Because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. – Matthew 24:12
Ecclesiastes 8:11 When a crime is not punished quickly, people feel it is safe to do wrong.
2 Timothy 3:12-14
12 Indeed, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
13 But evil people and impostors will go from bad to worse. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived.
14 But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you.
The 21st century has seen a dramatic Trust Fall. A Trust Fall is a fairly universal collapse of trust. This trust fall is not limited to any particular social strata in society. The two main institutions with the greatest drop in trust are the government and media. How ironic that the government is tasked with making changes while the media often acts as its cheerleader.
For any society to function properly, social trust, that is the expectation that other people will do as they ought to most of the time, is essential. Webster defines trust as assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something. Social trust is faith in the people of the community. Ed Batista developed a simple formula for trust.
Trust = Motive + Reliability + Competence
During most of the 20th century, Americans expressed high faith in their institutions. A high point was 1964 when 77% of Americans said they trust that the federal government to do the right thing most of the time. After multiple moral convulsions, just 30 years later in 1994, only 20% of Americans felt that way.
In the 21st century, something tragic happened. The Trust Fall mutated into Explosive Distrust. Explosive Distrust is not just the absence of trust or detached alienation. Rather it is aggressive animosity and with an urge to destroy. Explosive Distrust carries with it the belief that anyone who disagrees with you is not simply wrong but illegitimate (Linda Huang, The Atlantic).
Distrust sows distrust. The distrust mindset is considered a spiritual state that has been dubbed anomie, a feeling of being disconnected from society, a feeling that the whole game is illegitimate, that you are invisible and not valued, a feeling that the only person you can unquestionably trust is yourself (Emile Durkheim).
Explosive Distrust is chilling, threatening. The Lord Jesus Christ speaks of such a disastrous situation rampant in the days leading up to His return.
REFLECT & PRAY
Children of the King are to be alert. They are to resist becoming lethargic and chilled by selfish lawlessness.
Father, I desperately need Your help to resist the oppressive force of lawlessness in our present age. How easy it is to allow my love to grow cold.
Matthew 24:3 “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
When the disciples asked the Lord Jesus Christ about the coming destruction of Jerusalem, He responds with a preview of the general conditions of the earth that precede it and also lead up to His return. He likens them to birth pains. Lawlessness is one of the many prophetic strands which characterizes the buildup to the eschatological climax, the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Matthew 24:12 Because lawlessness will increase so much, the love of many will grow cold.
The Greek word translated increase, abound is plethuno. Plethuno connotes more than simply being enlarged. It means being multiplied. In American 21st century colloquial slang, we would say supersized.
Lawlessness has a chilling, extremely discouraging effect. “Where lawlessness prevails selfish interests and personal concerns completely overshadow a loving regard for others” (Chouinard). “By definition, the lawless person is motivated by personal, selfish concerns, not by any regard for others or for the rules that govern our intercourse with one another” (Morris).
The Greek word translated grow cold is psucho. Psucho “means grow cool or cold, but, in connection with the imagery of fire or flame, go out, be extinguished, be snuffed out . . .. The verse has in view the failure rather than the weakening of love” (John Nolland). The Greek verbal form is passive. This means that “the many” in view receive the action, not initiate it. Their love is snuffed out, extinguished. What a somber and bleak picture of things to come.
Betrayal, suspicion, and hating one another are close companions of lost love (Matthew 24:10). What an awful climate to live in.
It is amazing, remarkable that the Scriptures so accurately describe many of the characteristics of the 21st century. This is what the Lord Jesus Christ said things would be like leading up to His second coming. They are the birth pains that bring to the end the current age and inaugurate the age to come.
“It’s cross now, crown then. It is labor now, delivery then. So be patient. Endure. Breathe in; breathe out. Trust that God will work everything for your good. That baby is soon to be born. And the hard and long labor will then all seem worth it” (Donnell).
Revelation 3:2 Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God.