Jesus, when speaking of the last days said in Matthew 24:12: “And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold”
I’m fairly certain that nowhere in the Bible does it say or even hint that to be lawless is a good thing. It’s never much of a compliment. Seeing where this generation has come to with regards to lawlessness is most certainly an indication of where things must be in God’s timeline. But what “laws” are we talking about? I firmly believe we talking aboutthe Ten Commandments.
In this Age of Grace many say that we are no long under the ‘law’. They quote Peter out of context and disregard many other passages he and Paul wrote.
“Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God” (1 Peter 2:16).
“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!” (Romans 6:5).
In a nutshell, the small ‘l’ laws are the requirements that Moses had given – such as circumcision and eating kosher food, along with a host of other lesser known regulations (see Exodus chapters 21 to 23). Not to mention the law requiring the offering of blood animal sacrifices to cover sin and to honor the Lord. Though many of these dietary laws are still beneficial, and circumcision is medically provento begood idea, these things won’t get you to heaven. And the blood of an animal was only a poor and temporary substitute. Only the blood of Jesus can perfectly absolve us of sin.
Living “under the law” meant keeping the regulations so that you would be considered as obedient to the Lord and walking rightly before Him. Yet it was nearly impossible to keep them all and to be found totally blameless in the end. We all need a Savior. The law proved that. Yet in our day we have done exactly what Paul warned not to do in taking this freedom to mean we can do as we please now since we live by the “spirit of the law.”
While in truth it is actually harder to keep the spirit of the law than it is to keep the letter. And we don’teven realize that there is a difference between God’s Ten Commandments and the “laws.” Giving a blunt example to exaggerate my point: Can an abortion doctor get to heaven even though he calls himself a Christian?
Looking at it another way, keeping the Ten Commandments won’’ get you to heaven and we can’t do anything to maintain our salvation, but NOT keeping them certainly would be a mark against us. Or possibly lead to “disqualification.” Paul wrote:
“ Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).
The Lord God is a righteous judge. If you keep on sinning (breaking the Law in other words) what other forgiveness is there once the blood of Jesus has been depreciated?
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left (Hebrews 10:26).
“If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.” (2 Peter 2:20-22).
Another often misquoted verse is this one, from Jesus:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17).
Jesussaid that He did not come to abolish the Law (Commandments). So “fulfilling” is not the same as “abolishing.” I for one would not like to see any of the Ten be nullified or abolished.
But to make it ultra-clear as to what “fulfill” means, here are a few definitions from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
1. To make full
2 a: to put into effect
b: to meet the requirements of
c: to bring to an end
d: to measure up to
3 a: to convert into reality
b: to develop the full potentialities of
Since Jesus had just said twice in the same breath that He didn’t come to abolish the law, you can disregard( 2-c).
Perhaps the most telling indicator then to the degree of our lawlessness, is the absolute disregard for God’s perfect Law: The Ten Commandments.
Exodus 20 lists the Ten Commandments. They were verbally given to Moses to then give to the people of Israel in the desert of Sinai. Soon afterward they were written in stone (not once but twice) by the very hand of the Lord on Mt. Sinai. So the children of Israel were without excuse when they sinned, with the golden calf idol while waiting for Moses to return with the tablets.
But I contend that the Commandments were in effect from the foundation of the earth and written on men’s hearts from the very beginning. We have always been without excuse. They will never pass away, even after the Rapture. They are in fact written on the hearts of men:
“For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus” (Romans 2:14-16).
From the Second Commandment:
“..for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
One of the most profound aspects of the Ten Commandments is that God says He is “a jealous God” implying of course that He loves us. While on the other hand, Jesus said that we are actually commanded to love God in keeping the first four.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30).
So let’s take a look at what the Lord commanded… and then consider how far away we have come today.
First Commandment: Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Before anything else existed He was God. There is nothing above Him. Actually do yourself a favor and read Genesis 1 and take it literally as it was intended. It was not written as an allegory and not supposed to be taken figuratively. It’s not a fairy tale nor a fable, as you might find in false religions. It is clear and concise. He is God. That’s how He did it.
And of course from 1 John 1:1 regarding Jesus:
“That [Jesus] which was from the beginning…”
But today, we say “I am.” We call it “Mother Earth.” We fill our empty hearts with alcohol, sports, music, hobbies etc…What other gods have our attention and energy most of the time?
What do we spend our money on?
Second Commandment: Thou shall not make any graven images.
From the first moment that God created this physical dimension and mankind, it has been possible for us to create something with our own hands and then adore it, or worship it: Statues, pyramids, monuments to our achievements. Anything that looks good.
But today, we worship created things like never before. Many “Christians” of course still pray to statues and revere the brick and mortar buildings they worship in. But wrongful worship extends to living creatures too. We are “fans” and we “idolize” people, collecting their images and we hunger to know intimate details of their lives. They are “rock stars.” We even think our pets go to heaven because they are so important to us. They eat better than most people in third world countries, and matter more to us.
Third Commandment: Thou shall not take the name of the Lord in vain.
The Hebrews didn’t dare pronounce His name out of fear, even though it was not actually forbidden by the Lord to call on His name. When copying the scriptures they would even bathe and make a new writing utensil before writing out God’s name. Even to this day many Jews refuse to use vowels when writing L-rd or G-d or Y-HW-H.
But today, one of the most common phrases/acronyms in use is OMG. I gasp when I hear Christians saying this. It’s one of the main reasons I left a church a few years back. The pastor kept yelling it into the microphone when she got excited. Each and every Sunday.
The name of the Lord Jesus Christ is invoked as perhaps the most common swear word in the western world. And in a myriad of forms: Jeez, sheesh, gosh, dadgum to name a few. Cheez Whiz anyone?
Fourth Commandment: Remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy.
The 7th Day is an eternal testament to God’s creative power and genius. He did it all in 6 days and knew we would need to be reminded of it. And He wants us to take time for relationship with Him. The way He commands it, not the way we want to when it fits our schedules.
“From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the Lord” Isaiah 66:23).
This passage indicates that it will be for ALL time. It has mattered to God from the first week and it will always matter to Him. Adam and Eve were there for the first Sabbath (btw).
Calendar months and years and the names of the days have all been changed multiple times. Yet there has ALWAYS been a 7 day week. Never have the descendants of Israel ever missed a Sabbath. Amazing. It’s something else we should thank them for.
It is my opinion that most organized Christian churches for hundreds of years have mistakenly called Sunday the Lord’s Day and have substituted it for the 7th day Sabbath; with zero Scripture to back up this tradition of man. It is actually rooted in anti-Semitism and dates to the time of Emperor Constantine (300 years after the first Christians). Even then, we don’t keep that day holy or give it to the Lord.
But today, we do not refrain from worldly entertainment and commerce on any day at all. We leave the church and drive down the street to eat at restaurants. Then we watch the ball game or the dog show on TV. We catch a matinee.
With that in mind, let me point out that it’s so much easier to tithe than it is to keep the Sabbath… But the Lord said that it is better to obey than it is to sacrifice. Tithing is NOT even a commandment. Yet sermons on tithing outnumber even the mention of the Sabbath from the pulpit by a thousand to one. And we wonder why there is no power or anointing in our church services. God wants your time more than your money.
Love Your Neighbor as Yourself
Fifth Commandment: Honor your father and mother.
Next to the Sabbath this may be the most forgotten Commandment. There is a major false religion out there (not worth mentioning by name) that has distorted the meaning of honor and has been known to kill children for ‘dishonoring’ the family name. But honoring is something that cannot be forced and has a lot to do with relationship.
Today, our images of parents are distorted by the worst TV caricatures. Especially fathers. Unmarried dad’s are often portrayed as over-opinionated and under-informed, leering and selfish, knuckle dragging hedonists. Funny, but only a couple of decades ago many TV fathers were just the opposite.
It’s quite common nowadays for children to say terrible things about their parents for all the world to see on social media websites. Many children are now living in single parent homes. The state has become the parent. The state doesn’t like it when you home-school your children…
This is how society breaks down and decays.
Sixth Commandment: Thou shall not murder.
When Cain murdered Abel he knew he had violated God’s law and he was condemned in his own heart. He was without excuse even though written language was not yet in existence and there is no record of God having told them not to kill each other.
1 John 3:15 says that if we hate someone it is murder in our heart:
“Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.”
But today, we abort babies, flush embryos, euthanize the elderly. Suicide is on the rise.
We watch murder on TV and in movies all the time. It’s such common entertainment and hardly gets a reaction anymore, getting more realistic and gruesome by the day. We get to stare at bodies that are in various stages of decomposition, just for realistic effect. I personally never want to see the inside of a morgue while I have breath in me.
We play violent video games that harden our hearts and damage young developing minds.
The nightly news has become a strange form of entertainment and we are glued to it when there are reports of disasters and deaths. The greater the number of deaths the more interesting. Like we are hoping for a shattering new record. We may not even be enjoying it, but it sure gets our attention and sells advertising time.
Seventh Commandment: Thou shall not commit adultery.
In Matthew 5:28 Jesus said if we look with lust, it is adultery in our hearts.
Our high divorce rates result in adultery according to Jesus: Half of all marriages end this way. Yet it isn’t much of an impedance to gaining a position in church anymore.
Today we pay actors to have physical relationships on-screen and we are voyeurs. We pay them to commit adultery. But God doesn’t see it as “just acting.” We hear all the time of the broken lives and marriages in Hollywood as the result of their profession. Ask the Lord what His definition of “pornography” is. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Speaking of which, we have porn at our fingertips, one click and a few milliseconds away. Adultery is a billion dollar industry.
Eighth Commandment: Thou shall not steal.
Stealing in Jesus’ time was much more easily identified. And the tax man was lumped into that category by then already. Tax collectors and other sinners…
Today we watch it in movies and on TV as entertainment. (Next best thing to murder.)
Our government is rife with corruption and overtaxes us like never before, and then redistributes just enough of it to look benevolent. Or gives to other nations who use it to arm themselves.
Most folks have security systems. More than a few have video surveillance out of fear of coming home and having their laptop and 52″ flat-screen go missing. House sitting is a growing industry. You’d never leave your car unlocked even to go pay for your gas.
You can even have your identity stolen now…
Ninth Commandment: Thou shall not bear false witness.
Lying about someone, especially in the form of gossip is nothing new.
But today, misinformation abounds! Conspiracy theories are the norm. Trust is rare. The “legal system” is broken and cannot rightly be called a “justice system.” Victims have fewer rights than criminals do. Cyber-bullying is epidemic. Gossip is an industry. More people read the rags they see at the grocery checkout than read the newspaper. More people watch gossip ‘entertainment’ shows than watch the news.
And it’s more than lying about your human “neighbor” I would have to say. Perhaps the most lied about nation is Israel. Online comments on news stories often turn to lies about Israel even if the article is about a meteor exploding over Russia.
Tenth Commandment: Thou shalt not covet.
When the Commandments were written you could list the things to be coveted on a single piece of parchment, double spaced and indented. Even in Jesus’ day the list wasn’t much longer.
But today we have commercials and programs that are designed to create dissatisfaction. We are ‘consumers’ and have record debt loads to show for it. How many people have garages but can’t park in them?
The goal of all advertising is to make you crave and be dissatisfied. We love things more than people and have trouble being happy for others who have nice stuff. Any ‘successful’ business person can attest to that.
There is much talk of wealth redistribution nowadays.
There are more and more “laws” being written by people who make a living just to write more laws. America is said to be a nation of criminals because it is so absolutely impossible to know all of the legislation being heaped onto her people continually. Most other countries aren’t much different.
Funny, many of these new laws are because we keep finding ways to get away with things that are morally wrong but don’t quite seem to fit the letter of the law. It’s about our hearts but somehow our generation has missed that and keeps trying to hit a moving target with just the right wording. It has also been said that you can’t legislate morality.
Those of us who still believe there is a devil realize that the enemy of our souls is a legalist and an accuser. That old serpent can have legal ground and can petition the Lord to cause you trouble. Just as he did with Job. Sometimes he doesn’t have any legal grounds of course. But if we realize that he can have a legal right to mess with us, then that actually infers that there are laws that do matter, and he knows it very well.
He definitely can accuse us of having broken God’s Laws. Any one of the Perfect Ten. The enemy of your soul knows what it means ‘to be found ready” and will do everything he and his fallen angels can to keep you from being found in that “ready” state.
This is surely the generation that is lawless (in behavior) like no other. Those biblical references to lawlessness are a warning that we must keep some Law, or be found in disfavor with the Lord (at the very least). So I’ll let Him have the last word:
“Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them. Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.
My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. All this I have spoken while still with you.’
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’
If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.”