as servants of righteousness" (2Co 11:15) and teachers of His Word, but they are really servants of Satan, "is a liar, and the father of lies" and they as his children are purveyors of lies - like father, like son! (Jn 8:44) Satan’s most dangerous attacks against God’s people come not from without but from within the church by means of false teachers who pretend to speak for God. Beware of those who preach godliness without actually practicing it.
OF GODLINESS: eusebeias:
Godliness (2150) (eusebeia [word study] from eú = well + sébomai = worship. Sebomai is in turn derived from "seb" which refers to sacred awe or reverence exhibited especially in actions) is literally "well worship" which reflects an attitude to live with a sense of God's presence and a desire motivated by love (~obedience Jn 14:15) to be pleasing to Him in all things we say, do and think ultimately to the glory of God. Eusebeia describes reverence or awe that is well directed.
Eusebeia - 15x in 15v - Acts 3:12; 1 Tim 2:2; 3:16; 4:7f; 6:3, 5f, 11; 2 Tim 3:5; Titus 1:1; 2 Pet 1:3, 6f; 3:11. godliness(14), piety(1).
Eusébeia is that piety which is characterized by a Godward attitude and does that which is well–pleasing to Him. Eusebeia is “true religion” or “true worship” and describes the person who gives God His rightful place by worshiping Him properly. Genuine worship is more than relevant programs or catchy choruses — it reflects right reverence for God (godliness). Eusébeia does not imply an inward, inherent holiness but is more accurately an externalized piety.
Wuest adds that eusebeia is
There is no effective spiritual ministry apart from personal godliness, since ministry is the overflow of a godly life. True godliness is seen in action. If our faith in Christ is not producing a corresponding visible renovation of lifestyle, we are not experiencing genuine godliness.
Calvin comments on these religious fakes:
C H Spurgeon writes that a form of godliness…
ALTHOUGH THEY HAVE DENIED ITS POWER: en de dunamin autes ernemenoi (RMPMPN):
Denied (720) (arneomai [word study]) means they have refused to have anything to do with godliness. The word always involves more than an act of the mind. It means putting into practice. Paul chooses a strong word here which implies that they know and yet decisively reject the truth.
The perfect tense indicates they are in a permanent state of denial - simply stated they are not believing, born again "spiritual" men! At some point in the past they denied the power of a godly life and still continue to do so by the way they live. Their ungodly thinking and teaching is manifest in ungodly living (and lying). They are like those deceivers in Crete who Paul said
A true relationship with God is not a matter of knowledge and profession alone, but of knowledge and practice (obedience) of what is known.
Denied its power - The corollary statement can therefore be made that a godly life is a powerful ("power filled") life - in word, in way, in witness. It is powerful not because of anything intrinsic to the individual's flesh but because of the indwelling Spirit (cp Jn 6:63, 15:5, Ro 8:9-note, Ro 8:13-note)
Power (1411) (dunamis [word study] - words derived from the stem duna— all have the basic meaning of “being able,” of “capacity” in virtue of an ability & is root for our English "dynamic") is a key word in the NT being found some 121 times in the NASB most often in the Gospels and especially by Dr. Luke and in the Revelation.
Dunamis refers to power residing in something because of its nature and referring to that which overcomes resistance. For example, Paul uses "dunamis" in (Ro 1:16-note) to describe the power (dunamis) of God in His gospel which produces in salvation (Note: This truth "takes the pressure off" of us to "convert" others! Such conversion can only be by the supernatural Gospel. We do however have the privileged charge to speak forth the Gospel to a world dead in trespasses and sins!). Only the Holy Spirit makes profession of faith a reality and faith without the works and fruit of the Spirit is dead (Jas 2:17-note). These men lack this saving and sanctifying power and thus fail to
How can you discern these men? (See Spurgeon's pithy discussion of this somewhat "taboo" topic!) Just watch their life (but remember you are not their judge but you are called to discern good from evil) and ask those who know them best what they are really like. These men have denied the transforming power of God's grace and the enabling "power" (2Ti 1:7-note) of the Spirit of holiness…
These men are dangerous, deceptive teachers who have a ''pseudo-godliness'' and present a persuasive (Col 2:4-note) , but empty (Col 2:8-note), worthless, deceptive and damning message that fails to free their listeners from bondage to Sin, Self & Satan and unto the liberty and freedom found only in Christ (Acts 26:18, Jas 1:22-note, Jas 1:25-note, La 2:14)
All believers wrestle with the challenge of getting knowledge in our heads down that tortuous path to the place where performance occurs. True godliness is seen in action. If our belief in Christ is not producing a corresponding visible renovation of lifestyle, we are not experiencing genuine godliness.
The KJV Bible Commentary has this stinging rebuke for the modern church
Hendricksen comments that…
Paul explains that the source of a believer's power for godliness is
Why is the word of the Cross "power"? When you let the Cross have its effect upon you then you will experience the power of God released in your life and it will be manifest as godliness. When one denies the word of the Cross the result is a "form" without substance, a "Christianity" without Christ, a godliness without God and a spirituality without the Spirit. The word of the Cross puts the natural life (in the flesh) to death because it calls for us to deny self. This process was described by Jesus as the primary requirement for true discipleship:
John the Baptist explained the correct order
So until one is willing to say "Yes" to Jesus and then to say "No" to what the cross calls us to deny, we cannot enter into that quality and quantity of eternal life that is available to us now in the power of God. We must say "No" to all the risings of the flesh within us in order that we might lay hold of the supply of power and life and vitality which enables us to walk with God in righteousness, truth and godliness.
Ray Pritchard writes that…
Their denial of the power of a godly lifestyle is like a factory without power. George Sweeting illustrates this principle in the following story…
In short, these men lack the power source because they are not genuine believers.
AND (continually) AVOID SUCH MEN AS THESE: kai toutous apotrepou (2SPMM): (2Ti 2:16;2:23 Ro 16:17; 18 Eph 4:14; 2Th 3:6; 14 Titus 3:10; 2Jn 1:10, 11, 1:12)
Have nothing to do with them (NIV)
be constantly shunning (Wuest)
keep clear of people like this (Phillips)
from these be turning away (Young's Literal)
Avoid (665) (apotrepho from apo = separation + trépo + turn) means to purposely avoid or turn away from so as to produce separation or distance between. These men are to be shunned (deliberately, habitually avoided) even with horror!.
Timothy is commanded (imperative mood) to continually (present tense) turn himself (middle voice is reflexive) from these men. This does not mean you are not to (agape) love them but it does mean you don't live with them or associate with them because the more you associate with them, the more you will become like them. Regardless of how convincing a false idea may appear or how sincere a false teacher may seem to be, we are to take ourselves by the scruff of the neck, as it were, and make ourselves avoid such men as these. These are hypocrites who can mislead weaker brethren. They are wolves amongst the flock.
Earlier Paul had commanded Timothy to..
Paul gave a similar warning to the saints at Rome warning…
To the Ephesians Paul stated that…
Paul instructed Titus to…
John writes that
Thus we can see that we are to have no part to do with men such as these.
Ray Pritchard explains it this way…
Christ-honoring, Scripture-loving, God-glorifying teachers will produce spiritual "offspring" in the same mold.
John Wesley: THE ALMOST CHRISTIAN (Excerpt from sermon):
Matthew Henry comments that