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What a strange world we now live in. We are called upon to stay apart which will someday, somehow, bring us all together. I don’t know how this actually works, but I think those who say it mean that if we all keep from killing each other by social distancing and wearing masks, eventually, we will be able to be together again and live in—what—peaceful harmony?

I realize COVID-19 can be deadly for folks of my age. I don’t want to kill anyone, so I wear a mask when necessary and try to social distance, although having coffee with a friend across a small table makes that impossible. But like you, I try. However, I don’t think the promise of bringing us together again after COVID-19 goes away will ever come to pass. You may smile at me as we pass on a sidewalk, but as soon as you find out about what I believe, you may turn away from me in disgust. Or yell at me. Or attack me. If I had the temerity to post online that I reject many “woke” beliefs, it’s possible I would experience a deluge of hate. Well, maybe not a deluge. I am not famous, so almost no one knows about my beliefs. However, I have seen enough vitriol spewed toward those who are well known to make that easy conclusion. What surprises Christians is that universally accepted biblical Christian beliefs about family, adultery, promiscuity, homosexuality, transsexuality (which few even thought seriously about until recently except as an aberration), and even the equality of races have flipped in just a few years and are met with ridicule, hatred, and even violence.

However, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Jesus prophesied about this two thousand years ago.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24:9–13).1

Lawlessness, Jesus said, will be increased. This is not only rioting, looting, and burning. It is about the above list of sins and the rejection and hatred of Christian morality. By “lawlessness” Jesus meant a departure from the laws of God.

But why is it true that the increase of lawlessness causes the love of many to grow cold?

That’s a great question, and I think many Christians are experiencing the answer within themselves. There’s a lot of hatred to go around for anyone who wants to jump in, and I can feel it impinging upon my soul. It is a life-decaying danger. We must resist this hatred and obey Jesus’ command to love our neighbor. It is bizarre that we must be encouraged not to hate our neighbors.

However, like I said, it’s a strange world we now live in.

Hatred is present and available because it is a sign of the last days, as Jesus said. The entire 24th chapter of Matthew is about the signs of His return. Love growing cold is only one of these signs. However, as Jesus said, “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates” (Matthew 24:32–33).

The love-growing-cold leaves are budding out.

I encourage my brothers and sisters not to yield to the hatred that is wrapping round us like a lethal fog. We must reject “worldly passions” as Paul wrote to Titus and live “upright and godly lives.” Jesus is our peace. He is our hope. We have no other, and we wait for that blessed hope from heaven. Remain steadfast. Ask the Lord for help. This kind of love does not come naturally.

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11–14).

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

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