1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. ~2 Timothy 3:1-5
Denying the power of godliness is not a reference to miracles, healing, visions, and other supernatural experiences. It is a reference to godliness in contrast to ungodliness, just as the context, referenced above, clearly reveals.
Unfortunately many professing Christians are falling into this category, embracing a particular theory of “imputed righteousness” while rejecting the power of the living Christ to produce the fruit of godly and holy character in their lives.
They have embraced a “fantasy righteousness” rather than true righteousness which guides the life of the believer with conviction under the power of the Holy Spirit.
This fantasy righteousness makes no demands on them – no demands to forsake their sin. In this fantasy righteousness, they believe God has projected onto them a righteousness from Christ with no expectation of a changed life for the glory of God. No such righteousness exists in the scriptures.
Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. ~ 1 John 3:7
This fantasy righteousness is deception because it is void of the power of the gospel which changes a man into the likeness of Christ.
Christ did not save us to leave us in our sins. Christ saved us to deliver us from our sins. Sin is not a fantasy. Sin is the power of darkness at work in the heart, and minds of men, expressing itself in wickedness, ungodliness, and unrighteousness. Sin affects the whole person: our heart, our minds, and our conduct.
Jesus came to deliver us from sin’s power, not in some mystical, fanciful sort of way, but in a real life changing way.
He that committeth sin (habitually practices sin) is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the works of the devil. ~ 1 John 3:8
The works of the devil which are destroyed by the power of Christ is the habitual practice of sin in our lives. Contextually, this is what John is referring to.
In his first epistle, the apostle Peter says the following:
13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
16 Because it is written, be ye holy; for I am holy. ~ 1 Peter 1:13 -16
One who claims to have “imputed righteousness” while denying the fruit of holiness and godly character through the power of Christ, has either not experience the saving grace of God, or has turned away from it.
Jesus gave his life so that we could be cleansed by his blood from our old sinful lives, and live according to the will of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Christian is called to glorify God with the fruit of holy and righteous character by the power of Christ. This is why Jesus saved us.