“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Matthew 24:12)
Jesus, speaking to four of His disciples about the times just before His Second Advent, tells them that because sin will be so rampant, so commonplace in the last days that the love people once had for one another will become, for the most part, nonexistent.
The Greek word polys is translated into our English word as “many.” It’s used in numerous places throughout the New Testament denoting multitudes, great and very significant numbers. Imagine, if you can, a world made up of people thoroughly devoid of “love” for their fellow man.
I believe Jesus is alluding to today and the seven year Tribulation period that will begin just after the Rapture of His Church. It stands to reason that this “loveless” generation Jesus speaks about as being full of iniquity (wickedness) doesn’t just appear one day after the Rapture, but that societies would gradually migrate toward degeneracy and ultimately to a crescendo of rampant and overwhelming depravity.
In the verse above Jesus speaks of love which will wax (or grow) cold. Since we are living in the last days just prior to His return I believe that the lack of love for our fellow man has begun to spiral toward that final climax. I suppose, then, that it shouldn’t be surprising to biblically literate students of scripture when we see such cold heartedness infiltrating our society. But was Jesus including believers in that mix of folks whose love would progressively wax colder and colder?
What has happened to the once well known demeanor of those who profess to being born again? It seems, to me at least, that the once loving, caring attitude held by those who faithfully follow Jesus Christ is diminishing as we draw nearer to the last days before Christ’s return.
I’m talking about our attitude towards one another as we discuss biblical doctrine or other Christian issues. Discussion boards and forums are alive with debates and at times heated arguments ensue which are filled with angry words one might expect to hear from worldly people, but not Christians.
Christians belittling Christian’s using a tone of superiority that bodes only of pride. Where’s that come from if not from the world? Love thy neighbor as thy self seems to be losing its appeal in these last days. My brethren, this should not be so; loving one another is one of Jesus’ most frequently stated commandments for His followers to adhere to.
Because we can now enjoy much more frank discussions which span what once was considered almost impossible barriers, believers can now communicate with one another worldwide, instantaneously, and with little or no accountability. We can join and contribute to forums and use email to express ourselves and if we so desire we can accomplish this new form of communicating with complete anonymity.
As believer’s views are attacked by other believers they, in many instances, attack right back instead of responding in love. Over the past few years I’ve noticed an increased hostility amongst believers who disagree on Bible interpretation.
All of us are confronted almost daily with what seems to be knee-jerk reactions instead of well thought-out and studied responses made through a love for one another and thorough devotion to God’s truth. Where has all the love gone? It seems that among believers today when it comes to discussing God’s inerrant word, love has been jettisoned.
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another” 1 John 1:7.
How is true fellowship possible when the brethren continue in constant disagreement and strife?
Why must Christ’s church argue so? This unholy trend is not hard to see as we peruse various Christian websites and forums. The anger that persists in discussions among believers is very disheartening. At times the very hostility that once was relegated to the heartless, unbelieving, and lost world has now crept into the lives of many believers.
“Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.” (Mark 9:50)
We’re witnessing a chasm growing between Christians today. I believe this absence of love among the brethren can more easily be attributed to being conformed to the world than to a lack of Bible knowledge. Love is the bridge that will span any chasm no matter how big. Where is our Christian love? Are we to conform to the world or to Christ?
“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29)
The image of Christ is not seen in all this bickering.
The world is only going to corrupt its inhabitants, that’s all unbelievers can expect from this fallen, sin-filled world which they call their home. But believers don’t call planet earth home, we are only sojourners here and thus we should not become conformed to the world.
Certainly we aren’t to have the same self-absorbed and prideful attitude as the unbelieving masses. If we allow the world to dilute our souls and corrupt our hearts and minds we will become as hateful and eventually just as loveless as many of those who have no hope. Then where does that leave our Christian witness?
God gives discernment to those who diligently seek His counsel; most believers know this to be so. There are those who will listen to a Bible teacher or a pastor and take everything they say as truth, never to be questioned. Are these teachers and pastors always correct? Not necessarily. In Acts 17:11 Luke tells us to search the scriptures daily to see if what we are being taught is truly following the scriptures (paraphrase mine). By searching the scriptures for ourselves we learn to rightly divide the word of God.
The problem and how it’s affecting the Church today stems from biblically illiterate Christians who only parrot what they’ve heard or been taught. Because many will believe the false teachers of the day they will argue a false doctrine to the exclusion of all else. And when these arguments get heated what emerges is bitterness and mistrust. Satan must be eating this stuff up.
It seems that believers are moving away from following Jesus’ commandment to love one another and beginning to embrace worldly debate as well as confrontation. There’s no doubt, Christians are becoming conformed to this world.
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2)
I am completely aware of the need for correction today in the Church. But all correction should be tied directly to brotherly love. I’m convinced that Paul addresses the occasional need for correction in 2 Timothy:
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17)
God’s word does the correcting when it is interpreted as His literal, inerrant word. We love one another and therefore we instruct and correct with loving convicted hearts. There is no room for contention and strife amongst believers.
As followers of Christ our words and our actions should emulate Christ. If we have a disagreement with a brother about a certain verse in the Bible or even doctrine, we should consider the ramifications of a prolonged and heated public argument on a forum, such as how others might be adversely influenced. Discussion is one thing but when the discussion turns heated something is out of whack.
“He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.” (1 John 2:9)
In a public setting, such as a Christian forum, we should never allow heated arguments to develop. So to what may we contribute much of the bitterness and prideful attitudes being displayed today by believers? The very fact that believers are allowing some of the most depraved visual effects to permeate their minds these days is quite revealing.
The more we are confronted with evil passing itself off as entertainment the more our minds will become influenced and guided toward darkness. Television and movies are both culprits in guiding believers away from God. The internet has also become a huge influence in the lives of many believers and non-believers alike. Garbage in garbage out as the old saying goes. Although information is plentiful on the net it isn’t all edifying to the saints. We must beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing.
The unbelieving world is always placing Christians under a magnifying glass. It seems what they want more than anything else is to trip us up. The way we handle ourselves in a discussion can affect the non-believer either positively or negatively. As the world watches us they should see Christ in us.
But when the world sees us arguing, when they see our debate become so heated and filled with bitterness, that we now look no different than the rest of the world, the rejection of Jesus Christ becomes a whole lot easier. Instead of the possibility of gaining a new brother or sister in Christ, we’ve just tossed them back into the enemy’s camp.
There’s always going to be disagreements along the lines of Bible interpretation and Christian doctrine. All of Christendom, for one reason or another, simply won’t agree. If we are truly born again then we are brothers and sisters in Christ and Jesus is watching our every move. He can’t be pleased with the current trend towards bickering which in most instances ends up in an attitude of bitterness aimed at others in His family.
“And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.” (1 John 3:23)
Twice, in the verse above emphasis is placed on the fact that Jesus gave us a commandment, first that we should believe on His name and secondly we’re to love one another. We would do well to heed all His commandments.
Anytime we are in a discussion with anyone, love must never be replaced with anger. Anger will lead to hate. Jesus’ words come crashing down upon us whenever we forget one of His most basic tenets. “If ye love me, keep my commandments” John 14:15. Love one another.
Nothing constructive can be achieved through all the bickering and anger associated with believers debating different Bible interpretations. It will only lead to bitterness and that’s something no believer should allow into their hearts. Bitterness, hate, strife, confusion are all strongholds where the enemy will certainly take up residence.
As faithful believers we should always be prepared to take loving correction whenever it applies and even rebuke if applicable. But outright bitterness as an approach to one another in what started out as a simple discussion brings reproach on the Church as a whole. Arguing is wrong and divisive, and it might stumble a brother:
“He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.” (1 John 2:10)
Even worse is how this constant arguing will send unbelievers scurrying for cover anywhere but to the side of a Christian.
“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Matthew 24:12)
Even in His Church? God forbid!
God bless you all,