Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold
In Matthew 24 Jesus elaborates on the signs of the end times after being asked about it by his disciples, resulting in a series of signs being foretold. Years have come and gone since the time of Jesus, and we come to see the fulfillment of some of the signs mentioned by Jesus. Perhaps more importantly, in telling us them things would happen, Jesus was essentially his disciples to be prepared and productive so that they will be able to handle these things when they come. Likewise for us. In this study, we will look into the trend of sin and wickedness and how they will only escalate as time passes.
Because of the increase of wickedness – I would think that the increase of wickedness here means a few things:
- The increase of the persecution and the hatred against Christians and against the gospel of Christ by persecutors.
- The increase of false teachers, heresies and apostates.
- The increase of sin caused by a twisted sense of morality due to the desperate circumstances of many.
- The increase of hypocritical faith in the Lord by Christians.
If we look at this verse in context, surely things like deceit and persecution were meant by the term wickedness. This list isn’t exhaustive, and surely you’ll be able to think of more things being referred to when Jesus said the increase of wickedness, but by and large, it would be these four things, especially in those days. Wickedness will only increase in this sinful, material world of ours. We cannot realistically expect that a world plunged in sin will see its wickedness reduced. But what Jesus speaks of is perhaps of a future much further in the distance, towards the end of times.
the love of most will grow cold – I take heart in the term ‘most‘ – because it gives us hope. The love of most will grow cold is a sad, sad prospect, but I think everything we’re doing now would be meaningless if Jesus had said that the love of all will grow cold. I do not doubt the massiveness of the word ‘most‘ – I imagine it to be an immense number of people, but even if there were just a very small number of people whose heart still beats out of genuine love and reverence to the Lord in these sad, sad times, I think we can afford to bear the hope that should these times of destruction happen in our lifetime, we could be one of these minority. There is hope, that in the midst of overwhelming iniquity there will be some – hopefully us – who will stand firm in faith and not waver despite the horrible circumstances. We don’t have to wait till the end of time to see such a phenomenon. Even today, the most zealous worship leader, the most prayerful elder, the most fervent pastor – even those who seem to be the holiest amongst us today can waver and fall in times of difficulty. What more in times of great violence and persecution as depicted by Christ, certainly the zeal of many for Christ will be greatly damped. Imagine – enemies all around you, people who were once your friends had turned their backs on you, and you don’t know who to trust. Pastors are beginning to say strange things that do not sound like proper doctrine, and you don’t know who to listen to anymore. Sin is abundant, and you are pressured to follow in their direction. And worse of all, it doesn’t seem like God is doing anything about the situation. The love of many – most – will grow cold. How do you love others when they are unlovely? How do you love God when you’re no longer sure of his sovereignty?
those whose love will not grow cold – we were not told about such people, but if the love of most will grow cold, there must be a few whose love won’t grow cold. And these few are the ones mentioned by Christ in the next verse – but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved [Mt 24:13]. Said like a true prophet. Jesus, as much as he is our saviour, he is the Son of God, as much as he is the king of kings and the Lord of Lords, he is also a prophet. And prophets have a certain style to their prophecies – they must have studied it in prophecy school or something – they tend to say some really scary and gruesome negative things before they bring us back to the Lord in hope and promise. And in this faith of ours, there is no bigger promise and hope that that of salvation.
Has your love gone cold? Your love for God, your love for God’s words, your love for your neighbors. As the wickedness in this world increases, as the level of wicked acts around you increases, does the level of wickedness in your heart increase as well? Yes, perhaps you do not actively sin just because there’s a lot of sin going on everywhere around you now. But has your heart grown cold to the love that you ought to possess, the love that will motivate you and give you a reason to spread the gospel to these neighbors of yours? Or perhaps your love for God has gone cold, and you are no longer interested. One of the most saddening things as a Christian is to see another christian back-slide and eventually give up on God.
Please let not your love grow cold.