|Posted by donnadawson on March 21, 2009 at 4:49 PM|
"Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." Matthew 24:12-14 NIV
Oh this portion of scripture is SO loaded with all kinds of bits of information that we often skim past. It begins with an obvious and sad truth. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold. How do we define wickedness? Is it murder? Is it theft? Or maybe child abuse? Yes, these are all wickedness but there is a deeper wickedness that we should strive to shun with everything that is in us and I can't help but wonder if this is the wickedness of which Jesus talks. That being the maligning of scripture.
The Bible is God's word--his authority--his reputation. It is as though he has spoken it into being--and he has. If I were to tell everyone that you weren't who you say your are, wouldn't you be offended? It's your reputation I'm dealing with. Your word. You'd confront me (I hope) and would challenge my falsehoods. You would stand up for yourself for the sake of truth. And yet, increasingly, mankind is doing exactly that to God. We take his word and we twist it and rework it to say what we want it to say for our own benefit. Did he really say that his grace was sufficient? Did he really say that Jesus is the only way to God? Is God really a father? Does he really hate sin? With each softening of God's commands--with each lowering of his standards we committ the most offensive wickedness there is. This wickedness has moved upon society on a global scale only in the past century. Yes, history has gone through its corruptions, don't get me wrong. We have the Puritans and their tortuous methods. We have the Spanish inquisition, the crusades--all movements that were fanatisism at its worst. And yes, we even had sects of the church that altered scripture in order to gain power. But the changing of God's word has not happened in history in such a large scale movement as it has today.
Christianity comes in two flavours these days. There are the 'did God really say' kind who want God to be a mother who loves everything we do and doesn't have a judgemental bone in her body. And then there are those who hold fast to scripture and are convinced that it is unchanging. The love of most has grown cold because love is committment. It isn't just a warm fuzzy feeling. We commit to love Christ because he is deserving and we are not. We commit to love our spouses even when they tick us off because love is a choice. We commit to loving each other as believers even when we fall because we are commanded to do so. But the majority of the world's societies are choosing to place their allegiance in a god of compromise--one of self-satisfaction and earthly power.
Jesus clearly saw that this time would come and he told us to stand firm to the end and be saved. What did he mean by that? Is a committment to Christianity a guarantee of salvation? No. But a committment to the God of the Bible who was the author of true Christianity guarantees it. When we stand firm in the truth of His scripture we stand firm in the promises of salvation through grace in Ephesians 2:8 & 9. It isn't an easy journey. We will offend those who want God to be something other than who He is. And Jesus promises that our stand will be rewarded.
He then goes on to say that the gospel will spread to all the corners of the earth and then the end will come. The disciples in later years were certain that the end was near as Christianity spread rapidly through the Roman Empire. It was what fed Paul's confidence that Christ would return 'soon'. Yet we know what the disciples did not--that the Roman Empire was NOT the whole world. We have made our world a small place to live thanks to modern technology. In no other time has there been global television, radio, satelite, computer. And in no other time, because of these things, has there been the ability to spread God's word globally. Are there still parts of the earth that have not been reached? Yes there are. But those closed doors are quickly beginning to open because of technology. In view of that little tidbit alone, we should be very aware that 'the end' is soon. Jesus made the statement. Not me. Not a disciple. Not a teacher from a later time in the Christian church. Christ himself laid the rules down. As we watch technology take over our planet we should be reminded to stand firm. As satelite imaging steals our freedom (I could see myself standing in my backyard on an internet satelite image), as lawlessness increases, as faith decreases, stand strong. Christ has said the end will come and he doesn't lie.