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 "But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them" (II Timothy 3:14).

This encouraging exhortation by the apostle Paul is in the midst of a most discouraging prophetic warning of things to come. "In the last days," he said, "perilous times shall come" (v.1). We may very well be entering those very times, and, in any case, we do well to be alert for the signs of those times. The doleful description that follows seems to be a very accurate picture of the beliefs and practices of modern secular humanists, including those religionists who have "a form of godliness," but deny "the power thereof" (v.5).

Moreover, there is little prospect that the situation will get better, for "evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived," and "all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (vv.13,12). Should we, therefore, tremble and flee, or perhaps compromise, or even surrender to such powerful and persuasive deceivers?

No, we should continue! Just keep on believing and obeying God's Word. Even in the dark last days, the "Holy Scriptures" are still able to make a man "wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (v.15). Since they are all "given by inspiration of God," they are still just as powerful and just as profitable for every need, "That the man of God may be perfect" (that is, ready for whatever comes) and fully equipped "unto all good works" (vv.16-17).

Paul himself set an inspiring example of "patient continuance in well doing" (Romans 2:7) under conditions of great trial. Awaiting execution in a Roman dungeon even as he wrote, he still requested his books and parchments (II Timothy 4:13), that he might continue to study and prepare himself. May God enable us also to continue, to remain, to abide, and to stand in His truth in these last days. HMM

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