In Paul’s second letter to Timothy (his last known writing that we have in the Bible), Paul spends some time talking about the last days. The last days refers to the time between when the Holy Spirit came upon the believers at Pentecost after Jesus’ resurrection and the second coming of Christ. In other words, we are currently living in the last days. Paul talked about false teachers who will be active during this period, and he warns Timothy, and us, about these people. He says that these people will have the “form of godliness” meaning that they will appear to be Christian on the outside, but will not actually be following Christ on the inside. This “form of godliness” includes going to church, knowing Christian doctrine, and following a community’s traditions and social mores. These practices might make a person look good on the outside, but Paul warns that on the inside they are not really living in love and are not really practicing what they preach. He says that while it may be difficult at first to distinguish between these people and the true believers, eventually the actions of these people will bring the truth to light.
People cannot pretend forever. Sin will not hide forever. Some people may be pretty good at hiding sin, but eventually our true hearts will be revealed. While reading this passage, I was hit with a thought. What if we were guaranteed that all of our actions, words, and thoughts would one day be revealed to everyone? What if we knew that all of our family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances would one day know all of the details about us? If we knew this to be true, would we live our lives any differently? Would we make different choices? Would we guard our hearts more carefully? While this idea of all of our peers knowing our innermost thoughts is not Biblically sound, we do know that God knows our innermost thoughts. We know that God is fully aware of everything about us. He knows everything we have ever said, done, or thought. On the Day of Judgment, we will be forced to account for these things before God. Before God, we will not be able to hide our true motives. We will not be able to hide our sin. We will not be able to undo our mistakes. On that day, it will be like walking in to take an exam and realizing that we forgot to study. We cannot study that day…it will not do us any good. We can, however, start to prepare now. We can prepare our hearts for that day. We can confess our sinfulness to God and ask for His forgiveness through His Son Jesus Christ. We can accept Him as the Lord of our lives, and we can start to follow Him – not just going to church or reading the Bible, but actually following Him. We can start living as He has directed. We can learn to obey Him. Now is the time to start that process. If we start today and change everything about ourselves that we would not want to be uncovered later, we will have nothing to fear about tomorrow.