THE OLD PATHS. Jesus said: “Because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” Matthew 24:12. Lawlessness is rampant in the world. We can be thankful that we live in a county where the rule of law prevails and lawlessness is kept somewhat under control. The US is slowly creeping into more and more unlawfulness.

If you live in my area, lawlessness abounds- criminals are praised and the righteous are punished. It feels like the wild Wild West up this way. However, in the above Scripture Jesus is referring to a specific time and a specific lawlessness: a lawlessness within His people. He says there’s a time that persecution will come to the church, “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved” Matthew 24:10-13.

This prophecy is being fulfilled before our very eyes: many false prophets have arisen from within the church, claiming to know Him and being called by His name; they are deceiving many within the church, lawlessness does abound; and the love (agape love, again only found within God’s people) of many (of God’s people) has grown cold and is growing colder. What is lawlessness?

Lawlessness is a customary disregard of laws. A lawless person has little respect for law and refuses to be restricted by it. A law-abiding person wants to obey the law, but sometimes falls short. Every driver, for example, exceeds the speed limit at times. A lawless person ignores the speed limit. Why does lawlessness cause love to grow cold?Jesus said: “Because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold”, and indeed the love of many has grown cold. This is inevitable because lawlessness and agape love, the kind of love that only comes from God, are not compatible. Lawlessness is a form of self-indulgence, and true love is not self-indulgent. Love “does not seek its own” (1 Corinthians 13:5).

Lawlessness betrays a lack of true love. When Jesus was asked, “Which is the first commandment of all?” He replied, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” Matthew 22:37-40. By rejecting God’s law, a lawless person also rejects the love on which God’s law is based.

Lawlessness betrays a lack of love for God. “The LORD is our Lawgiver” (Isaiah 33:22) How can a lawless person (who scorns law) love the Lawgiver? Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15) and “He who does not love Me does not keep My words” (v. 24) John explained: “Whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him” (1 John 2:5). “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3.) This is New Testament Scripture and standards.

God has not done away with His commands and laws. Yes, certain laws relating to Israel and the sacrificial system were fulfilled in Christ. But we still have commands, “laws” if you will, from the Lord. Do not lie. Do not commit sexual immorality. Do not covet. Honor your mother and father. Forsake all for His sake. Obey your spiritual leaders. Need I go in? God’s commandments are not burdensome for someone who loves God because he wants to please God. To a lawless person, however, God’s commandments are burdensome, because he does not love God, has no desire to please Him, and dislikes restrictions that conflict with his own desires.

God is still the same. He has not changed. He still requires obedience. The God of Genesis is the God of Revelation. The God of the great flood is the God over the flood. The only safe place is on His lawful path, “Thus says the Lord: “Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’” ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭6:16‬ ‭#runyourrace

To Learn More About Pastor Crystal please visit the Leadership Page

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