Revelation 11:18 tells us "the nations were angry", and as time marches on towards the eventual return of Jesus, we will see anger growing as a main element of society, and even as it says, whole nations.
Also remember Matthew 24:12, which says "Because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will turn cold."
Jesus chose very specific words in this verse, and it reads like something from our modern news. The Greek word 'lawlessness' is 'anomian', from 'anomos', which is where we get 'animosity', and THAT means 'a disregard for proper authority', resentment, anger. Animosity will abound - that disregard for law (and anger towards) traditions will abound, causing the love of people to turn cold.
The word Jesus used for 'love' is agape', unconditional love, and the word used for 'turn cold', means 'to blow across to cool', describing how one might blow across their bowl of hot soup or hot cup of coffee to cool it down a bit.
That is the process Jesus said would happen in the last days. Because animosity would abound, a disregard for authority (laws, traditions, customs), the unconditional love of many will gradually be cooled, as one blowing across something hot. It describes a gradual process of the winds of animosity blowing across peoples' love to cool that love.
That means those that walk with God will stand out as people of love, and that distinction between those who love and those whose love has turned cold, will become increasingly obvious. They will know us by out love!
Agape' is unconditional love, and part of the quality of unconditional love includes making allowances for one another, patience, kindness, gentleness, the desire to 'take the high road' as we say, which means that though you could retaliate you choose to remain quiet and just do the right thing - that quality in the people and nations, will gradually disappear in the same way blowing across a bowl of hot soup gradually cools it. But our love will increase in our hearts, causing us to become obvious to those around us - simply because our love has not cooled off. Amazing...
We started with Romans 1:21 and 28
These verses tell us there are people who do not want to retain God in their knowledge, that they don't want to acknowledge Him as God (Creator), so because they don't want Him, He releases them to think all sorts of thoughts that are completely lacking in anything God. That is what they wanted, so He must, due to free will, honor them.
Let us read the kinds of thoughts a person has who has rejected God in their knowledge, for again, it reads like the headlines of a news report, or the content of a movie or TV show. Romans 1:28-31:
"And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God or consider Him worth knowing (as their Creator), God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do things which are improper and repulsive, until they were filled (permeated, saturated) with every kind of unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, and mean-spiritedness."
"They are gossips, (spreading rumors), slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors (of new forms) of evil, disobedient and disrespectful to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful (without pity)." (Amplified Version)
There are a total of 23 vices listed in the Greek, too many to go into in detail here. However, a few of the words are worth looking at in more detail for our little study, for they describe perfectly what we see in so many people today.
First, they reject the idea of God, and that God is Creator. (evolution) The word 'depraved' in 'depraved mind' in Greek is 'adokimon' meaning literally 'Not standing the test'. It is a startling statement, meaning literally that "Man has tested God and disapproved of Him." To say it another way, "They have in their mind tested God, and rejected Him."
Other descriptions include:
Once a person tests God in their mind and disapproves of Him, they start thinking thoughts absent of anything that is God:
'..things which are improper and repulsive' is 'kathekonta' which comes from 'kata', a 'bad', and 'heko', which means 'to be in the present'. So it means that doing things improper and repulsive isn't just something they do, it is their very presence brings bad with them. Wherever they are, it is bad.
Other descriptors are 'gossip' which in Greek implies secrecy and cliques, like high school groups only including people like them in their group: The cheerleaders, the athletes, the geeks, the nerds, the 'rough crowd', and so on. Each like a secret little group not allowing others in. That is the meaning behind 'gossip' here. That is a mark of the ungodly, divisiveness.
Also, 'slanderers' which is open lies about a person coupled with accusation. 'Insolent' is the Greek word 'hubrizo' where we get hubris, meaning excessive pride and arrogance. 'Boastful' comes from 'alazonas' which means wandering around and carries with it the idea of wandering pretenders, braggarts focused on self and how life is all about them. Narcissists.
I should note that verse 31, "...without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful" would be better understood as the Revised Standard Version translates it which is literal: "...foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless."
If that doesn't describe many people today I don't know what does, and it explains how they became the way they are.
The purpose of the 3 part study has been to provide insight into what is happening to society, and why the bad seem to be getting so much more bad, and some in the body of Christ itself seems to be separating into those who are the remnant, the core, the balanced ones truly walking with the Lord, and those who are off-balance, focused on things which divide rather than unite. As seen above, as the love of many turns cold, our love will abound, creating a noticeable distinction between unbelievers and believers - our love only increases as we grow in Christ, while others around us see their love grow cold.
If I may paraphrase something my friend Steve observed: Unity of the faith doesn't mean we all agree on everything, it means we are mature enough to lay aside the things which would separate us, in order to focus on Who we have in common, the Lord Jesus.
No more sitting on the fence post people, undecided about where we stand with God. Focus on love, and increasing that love of God and man!
Next weeks, the chronological order of the week leading up to the cross and resurrection, and why. Until then, blessings,
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