By Rick Renner
The material I am about to present concerns a subject that I normally wouldn’t write about. However, it provides a powerful illustration of the depravity Paul prophesied would occur during the last days (see 2 Timothy 3:2,3), and I believe it serves as a wakeup call to the Church.
Sometimes we need a stark reminder of the rapid degeneration of society’s moral fabric that is occurring all around us at an ever-increasing rate so we don’t grow complacent and just “go with the flow” of society’s downward moral spiral. As the Church, we have a vital role to play in these perilous times as standard bearers of truth. So bear with me as I take on that role to share some disturbing but important information, and you will understand my point.
Several years ago, the Holy Spirit strongly impressed me to speak on the subject of abortion to my Moscow congregation. I had never once spoken on this subject in all my years as a minister, yet I knew the Holy Spirit was compelling me that this was a message my congregation needed to hear. I didn’t know why the Spirit of God impressed this upon me so strongly until I began to do research about abortion in the former Soviet Union and the rest of the world. What I discovered simply stunned and shocked me.
I discovered that there have been nearly one billion abortions performed worldwide since the 1940s. At the time of this writing, it is more than the combined populations of the United States, Central America, South America, Canada, Australia, England, France, Italy, and Greece.
The greatest and most extensive killing in human history was not done by Nero, Domitian, Hitler, or Stalin — it was done by medical doctors who have murdered more than one billion babies through the act of abortion in the past 100 years. This is mass murder of the innocent, far worse than any holocaust or genocide. It is the annihilation of those who cannot scream to be heard, who cannot defend themselves, and who are thrown in the garbage can or whose body parts are “harvested” for material gain and other purposes.
When I first read these statistics, I shuddered to think of the defenseless lives that have been lost and the blood that has been spilled. But as I continued studying, I was truly amazed at the rationale of those who are pro-choice. Repeatedly they state that they want the rights of the mother to be protected — that if she doesn’t want to have a baby, it should be her “right” to end the pregnancy. I kept wondering about the “rights” of the infant. What about the infant’s right to live?
What is confusing about this logic is that in the same hospitals where abortions are performed at one end, surgeries are being performed at the other end on infants who are still in their mother’s womb. On one end of the hospital they take a life; on the other end of the hospital they save a life — both in the womb of a mother. This is completely illogical. One hundred years ago when common sense still prevailed, no one would have thought this kind of reasoning to be normal. This is a sign of the times in which we live.
As I pondered on all of this, my mind went to Second Timothy 3:3 where Paul discussed the attitudes that will be prevalent in society at the end of the age. As I thought about the brutality of taking innocent lives — and doing it in such a sophisticated way in our nice, sterilized hospitals — I thought about the next point on Paul’s list of signposts that we are in the very last of the last days. He goes on to inform us that society will be “fierce” in those days. What does the word “fierce” mean?
The word “fierce” is a strange word to describe today. This word would better be used to describe cannibals or barbarians. It is the word anemeros, derived from the word nemeros, which pictures something that is gentle, kind, or mild. But when an a is fixed to the front of the word — turning it into the word anemeros — this word changes dramatically. Rather than gentle, kind, or mild, it means savage, vicious, uncivilized, violent, ferocious, or inhumane.
When you think about the world today, much of it seems quite civilized and sophisticated until you remember the one billion babies who have been brutally ripped to pieces — savagely killed every minute of the day in beautiful, sterilized hospitals and clinics across the world. This is savagery of the worst kind; it is legalized murder on a scale so massive that no fiction writer of yesteryear could have imagined it. But this is not fiction; this is reality.
Today those who fight for the rights of unborn children are portrayed as primitive and unintelligent. This is the result of a massive public relations blitz to annihilate the opposition and reinforce the right to terminate the life of a child. Thus far, the courts have unfortunately ruled that a child’s life can be terminated. The law has no defense for the child. I say all of this because of the next point Paul listed in Second Timothy 3. He went on to speak about “despisers of those that are good.” What does this phrase mean?
The phrase in Greek is the word aphiloagathos, and it is a very strange Greek word. In its oldest and truest sense, it depicts a society where law is not primarily intended to protect the rights of good people but rather is used instead to protect and defend the rights of offenders. This word is so unusual, in fact, that it is never used anywhere else in the New Testament. Who could ever imagine a world where laws were used primarily to defend offenders and not to protect the rights of those who are good? Yet this is precisely what Paul prophesied in this verse.
This teaching doesn’t apply only to abortion; it also could be applied to a wide range of situations where criminals are so aggressively protected that they go free while the innocent suffer. According to Second Timothy 3:3, the world in the last days will be savage and inhumane, and it will be morally confused as to what is right or wrong. Can you think of ways that this has application to the world we live in today?
If you have terminated the life of an unborn child — or if you know someone who has done this — there is forgiveness in Jesus Christ. The world today has drifted far from what is right on a wide range of issues, and I did not intend to highlight this one act in order to condemn anyone. Just as there is forgiveness for every grievance against God, there is forgiveness for you or for that person you know who made such a wrong decision. If you will ask Jesus to forgive you, First John 1:9 promises that He will forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.
When the world is morally confused about what is right and wrong, we cannot look to society to set our moral agenda. We must look to the Bible to be our guide and let it be the standard by which we live. I exhort you today to make a renewed commitment to live your life according to the truths set forth by the Bible and to reject any piece of society’s errant moral code that is in conflict with the Word of God. When this world system is over and gone, the Bible and its truths will remain — so align yourself with the eternal and unchanging standards and principles of God!
Rick Renner is a prolific author and a highly respected Bible teacher and leader in the international Christian community. He is the author of more than 30 books, including the bestsellers Dressed To Kill and Sparkling Gems From the Greek.
In 1992, Rick and his family moved to what is now the former Soviet Union. Two years later, he and his wife Denise founded the Riga Good News Church in Latvia before moving on to Moscow in 2000 to found the Moscow Good News Church. In 2007, the Renners also launched the Kiev Good News Church in the capital of Ukraine. Today, Rick serves as Bishop for this group of churches.
In addition, Rick and Denise pioneered a Bible school, and a ministerial association that serves thousands of Russian-speaking pastors throughout the former USSR as well as parts of the Middle East.
Rick also founded Media Mir, the first Christian television network established in the former USSR. Its broadcast capabilities via terrestrial stations in Russia, Ukraine, Mongolia, Estonia, Poland, Latvia, Armenia, Georgia, and Moldova, and as well by satellite means millions of people are reached with these messages. It has since expanded into book publishing and managing social media accounts