2 Timothy 3:13
while evil men and imposters go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
Being DeceivedJ. C. Gray.2 Timothy 3:13
Changed by SinCanon Wilberforce.2 Timothy 3:13
Deceiving Others and Being Deceived in TurnT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:13
Development of EvilH. R. Burton.2 Timothy 3:13
Graduating in UngodlinessT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:13
Productivity of Sin2 Timothy 3:13
Progressiveness of Sin2 Timothy 3:13
Satan the Great DeceiverT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:13
Self-DeceptionLeisure Hour2 Timothy 3:13
The Downward Course of SeducersT. Croskery 2 Timothy 3:13
Worse and WorseBacon.2 Timothy 3:13
Grievous TimesR. Finlayson 2 Timothy 3:1-17

The apostle connects the persecution with the ways of evil men, while he warns Timothy against them.

I. THEIR DEGENERATE COURSE. "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse."

1. The persons here described.

(1) Evil men.

(a) They are those in contrast with the men who "would live godly in Christ Jesus."

(b) They are not simply sinners as all men are by nature and practice, but rather wicked men who wear a mask of godliness, yet are full of malice against the saints of God.

(2) Seducers, literally magicians, in allusion to those of Egypt; men who are full of sorceries to captivate and betray the unwary into error.

2. They shall go from bad to worse - both in principle and in practice, in the use of their seductive arts and in the gradual depravation of their character. There is nothing to arrest their downward course; there is no grace in the heart; the principles of evil will work with unchecked energy in their natures.

II. THE EXPLANATION OF THIS DEGENERACY. "Deceiving and being deceived."

1. The method of mental and moral debasement. Let men repeat falsities with sufficient frequency and deliberateness, and they will come by and by to believe them themselves. They begin by deceiving others. They cannot deceive God nor the elect, but by their good words and fair speeches, their lying wonders and their specious arts, they may seduce the simple into error.

2. The retribution that follows upon deception is self-deception. Such deceivers have become sincere in their error, because they have blinded their spiritual eyesight; but now they see truth as error, and error as truth. - T.C.

But evil men and seducers shall wax worse.
1. If we consider wicked men as they are in themselves, they are all strongly bent to apostasy; every day they grow worse and worse. As godly men are graduates in God's school, growing from strength to strength, and from one degree of grace unto another, till they become perfect men in Christ, every sermon makes them better, and every ordinance improves them. So wicked men are graduates also, and take degrees in the devil's school; they stand not at a stay, but they grow from evil to Worse. As he that is righteous will go on and be more righteous, so he that is filthy will go on in his filthiness (Revelation 22:11). It is the proper character of wicked men that they fall away more and more (Isaiah 1:5; Proverbs 1:22).

2. But secondly, let us consider them specifically and divisively for such evil men as are deceivers and impostors, and these we see experimentally grow worse and worse. They have no foundation to rest on; they know no stay when once they have passed the bounds of the word, no more than a violent stream doth when it hath broke over those bounds and bonds which before kept it in. Error knows no end; when once men forsake the way of truth they wander in infinitum. As it is in logic, grant one absurdity and I will infer a thousand, and as sin begets sin, blood toucheth blood, and one murder begets another (Hosea 4:2). So error is very fertile and prolific; it speedily brings forth a great increase. One error is a bridge to another; ill weeds spring apace and spread far, when good herbs grow thin and low. A little of this leaven will quickly sour the whole lump (Matthew 16:6). When once men begin to tumble down the hill of error they seldom rest till they come to the bottom.

(T. Hall, B. D.)

They cozen others, and the devil cozens them, leading them into far greater errors; and so they shall be punished on a double account.

1. Because they err themselves and resist the truth.

2. Because they have drawn others into error. The participle of the present tense notes their assiduity and constancy; they make

it their trade to deceive others: they are still deceiving one or other with their smooth, flattering language. As God loves to employ good men for the conversion of others (not that He needs the help of man, but), for the exercising of the graces of His servants, and for the greater manifestation of His own glory, so the devil, who is God's ape, loves to deceive men by men. He hath his agents and emissaries everywhere. As good men delight in converting others, so wicked men delight in perverting others: as those would not go to heaven alone, so these would not go to hell alone: and therefore they labour to make others twofold more the children of the devil than themselves.

(T. Hall, B. D.)

As thieves when they would rob a man draw him aside out of the highway into some wood, and then cut his throat, so this grand deceiver and his agents draw men aside from the right way of God's worship into some bypaths of error to their ruin. The devil he is the cheater of cheaters, and deluder of deluders; it is his constant trade, as the participle implies. And this is the reason why many false teachers may die with boldness and courage for their opinions, viz., because they are blinded and deluded by the devil; they think themselves martyrs, when they are grand deceivers and grossly deceived. We had need, therefore, to pray for the Spirit of grace and illumination that we may see the methods, depths, and devices of Satan and avoid them.

(T. Hall, B. D.)

Things alter for the worse spontaneously, if they be not altered for the better designedly.


— A man may tell a lie till he believes it to be the truth.

(J. C. Gray.)

Leisure Hour.
Mr. Robert Sutcliffe, a member of the Society of Friends, travelling in America early in the present century, had a tough argument with a man engaged in the slave trade, of whom he says: "At length, being hard pressed, he gave up the point in a good deal of warmth, with this remarkable declaration: "Why, sir, you can't suppose that the Almighty looks so narrowly into our actions as you do."

(Leisure Hour.)

Allowed sin always masters a man in time. The man may loathe his master, yet he obeys him; he may fear his master, yet still he does his hateful bidding. But there is here an awful warning as to the sure change of the very being of a man under the once invited presence and the permitted occupation of the forces of evil. The man himself changes — imperceptibly at first to himself — others see it. He is often unaware of it himself, till the last stages are reached. It must be so — there must be a change. If you think there is no such thing as standing still in life — in spiritual, in natural life. As the solid tower reels and sways beneath the crashing of the ringing bells, so there is movement even in the most solid, calm-seeming life.

(Canon Wilberforce.)

Secular history tells us that when Tiberius (Luke 3:1) became emperor of Rome, he was remarkable for his kindness, amiability, and moderation. But he became one of the most wicked and cruel of tyrants. , too, was so affable and kind in early life, that he was quite popular at the beginning of his reign; but he afterwards caused his mother, his wife, his old tutor Seneca, with multitudes of Christians and others, to be put to death, many of them in excessively cruel ways; and he was guilty of such other enormities, that his people at length conspired against him, when, to escape their malice, he killed himself in the thirty-first year of his age. Robespierre, "the tyrant," and the leading spirit during "the reign of terror" in Paris, through whom thousands of both his friends and foes were slaughtered or subjected to the greatest cruelties, was, in private and early life, amiable and kind. He once, when young, resigned his situation as a member of a criminal court, because he had such an objection to the barbarity of capital punishment, which he characterised as "base assassination." The devil and his angels, Cain, Henry Wainwright, etc., show to what evil an immortal spirit may fall. Wherefore avoid bad company, give up evil or doubtful habits, get God's restraining, converting, and preserving grace.

(H. R. Burton.)

Referring to the terrible productivity of sin, Mr. Varley once mentioned that when in Tasmania, he had heard of a snake recently killed there which had given birth to thirty-seven young ones. "But," said he, quoting Joseph Cook, "sin is an eternal mother."

A gentleman was walking with a friend one day through his beautiful grounds, when they came to a fine large tree which was decayed to the very core. "That tree," said the proprietor, "was destroyed by a single worm. A short time since it was as vigorous as any of its companions, when one day a woodworm was discovered forcing its way under the outer bark. A naturalist who was at that time my guest remarked on seeing it that if left alone it would ultimately kill the tree. It seemed so improbable, that the worm was suffered to remain. Gradually it bored its way into the fibre of the tree, slowly but surely doing its work. The following summer the tree shed its leaves much earlier than usual, and in the second season it was a dead, worthless thing. The worm which seemed so very insignificant had found its way to the heart of the once noble tree and destroyed its life." How forcibly do we see this same thing illustrated in the common walks of every-day life. A young man is persuaded by his companions to take his first glass of wine. It seems like a little thing, but it is the beginning of a course of degradation and eternal shame. The clerk in the bank appropriates a few shillings of the funds entrusted to his care. One step leads to another, until at last he is arrested and cast into prison as a defaulter. A boy begins to practise little deceits at school or at home which, unless discovered and checked, will make him a base and unprincipled man. Such is the destructive power of little sins when the continued indulgence in them is practised.

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