In Matthew 24 the word, `many` is mentioned many times. Here is yet another example of the use of that word. Who are the `many` mentioned on this occasion? A clue is in the word,`love` here. The word in greek that is used for `love` in this sentence is `agape`. So one would assume that it is talking about Christians, as it would seem that we are the only ones who can experience `agape` love, which is the God-given kind of love. So the agape-love of many believers will grow cold. Why? Because of lawlessness.
What is lawlessness? It is a kind of anarchy, a free for all. Everything goes. And in our day and age, increasingly laws are being passed to give `freedom` to everyone to do what they want. Homosexual marriage, and adoption of children by homosexual couples. Certain drugs being legalised. Political correctness, which gives freedom to all, except the church. Is this a form of lawlessness? I believe so.
Falling away. In 2 Thessalonians, Paul talks about the Lord`s second coming. There were some believers who had heard from others that the return of Jesus had already happened, and that they were doomed to hell. Paul assured them that, that day cannot come, before the great falling away of believers has occurred, and not before the Antichrist has been revealed(more on him in a later post). So many Christians will backslide, and not return to the fold. That will happen. Very very sad. We as believers really need to know that BEFORE the return of Jesus many will fall away, and the antichrist will come. Again this is not the triumphalism of the church that can be heard in some fellowships at times. The church will suffer hardship, persecution, deception,betrayal by it`s own, a huge reduction in it`s numbers, and even deaths by it`s persecutors. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
Paul encourages us to fight the good fight, to run the race. He was not thinking of the 100 metre sprint. Rather a long distance race, say like a marathon. I have had the joy, privilege and pain of running 3 marathons. All of them were in London. It took me at best just over 3 hours. It was warm, sweaty, at times painful, but very rewarding. It would have been absolutely crazy to run off as fast as I could in the first 100 metres or so. You have to pace yourself, and think of what lies ahead. You also have to think of your fellow runners around you, as you cannot just run where you want. You don`t want to trip up others, or obstruct them. It is very important to take on liquids or refreshment along the way. There were many different nationalities running the marathon, people from 18 to 85 years of age, men and women, experienced and novice runners. Yet all those who completed the entire race (no matter how long it took them) received a prize. There were those who dropped out for one reason or another, but if they endured to the end and achieved their goal of finishing, they received a medal (and goody bag, and T-shirt). Maybe that`s what we should be like in our faith with God. And our reward is far greater than anything we can have here on Earth. Being eternally in His presence, and seeing Him in all His glory will be a wonderful thing. That is our future, that is our reward, if we endure to the end, no matter what.
Okay, so why does God allow many to be deceived, or to fall away. I believe it is for the purification of the church, the bride of Christ. Also Paul mentions about things being tested by fire. Things like gold, silver and precious stones will remain. Things like hay, stubble and chaff will be burnt up. All those things in the church that are like chaff…man-made institiutions, denominations, ungodly wisdom etc will be burnt up. What they will be will be like an empire of dirt. Yet God`s kingdom will shine all the brighter, and His saints will be glorified in Him through purification.