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Although the winter in Toronto is much longer and colder than many places, I am grateful to live in this blessed city. The crime rate in Toronto was used to be low, but in recent years, shooting and hate crimes have been on the rise – this worries and saddens me.
Moral decline is a major trend in the world; like global warming, this is a situation that cannot be easily reverted. Such a belief is derived from the Lord Jesus’s prophesy. He says, 12And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. (Matthew 24:12 ESV)
1) The Phenomenon of Lawlessness
What is “lawlessness”? It can be interpreted as transgression or lawlessness.
End Times Phenomenon
Before the Lord Jesus is about to return to earth, lawlessness will be increased sharply. Sinful activities will become more and more prominent – a phenomenon that must occur in the last days. At that time, people will defy human and divine laws. Back in the good old days, the crime rate in Canada was really low. In those days, people didn’t have to worry about unlocked doors of houses and cars. But nowadays, even houses equipped with the most advanced alarm systems, burglars aren’t scared to break into these homes. If you didn’t lock the doors of your expensive car today – congratulations, you might become a new car owner again. Once upon a time, there are laws written in human hearts, but today people openly defy human and divine laws.
2) The Causes of Lawlessness
The First Cause
Why is that lawlessness will be increased? Perhaps, due to ignorance, people violate laws. For example, the wife kept on nagging the husband not to forget to pick up the children after school. For this reason, the husband ignored the road signs and drove above the posted speed limit. Consequently, he received a speeding ticket from a police officer.
The Second Cause
The second cause is human willfulness or disobedience. We know we should avoid driving after drinking, but some people would choose to drive even when they are drunk – deliberately breaking the law and endangering their own lives and others.
The Third Cause
The other main reason is due to the influences of false prophets. Based on the distorted teachings of false prophets and false christs, not only Christians will be deeply influenced, but the rest of the world will become lawless as well.
Some parents are busy working all the time and they entrust the education of their children to the teachers. Teachers have plenty of time to get in touch with their students every day, and they have the opportunities to influence them greatly. Many people have become good citizens because they were deeply influenced by their teachers when they were young. Some Christian teachers who are eager to evangelize have led many students to Christ. On the other hand, some teachers can also affect their students with their pagan beliefs. All in all, teachers can either have positive or negative influences on their students.
ii) False Doctrines. Shortly before the Second Coming of Lord Jesus, many false prophets and false christs will unite together, leading the world astray by their false doctrines.
3) The Consequences of Lawlessness
The Error of the Pharisees
In the New Testament times, the Lord Jesus rebuked the Pharisees because they wrongly taught that salvation was by keeping the law.
The Definition of Legalism
There is a theological term called “Legalism”. Legalists exalt law above grace, and they replace faith with works.
Of course, Christians cannot earn their salvation by keeping the law. Although evangelical Christians affirm the truth of justification by faith, believers are still affected by “religious legalism” throughout Church history. Perhaps, you are not familiar with the term “religious legalism, but I believe you must have heard of the following behaviors in the past: church leaders forbade female believers the use of fingernail polish, pastors outlawed drinking alcohol, watching movies, and dancing. The above rules or guidelines are derived from good intentions, hoping believers would behave in a proper manner and would not be influenced by worldly culture and habits. Sadly, people don’t understand the good intentions behind these guidelines, but they just kept these rules without thinking.
The Functions of the Law
The law is to convict of our sins. As we cannot meet the standard of God, we would humble before Him (Romans 3:20), asking for mercy and salvation. In addition, the essence of the Ten Commandments is about loving God and people (Matthew 22:37-40), which is the goal of Christians and the expression of their new life in Christ. Therefore, loving God and people are not cold and rigid commandments for Christians to keep, but these are the manifestations of love.
The Lawless World
Before the Lord Jesus is about to return to the earth, the whole world would become lawless. The teachings of false christs and false prophets are surely anti-Christian; evangelical Christians uphold the Bible and regard His Word as the foundation of their faith. It is highly probable that false christs and false prophets would openly deny divine biblical standards, and lawlessness would be the natural outcome. In other words, their doctrines are anti-law in nature. Without the law, we are without standards; similarly, “postmodernism” does not believe in absolute standards as well.
Postmodernism emerged in the 1960s and it still affecting the world today. Postmodernism has the following characteristics:
Meaning, morality and truth are objective. Thus, many postmodernists accept polygamy, cohabitation, etc.
People are completely shaped by their cultures. In other words, every ethnic groups have different understandings of life and matters.
Denial of the transcendent. There are no absolutes. If you accept such a belief, you wouldn’t accept the authority of the Bible.
They oppose reason but they are in favor of emotion. As to these people, Bible study is meaningless because it only satisfies people’s minds, but not their emotions.
A new world order of cultural pluralism is envisioned as the way of communal existence. Take the example of Canada. Canadians highly advocate multiculturalism.
Tolerance is the greatest virtue. In the past, people who refused to accept or oppressed other faiths were seen as intolerant; but today, questioning others’ beliefs can be considered as intolerant. Most people today do not accept absolute standards, let alone shortly before the Second Coming of Jesus!
Our Due Responses.
Dear friends, the Bible not only reveals what is good and what is evil, but it also speaks of God’s will and standards. Due to the sinful human nature, human beings are unable to meet God’s supreme standards, therefore God had prepared a solution for all humankind, that is, He asked His Son to die for our sins on the cross, and for those believe in Him as Savior, would attain the grace of redemption. Dear believers, we should always wait patiently for the Second Coming of Jesus. In the process of waiting, we should try to understand God’s will and standards. Reading the Bible and applying the biblical truths to our lives is an inevitable exercise. Because of this, I developed the “iEXP Bible Study Method”. “iEXP” (I experience) is an experiential Bible study method which involves four steps. The first step is “i”, which stands for eye, the initial phase is to observe. The second phase is to expound the Bible text. The third stage is to exercise the truths, that is, the application of biblical truths in everyday life. Finally, the last step is the proclamation of biblical principles. It is an act of testifying the truths to others, as means to edify nonbelievers and believers alike. If you are interested to study the Bible, you can refer to iEXP Bible Study method at https://www.kthumb.com