Check out these red letters from the gospel of Matthew:
Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold. - Matthew 24:12 NASB
There is an interesting cause and effect wrapped up in this statement. I haven’t noticed this before this morning, but as I was reading through Jesus’ “Olivet Discourse” this ‘if-then’ relationship struck me. I guess in the past I saw both of these as conditions that would increase as the day of the Lord drew nearer.
But since the Lord has linked them it means that not only will this be a quality of later days, one would cause the other.
Please hear me, I am not—NOT—advocating any kind of legalism. In fact the only law I would advocate in a new covenant life is the law of love, with its two tenets;
And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." - Luke 10:27 ESV
Here’s how I see this playing out. As we allow our love for our neighbor to diminish, our love for the Lord begins to fade. As community in the Church weakens, our faith and hope slide with it. Peter called us to authentic or ‘unfeigned’ love of the brethren. As our relationships in the body of Christ become more and more superficial, our dependence on the Lord dwindles.
We’ve seen this for years where church relationships went no deeper than a handshake on a Sunday morning. It get’s worse as real, believing Christians extract themselves from community and do church on the internet or TV—pajama church.
I know the Lord's words are pointing more toward society as a whole, and it’s clear that it applies there too. As we embrace lawlessness, the love and fear of the Lord clearly is shrinking in our society.
But how is it in you? In me? Is disregard for neighbor, for fellow laborer, degrading your intimacy with the Lord, your desperation for His presence in your life?
Lord, help me, us, to care for and love your body. Put your heart in me, us, today. Help me to see my neighbor and love him, her, the way I love myself, the way You love them.
Bless the Lord!