“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” The latter part of Matthew 24:12 came up twice in the same day, so I thought that might be interesting to talk about together today. After all, Jesus says this as part of his response regarding how his disciples will know when the end of the world has come. When I am not going to do is turn this into a debate regarding the various ways of understanding Revelation or whether I believe we are in the end times, approaching the end times, beyond the end times or something else entirely. Rather, I want to talk about this idea of love of many waxing cold. I think that we see this abundantly clearly in our world right now.
As our world becomes further separated from God, the definition and source of the love, is it any surprise that our world will continue to wax colder? That may seem to be the obvious solution here, but we have to remember that we are always separated from God in our unrighteousness until we come to the foot of the cross for reconciliation. Naturally then if it is worth mentioning that the love of many will wax cold, that must mean that it is not individuals who will get any colder. However, more individuals will be cold. In other words, fewer people will be drawn to the love of Jesus Christ to be rescued from their frozen state. The difference is not in the degree of coldness but rather the number of people who will be cold.
It is our mission then as Christians to help people escape from their frozen state. We're supposed to help bring them to the love of Christ. We're supposed to help warm them up to continue the metaphor here. That's a challenge though because the rest of this passage in chapter 24 talks about all of the chaos that is going to be taking place in our world. People will be full of uncertainty, fear and iniquity as we see at the beginning of verse 12. These tendencies don't lend themselves towards a wholehearted embrace of Christianity necessarily. Many will also be deceived as we see earlier in the chapter, so they will be buying into some type of ideology that will be directly contrary to the Christian message. How do we break through all of these areas to try to communicate the Gospel to a culture that just doesn't understand?
This is where the power of cultural apologetics comes into play, and this is why these so important for all of us to recognize why stories matter. This is not just a question of stories as a means to an end. We're not trying to simply use stories. Rather, I'm trying to suggest that stories, by virtue of what they are, provide an avenue to share the Gospel with themselves. We don't want to turn them into weapons. That is how we end up with many manifestations of Christian, Amish romance novels or Christian movies that are often times lacking in quality. We try to force stories to be something that they are not. Rather, I am trying to suggest to that by telling good stories, we actually have a way to let the world see the Gospel through the story even if we do not explicitly spell it out for them in some giant altar call message at the end.
If one of the significant problems with our world is going to be that love is going to wax cold, then we need to help people find that love that they are going to be or are already missing. They are trying to find it in so many ways, but many of those ways seem to be unfulfilling. It is not just enough to tell them what love, for example, looks like. Instead, we have to show them. It has oftentimes been said that your testimony is the best way to show people the Gospel. That's true. The testimony of a changed life is powerful. But, it is powerful because it is a story. People connect to stories. That's how we get people to want what we have. That's how we get people to realize there is true love they are missing.
It is not just have to be my story though. There are so many great stories in the world, and they can communicate the Gospel truth as well. The radical part is that some of them even do it unintentionally. Some authors have no intention of pointing people towards for Gospel, but they put truth in their stories. All truth is God's truth. This does not mean that everything that people call truth is God's truth. However, if something is true, then it is true because God made it that way. Please understand that differentiation. I'm not taking the off the deep end into relativism.
Notice how this entire exercise ends. We use stories, either our own or other stories, even fictional ones, as a way to help people see truth. As people made in the image of God, they do desire truth. We are fallen and separated from God as I mentioned above, but it seems that many people end up coming to Christ when they realize what they are lacking and simultaneously see something that portrays what they desire. In this case, it seems like love is waxing cold. People want true, authentic love, and they chase it wherever they can, only to ultimately end up disappointed and wanting more.
I know this is kind of a nontraditional approach to apologetics, but if you want to wake people up and make them not so cold anymore, then we need to help them remember why they want to warm up in the first place. That's what we can do.