"But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes's and Jambres's folly was also." (2 Timothy 3:1-9)The theory of evolution predicts the grand progression of life from lower forms to higher forms. With each new life form, full of new adaptions and abilities, their heightened ability to survive and thrive in the world makes them the "king of the heap", at least until the next round of evolution. Evolution is taught as the unrelenting progress to "perfection," at least as it pertains to survivability. However, regardless of how dubious such a theory is, the same cannot be said for the souls of mankind. The moral and ethical composure of man's souls is not ever rising higher, rather it is a picture of one spiraling downward with each passing day. Certainly, there have been times when man was at his best, or at least better than his worst. However, the history of the world is the history of the degrading and lowering of man's souls. There is no great enlightenment, no great progress to perfection, just the slow and steep march of corruption. The truth is, apart from the grace of God, this is the destiny of all of us; we are all in a moral downward spiral, some quicker than others, but it is the natural progress of a life being consumed by a sinful nature.
No where will this prove to be more true then at the end of the age. Paul describes in detail the moral character of mankind as the end draws near. Jesus, Himself, also warned us of this very thing. "Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold." (Matthew 24:12) Relationally, emotionally, spiritually, and morally the end times will be a "cold" time. Such debauchery is not reserved for the secular but shall also be present in the religious; those who hold to religion but deny the power of Christ to change them. They hold to religion while letting go of God. The truth is that no soul can be improved without the influence and presence of God acting upon it. We cannot will ourselves better or discipline ourselves better though the use of religion, we must yield in obedience to God and allow His Holy Spirit to work His sanctifying work in our lives. It is only through the love of the Father, the truth of the Son, and the cleansing of the Holy Spirit that we can reverse the decay in our souls and find them lifted up into the image of Christ.
While Paul draws our attention to the end times, he also reminds us of the present. There are those who, while claiming freedom and enlightenment, seek to draw people away in to bondage and darkness. Paul warns us about them just as Jesus did. Jesus said we would know them by their fruit. "So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits." (Matthew 7:17-20) We must not be drawn away by the smooth talk and imagined intelligence of others, we must examine their fruit. Even if one appears to be religious, if their lives show the fruit of ungodliness, then they have no truth within them. Such men are following the downward spiral of life not the upward path of salvation. However, even in the end, their follow will be known and all will be seen for what it truly is. Words matter little, what really matters is fruit!