“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved.” Matthew 24:12,13 KJV
Sometimes the Bible brings a message that is chilling. This is one of those times.
We might dismiss the warning, if it had not come from the lips of the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
We might think the words are not meant for us if we were living in less troubling times. Instead, we find ourselves staring at what Jesus was describing.
To wax is the old word for to grow. To wane is the old word for to diminish. So, we understand that wickedness will greatly increase. We might, then, expect to hear that love will wane, will decrease.
Instead, Jesus said that love will grow cold. That paints a more-chilling picture. It reminds us of a body that once was warm with life and now is growing cold with death.
It shows the cause and effect of the troubling times in which we live.
We have seen iniquity abounding, have we not? Sin has been woven into human lives for generations before us. History shows us the pictures of troubled times past. Evil has waxed and waned over time. But isn’t it true that few doubt that today it is growing?
Few would deny that love is lessening—not when we see the crime reports, the child abuse statistics, and listen to the political talk.
We live at a time when love is waxing cold.
The disciples had asked Jesus, “What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
He told them. He blended a picture of the end of the nation of Israel, brought about by the Romans, into a description of the end of the world, brought about by Jesus. If we see the end of Israel was horrendous, we should know the end of the world will be worse: “The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.” (v. 29)
Could it be that we are living in the troubling times just before this happens? Are the hands of the clock for the world’s existence about to reach midnight?
They might be.
But the message was not given to prompt us to speculate exactly when the world will end. It was relayed so that we might better understand the times we are living in. The warning is to prepare us for what will happen.
The end will come. Our earthly life will end either when our eyes close in death or when they see Jesus returning on the clouds of glory.
That is not all bad. It is no reason to be sad. Jesus prepares us for a happy ending. He added the words: “But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved.”
The words, “The end is coming!” are welcome words. Comforting words. Even, exciting words— for the followers of Jesus.
Saint Luke quotes the Savior as saying about the end times, “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:25).
This is not a time for fear or despair. These are the types of days Jesus spoke of. We can be confident that our redemption is drawing close. We have seen the signs.
We have seen love waxing cold.
Then, isn’t it time for us to stand up for Jesus, just as the famous hymn bids us? After all, we are Soldiers of the Cross.
Are we not?
We pray: Lord Jesus, Savior of the nations, open our eyes to read the signs of the times. Open our hearts to accept your words of warning and comfort. Send the Holy Spirit into our lives that our love for you and others may wax warm. Grant this for Your holy name’s sake. Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military