Depending on which end times camp you have pitched your tent of interpretation – whether the end happened in 70 AD or it’s happening now or will happen somewhere in the distant future, frankly, none of those opinions matter. What matters is what Jesus said would happen whenever the end finally comes.
“There will be such an increase of the sin of lawlessness that those whose hearts once burned with passion for God and others will grow cold” (Matthew 44:12). The words “once burned with passion” are sobering.
In the last eighteen months, I have seen believers who just weeks before were fellowshipping together, laughing and enjoying one another’s company, are now disgusted with each other over different opinions regarding the issues of politics and medical care. The current division is not over the deity of Christ, or His death and resurrection. It is over issues that will pass with time being displaced with yet another form of bait to entice us to bite the hook of division. Can you imagine what would happen if Jesus walked into these temples of opinion? He would pick up a whip and drive us away from our respective booths calling out to us as He chased us toward the nearest exit “What has overcome you that you would attempt to sell such things in My name?”
We may have entered what I would call the long way around. After the children of Israel were miraculously delivered from slavery in Egypt, they had to wander for 40 long years in the wilderness because of their unbelief. This wandering had a purpose. A generation of unbelief had to die off before they entered the Promised Land. While we know our salvation is secure in the finished work of the Cross of Christ, our dark attitudes that produce a cold version of love are always at work and in need of constant discipline. These cold expressions of love must die off along with any unresolved division or this generation will need to die off in a wilderness of unbelief and unloving attitudes while God raises a new generation with His heart who know how to love in the midst of diversity of opinion.
But, there is hope. There is always hope in the Lord. The verse that followed Jesus’ warning about a cold and passionless love carries a message of hope for those who are a remnant of love. “But hold your hope firmly to the end and you will experience life and deliverance” (Matthew 24:13).
In hyper-divisive times like the one in which we currently live, the Lord is asking us to hold onto the hope of His love and our love for each other – a love that will eventually overcome all that currently divides us. If we hold this hope firmly and are willing to put to death our loveless attitudes and repent of our division, we will see the deliverance of God. It is too easy to misplace our hope placing it in the resolution of earthly disputes that only create yet another cycle of frustration and resulting division. These expressions of false hope will never be able to deliver us from the sins of lawlessness that want to submerge our love and drown our witness in the waters of hatred and division.