Chapter 3: Where is the Love?
A chapter from the book, "The Great Dream:
The Great and Final Apostasy of Christendom Described"
by Dean Flanders
JESUS SAID: "Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." ** Matt.24:12
Here in the 24th chapter of Matthew, Jesus makes His longest address about the End of The Age and the signs of His coming. Among all the prophecies about earthquakes, plagues, false prophets, and turbulent political situations, there is this one short statement about a DECLINE in LOVE. This decline in LOVE must, of necessity, signal a decline in True Spiritual Content, for, as the Bible says: He that loves not knows not God; for God is love (1 John 4:8). Iniquity has been abounding now for nearly 2000 years. Little wonder, then, that at The End, the love of many shall wax SO cold, that it finally becomes a SIGN of that GREAT and FINAL APOSTASY that was predicted by the Apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:3.
You may recall that Our Lord said: "By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one to another" (John 3:35). The word that is translated to love is AGAPEO: which means "active devotion to the welfare and happiness of the one who is loved". This is that love, that GIVES without calculating COST or REWARD, and looks only to God for recognition.
This love is nearly extinct in Christendom today. Some of you who were involved in the "Jesus Movement" of the 60's and 70's can remember how different things were, even then. There were many people who were willing to make GREAT SACRIFICES of their time, their money, and their privacy, for the sake of their fellow Christians. Older Christians often "adopted" youthful believers, and took them into their homes. The younger Christians spent all their free time with each other, and never made "friends" out of unbelievers. Every day, we looked for opportunities to attend church, or Bible study, or prayer meetings; we walked the streets looking for someone to witness to. In everything we did, we were trying to be better Christians. We loved being Christians, and we were devoted to each other. I remember those days very well. When I was troubled or confused, there were many people who would SIT UP ALL NIGHT with me; to COMFORT, COUNSEL, or PRAY with me. People that I had just met: people who didn't know ANYTHING about me, would devote an entire afternoon, or even several afternoons, to discussing The Faith with me. These "friendly debates" could go on for hours, or days, or weeks, or (believe it or not) MONTHS. The MOST IMPORTANT feature of all this LOVE for me and CONCERN for the Truth, was that it was shown by people who had NOTHING (in the world) TO GAIN for their time and effort. These were ordinary working folks who had to pay their bills, look after their children, mow their own lawn, and sort out their personal problems JUST LIKE THE REST OF US. YET .... we were still able make prayer and spiritual fellowship into the most conspicuous priorities in our lives. And, USUALLY, there was no attempt to draw me away from where I attended Church: but only the attempt to PROVE A TRUTH. There was, at that time, and among those people, SOME concern for The Truth, for it's own sake.
If you became a Christian during the 1980's - and especially in the latter part of that decade - it is UNLIKELY that you have ever met anyone like this. Nowadays, whenever you meet anyone who shows any interest in you, they almost always have some ulterior motive: like filling a pew in their church-house, getting some of your money, or gathering their own little congregation of admirers to lord it over. Maybe because you are yourself a True Believer, God has led you to someone who truly cares for your welfare JUST AND ONLY BECAUSE you are a Christian. One thing I'm sure of: you don't know more than a FEW people like this.
Jesus said, that BECAUSE iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. The word for iniquity is ANOMIA, which means, "without fixed principle", and is often translated to the word LAWLESSNESS. What Our Lord Jesus Christ is telling us here, is that PROFESSING CHRISTIANS will not be reliable to obey the counsel of the Word of God: The Bible. Those whom we expect to be ready to stand for the Truth, and to LOVE, FORGIVE, and HELP us, will NOT BE FAITHFUL to the principles they confess. RATHER, you see INDIFFERENCE, HYPOCRISY, sudden TREACHERY, and CALCULATING GREEDINESS -- all mixed up with professions of love and occasional generosity.
THE DOMINO EFFECT
Because so few people around you show any SINCERE and RELIABLE obedience to their profession of faith, your own SENSE OF OBLIGATION to Christlike character and virtue is diminished. You EXPECT LESS from yourself AND others; and so, like just one domino in the row, YOU TOO, fail to be consistent with your profession; thereby disappointing someone else, who then follows YOUR example. The social life among professing Christians has degenerated into a RAT RACE, in which the PROSPEROUS MAN and the BEAUTIFUL WOMAN get all the applause and attention. Churchgoers strive with each other for authority and reputation within their own group; and THESE are awarded to those who MINDLESSLY perpetuate whatever doctrine or program is already in place.
It's JUST LIKE the Godless world that you thought you WERE LEAVING when you joined the "church": However, because you are afraid to start "judging", you ACCUSE YOURSELF, you IGNORE THE OBVIOUS, and you end up doubting that you can ever know the truth. You ALREADY KNOW that if you "rock the boat", you will only be criticized AND rejected by those very people to whom you are looking for love and support.
This DECLINE IN LOVE in Christendom, has also spilled over into the unchurched world as well. All around you is EVIDENCE of this GROWING COLDNESS: Parents can't wait to get rid of their children, and children can't wait to get away from their parents. MOST marriages don't last for a lifetime, NO; they don't even last 5 years. Everyone is full of BLIND AMBITION to further their own career. EVERYTHING has come down to MONEY, and WHO HAS IT. Modern Love (so called), is just the willingness to overlook every sin, and "forgive" everybody, as long as they are NO IMMEDIATE threat to YOUR money, YOUR family, or YOUR plans. "Everybody is going to heaven", unless they personally offend or threaten YOU. MERCY, is now defined as the willingness to tolerate and justify every one of your family and friends who is willing to make an excuse for their sin. You say, "Every one that does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and He delights in them" (Mal.2:17). The love that makes SELFLESS SACRIFICES, TAKES RISKS, and ENDURES ALL THINGS for the sake of God, Bible, and Truth IS GONE from religious society AND YOU KNOW IT. True Heroism is only known by legend; there is no one "VALIANT FOR TRUTH" unless they can stand at the head of a cheering crowd.
WHO, I ask you, Dear Reader, REALLY shows a persistent care for your welfare who has NOTHING (in this world) TO GAIN from you? In the last 10 years, has ANY "stranger" newly entered your life as your BROTHER IN CHRIST: cared for you, prayed with you, given to you, and then left you with no one to repay but God? Of course, there has ALWAYS been "less love" than one could wish for; but I am telling you, that we are IN THAT DAY, that PARTICULAR DAY spoken of by Our Lord, when the love of many shall wax cold.
A SIGN OF THE END
As a SIGN OF THE END, this decline in SELFLESS SERVICE among those who claim to be "brothers and sisters in the faith", is harder to certify than what I will show you next, for most of you will never have known Christendom to be any other way than it is now. Even the Revival of the 60's and 70's was cold in comparison to the UNFEIGNED AFFECTION and UNFAILING LOYALTY that the Bible describes as commonplace among Christians during the 1st century of The Church.
THINK ABOUT IT: Newer, bigger, and fancier buildings are added to the "churches" while the widow in that "church" struggles to provide for her children. New carpet MUST be purchased; new audio equipment is a BIG NECESSITY; everyone (including the poor and destitute among them) is advised to INCREASE their giving to meet all these "crucial" needs. Just a fraction of the money that is coming into most of these "churches", could be directed to provide a new car, or new furniture, or a safe home, for one or more of the impoverished and unfortunate members of these same "churches". BUT, it doesn't happen, UNLESS, of course, it can be turned into a PUBLICITY STUNT. Even then, it is still a rare occurrence, because the greed and avarice of the majority of the "church members" cannot bear to see anyone else receive what they lust after for themselves. NO! Instead, the "church charity" becomes two bags of groceries for everyone: THIS LOOKS GOOD, and pacifies the envious; but it doesn't make any real difference in the lives of those who receive it. They have left their first love (Rev. 2:4-5).
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (love), I am become as a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity (love), it profits me nothing. ** 1Cor.13:1,2
LOVE is the MAIN FEATURE of a True Christian Faith; the lack of it is a CLEAR SIGN of a FALSE FAITH. Therefore, it is of the greatest importance that we understand what is meant by LOVE in the New Testament; for THIS LOVE is so lacking in Christendom that it becomes a CLEAR SIGN of That Great and Final Apostasy that was predicted by the Apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:3.
THE LOVE THAT IS LACKING
Then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. ** Matt.24:10-13
In the 24th chapter of Matthew, Our Lord Jesus Christ makes His longest address to the question: "What shall be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?" (Matt. 24:3) Among all the signs which describe political strife, natural disasters, and the rise of false prophets; there is this one short statement that DESCRIBES the character of Apostate Christendom at the end of the age. That Matt. 24:12 applies PRIMARILY (though not exclusively) to those who will "call themselves" Christians at the end of the age is made plain from the context. Our Lord says, "Many shall be offended" (24:10), a term which always means, "offended at or disappointed with the True Faith". And Our Lord says, "They shall betray one another"; which speaks of TREACHERY among those who profess the same cause.
He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. ** Matt.24:13
Jesus issues a WARNING: that ONLY those who HOLD OUT, and remain faithful to Him AND to HIS TEACHINGS in the midst of this GROWING coldness will be saved. The word saved means RESCUED: and in this context refers to Eternal Life AND deliverance from The Great Tribulation (24:21).
One could always have said that there is NOT ENOUGH love in Christendom, but in this context a LACK OF LOVE could never be a sign of any kind. Love is not something that can be truly judged in a historical context, if it only refers to acts of kindness or tolerance alone; for the Apostle Paul tells us: "Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned (risk everything in apparent acts of heroism), and have not charity (love), it profits me nothing" (1 Cor. 13:3). One may, therefore, do ALL these things without TRUE love.
You may have noticed that the King James Translators rendered the word AGAPEO as charity throughout the 13th chapter of 1st Corinthians. While they were somewhat inconsistent in their translation of the word love through out the New Testament (see John 21:15-17 in the Greek), they thought it important to distinguish this word AGAPEO from the three other Greek words that may be translated to love in this chapter, because 1 Corinthians 13 is a definition of how "love" acts. The differences between these four Greek words for love is absolutely crucial. In this article, every occurrence of the word "love" in a Bible text, is a translation of the word AGAPEO.
Our Lord does not say that STORGIA (natural family affection) will wax cold; neither does He say that PHILEO (the affections of friendship) will wax cold; and He is by NO means suggesting that EROS (sexual or romantic infatuation) will be on the decline.
Now if you look up AGAPEO in a dictionary, you will find that it is a VERB, having to do with ACTION. The other three words for love may only represent DISPOSITIONS, or AFFECTIONATE FEELINGS. AGAPEO is active devotion to the welfare and happiness of the one who is loved, OR, as some say: SELFLESS SERVICE. However, the meaning of ANY word in the Bible is controlled by how and where it is used.
Every Biblical word has its own ESSENTIAL meaning, but it also has ADDITIONAL MEANINGS which are IMPLIED by the CONTEXT in which the word is used. Now it is BEYOND DISPUTE that the word AGAPEO describes a love which DOES SOMETHING. You may love (STORGIA) your mother all the time; but when you scrub the kitchen floor for her without looking for recognition or asking for reward, you love (AGAPEO) her in the way that Our Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to love one another.
So far, I have shown that in Matthew 24:12, our Lord is describing a SHARP DECLINE in the performance of SELFLESS SERVICE among professing Christians. BUT, even this definition for love will not allow us to go beyond making comparisons between "more" and "less". There are plenty of people who still give to charitable causes, lend a hand to their neighbors, and help to solve the problems in their community.
What I am going to show you is that, if we permit The Bible to give us a definition for LOVE in IT'S OWN WORDS, you will plainly see that the love that Our Lord spoke of is so RARELY shown in Christendom today; and that the LACK of it is so PROFOUNDLY OBVIOUS; that any HONEST mind can easily see that the display of Biblical love among the MAJORITY of professing Christians has sharply declined, and almost disappeared.
LOVE DEFINED BY BIBLICAL USAGE
Many people like to quote John 13:35 as a definition of true Christian character.
By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another. ** John.13:35
That Our Lord Jesus Christ must have meant something more than what we normally define as SELFLESS SERVICE is obvious, when you consider that He ALSO said this:
If you were of the world, the world would love his own. . . . ** John.15:19
Our Lord tells us that the world will love his own; so unless He means something more specific than JUST "selfless service", His statement to the effect that you can tell WHO THE REAL CHRISTIANS are because they love each other, becomes meaningless. As you shall see, the love that the Bible describes as a SIGN of the True Faith is a VERY SPECIFIC kind of love. SO SPECIFIC, in fact: that unless one IS a born-again child of God, he CANNOT show ANY of this love.
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loves is born of God, and knows God. He that loves not knows not God; for God is love. ** 1John 4:7,8
Do you believe that the Bible is INSPIRED? Do you believe that God has seen to it that a RELIABLE RECORD of Revealed Truth has been given to us AND preserved for us? If you say, YES: then you must CONCEDE that there is no "mistake" here; AND YET, the Apostle John "appears" to contradict His Lord, Who said, "The world will love his own". Something MUCH MORE SPECIFIC than "selfless service" has to be in view; for whatever love that the Inspired Apostle is talking about can ONLY be shown by those who are born of God. A further description of the love that the Apostle is referring to is found in verse 10 of the same chapter.
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. ** 1John.4:10
The term "Herein is love", implies that a DEFINING EXAMPLE of love is about to be given. Remember: AGAPEO is a love that DOES SOMETHING, not just an "affectionate disposition", and here we see what God DID to show His love for us. God sent His Son to be the CURE for our SIN problem. This gives us a BIG CLUE about the kind of love that is altogether LACKING in Christendom today. The words, "Not that we loved God, but that He loved us" make a DISTINCTION between LOVE that comes FROM us, and the love that comes TO US from God. The LOVE with which the world loves his own IS NOT God's example of love. Even if a man does "selfless service" for another because he loves God, he may still fail to show forth the PARTICULAR love that is being discussed here. That we are obliged to show others the SAME KIND of love that God Himself has shown to us is implied in the next verse.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. ** 1John 4:11
The word "so", may ALSO include the idea of "HOW MUCH" love we ought to show, and the context suggests this. However; this word "so", is HOUTOS, which means, "after this manner". What we ought to do here, is love one another in the SAME WAY that God loves us. The love that is being described HERE is a PARTICULAR KIND of "selfless service". It is a love that, ORIGINATING FROM GOD, embraces us, and CURES THE SIN PROBLEM. If we love one another in THE SAME WAY that God loves US, we will be CURING each other's SIN PROBLEM. We must love one another with God's love, which love proceeds FROM God, and NOT FROM US, for you and I cannot cure anyone's sin problem. If you have received God's love, you are conscious of the fact that THAT love does not justify sins or grant any license to commit sin. Only if you have received that love are you able to "duplicate" it, or pass it on. The conclusion is. . . .if the LOVE that you show IS NOT a CURE for the SIN PROBLEM, you have NOT loved IN THE SAME WAY that God loves.
ALL OF THIS DETAIL is supplied for the purpose of substantiating something that is PLAINLY obvious anyway. If LOVING someone is to DO THE VERY BEST THING WE CAN for them; and if the BEST THING we can do for them is to HELP THEM SEE the TRUTH that can SAVE them and SET THEM FREE: then ANYTHING called "love" that does not reinforce and proclaim the SAVING and ETERNAL Truths of the Bible IS NOT love at all. The "love" that reassures an unbeliever on his deathbed that, "Everything will be all right because God loves you", is not only NOT love according to God; but is ACTUALLY The Devil's BEST form of LIE. God so loved the world (John 3:16) ----- but millions are going to hell anyway because they refuse the intention of that love; that we should be conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ (Rom 8:29). To GIVE REASSURANCES to ANYTHING that is not in accord with God's Truth from the Bible is to DO THE DEVIL'S WORK for him. MOST of what people now like to call "loving" can be described as SOOTHING THEM INTO HELL. It ought to be obvious to you by now that "sentimental reassurances" ARE NOT that love, without which, the Bible says: we know not God.
Consider how this next Scripture defines love in a way that is completely AT ODDS with the popular notion of what love is.
By THIS we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous. ** 1John.5:2,3
I hope you have NOTICED that there is not so much as ONE WORD in these Scriptures about HOW we TREAT EACH OTHER. If we love God, or if we love our brother; we do so BY keeping His commandments. Our Lord Jesus Christ says EXACTLY the same thing:
Jesus said unto them, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, You shall love your neighbor as thyself." ** Matt.22:37-39
I can ALREADY hear someone WHINING: "But there is nothing in the 10 Commandments about telling POOR OLD DYING GRANNY that she is going to HELL if she doesn't believe THE RIGHT THINGS about Jesus" ---------------- WRONG!
The 2nd Commandment forbids you to bow (Exodus 20:5), that is, do obeisance, or make concessions, to ANY OTHER than the True and Only God. If you GRANT ASSURANCES that there is ANY other way to escape HELL and go to HEAVEN except through Jesus Christ AND the WAY that He HAS DESCRIBED; you have BOTH made Him out to be a LIAR, and disobeyed the 2nd Commandment. It is because the Lord anticipated conflicts like this, that He said, "If any man come to Me, and hates not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters .... he CANNOT be My disciple" (Luke 14:26).
THE SUMMARY OF THE MATTER IS THIS: We can only love our neighbor by loving God. If we do love God; we will keep His commandments. If we keep His commandments, we shall end up loving our neighbor. What the Godless world teaches, however, is the exact OPPOSITE: that if we are careful not to REBUKE, OFFEND, or CONDEMN our neighbor by BRINGING UP THE TRUTH, that we are "loving" them, and thereby also "loving" God. Under the cover of this "sloppy agape", WHAT THERE REALLY IS, is the unwillingness to endure any persecution (Matt.13:21) for The Truth's sake: and THAT is because they are not really SURE about the doctrines they are so ready to assert when there's NO risk or cost involved.
THE LOVE THAT IS ALWAYS SELFLESS
Lest anyone should think that all they have to do to fulfill Our Lord's command to love one another is to "preach" to them; God has given us this CLEAR TESTIMONY to the necessity of DOING SOMETHING for our brothers and sisters in the Family of God.
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. ** 1John 3:18
While we are reminded that the love we are to show should be more than a matter of preaching; we are still reminded that truth must be the spring and guide of that love. But by no means, does a willingness to preach to everyone dismiss you from the need to prove your love by deeds.
What does it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be you warmed and filled; notwithstanding you give them not those things which are needful to the body; what does it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. ** James 2:14-17
The words, "Can faith save him?" bear directly on what was quoted before from 1 John 4:7: "everyone that loves is born of God". The man who SAYS he has "faith", BUT does not love his brother cannot be saved by THAT "faith"; and he that loves his brother does not say, "Good luck, but GET LOST" to his brother or sister in their time of need.
He that loves not, knows not God; for God is love. ** 1John 4:8
It couldn't be more clearly stated than it is here. If one is truly born of God, they will have the love that is spoken of here. THIS love is a SELFLESS SERVICE that always confirms the Truth and causes the one who has received that love to contemplate their relationship to God. Our Lord Jesus Christ says the same thing:
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. ** Matt.5:16
If you fail to let that light so shine (the light of Truth), then when men see your good works, they WILL NOT glorify your Father which is in heaven. Instead, they will just come to appreciate YOU: and you will end up confirming their faith in human nature, or luck, or in their own self-righteousness. Goodness and Truth CANNOT be divorced from each other, except when BOTH the "goodness" and the "truth" are FALSE and destructive: that is, NOT really goodness or truth at all.
The WORLD and Apostate Christendom teach us to show a "goodness" that exists with or without Truth; believing as they do, that their "goodness" is Truth itself. According to the God of the Bible, ANY act of "goodness" that does not confirm God's Truth becomes THE LIE OF SATAN. This has ALWAYS been the Devil's best form of lie; for by this kind of "goodness" he wishes to prove that "any religion" which is accompanied by sufficient public morality to gain the praise of men (John 12:43) will make a man righteous in God's sight. THINK ABOUT IT.
I once knew a man who boasted of his connections with the Mafia. He earned his living by illegal means; but he kept a safe distance from most of the "dirty work" of his profession. He would find some young lonely and unfulfilled boy or girl, and "rescue" them from the boredom and futility of their life. He also provided them with a decent place to live, and bought them gifts. They did all the "dirty work" and incurred all the danger; but they also lived a life of adventure, in relative comfort. As long as they didn't betray him, he was kind and friendly: and he was, in fact, a fascinating and likeable man. After a while, he would dismiss them from their "job" and send them away with enough money to survive for a while. WAS THIS LOVE? The example I have given you is extreme, but it's ALSO a true story, and it faithfully describes the nature of that FALSE and MISLEADING "goodness" that the world calls LOVE. THINK ABOUT IT. What about that young man or woman that "Mr. Mafia" was so kind to? Do you think that they were turned to God and Truth by the kindness that they were shown? Might they not conclude that a "life of crime" wasn't so bad? Will they not begin to think that the Mafia is the "True Church", where they can find FRIENDS, HELP and an EXCITING LIFE? I shouldn't have to produce any more evidence to prove that: To show "goodness" that does not confirm the Truth of The God of The Bible is TO CONFIRM THE LIE of the Devil; and those who DO SO are the Devil's BEST representatives. The Devil is at war primarily with God, NOT US, and the destruction that he works on mankind is just one of the ways he attempts to discredit and malign Our Lord Jesus Christ. If the Devil can prove that there is GOODNESS WITHOUT GOD or TRUTH APART FROM JESUS CHRIST, he has fully accomplished his purposes with mankind. As it is, men all over the world are crying out: WHERE IS JUSTICE? God is despised for refusing to intervene in the affairs of men if He is acknowledged AT ALL. Men look around at all the "good works" they are doing and WONDER why God does not reward or protect them.
By reason of the multitude of oppressions they make the oppressed to cry; they cry out by reason of the arm of the mighty. But none says, Where is God my Maker, Who gives songs in the night? ** Job.35:9,10
The words "God my Maker" are the key to understanding this Scripture, for you could hardly say that the oppressed do not pray for help. BUT, they pray to a "god" of their own imagination; NOT the One and Only True God their maker; Who cannot be known ANY OTHER WAY except through Our Lord Jesus Christ. Even those who call themselves "christians" are guilty of this: for they imagine for themselves that they can "have" a Jesus APART from His teachings. They have a FALSE Christ, an IMAGINARY Christ; a "Christ" who will confirm their worldly philosophy, and smile with favor on their "sloppy agape". They even FLATLY DISAGREE with Our Lord's teachings and DESPISE those teachings while they USE His Name.
They have a "goodness" WITHOUT Truth, or a "truth" without God, or a "god" who is not revealed EXCLUSIVELY through Jesus Christ, or a "jesus" who would NOT SAY the things that the REAL Jesus did: and so they have in fact rejected the God of the Bible. They never find the God, Who gives songs in the night: the God Who counsels, comforts, and consoles those who "worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth: for the Father seeks such to worship Him" (John 4:23).
Even the demons can SAY that Our Lord was Christ, the Son of God (Luke 4:41), but this confession does not get them into heaven. The demons admit that there is only One God (James 2:10): but the thought is a TERROR to them; they need a "different god", one who is NOT LIKE the One God. Rather, they look to find a "god" who will leave them as they are and STILL love them like they are and LET THEM REMAIN like they are ...... indefinitely. The men of THIS WORLD look for the same thing from their "gods". They FOREVER want to be forgiven; but they also want to continue in their sin, their rebellion, and their lies forever. Those who REFUSE to TRULY REPENT think that if they "feel bad" about BEING BAD; everything will be O.K. They are ALWAYS READY to moan about their "failures" and admit to their "faults"; thinking that BY THIS they will escape The Judgment: but they WILL NOT FORSAKE their pride, their false doctrines, or the LIES that keep them from actually repenting.
SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL
The WORLDLY view of mercy PERMITS a man to CONTINUE INDEFINITELY in his wickedness and dishonesty. The MEN OF THIS WORLD want a god who will forgive them even if they NEVER change their ways. If God will not forgive them in spite of their REFUSAL to repent and change, they ACCUSE God of being merciless: and so, IN THE END, God would have to forgive The Devil to prove that He is merciful. THUS, they show "sympathy for The Devil": for if God will forgive THEM without repentance, JUSTICE will demand that He forgive The Devil as well.
THE LOVE THAT IS ALWAYS SELFLESS is not selfless because a man has no hope of reward. Every one of us has continuous needs that we hope will be met. Even when we give our time, our money, our labor, or our very lives to another man without charge: there is HOPE OF REWARD from God or fate. THE LOVE THAT IS ALWAYS SELFLESS is selfless because it DOES NOT COME FROM US; but from God, and that love ALWAYS cures the sin problem. Consider how clearly the Apostle Paul asserts this:
Or despise you the riches of His goodness and forbearance and long-suffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? ** Rom.2:4
Yet the "goodness" that originates from MAN or Satan leads you to believe that repentance is NOT NECESSARY. God saves us OUT OF and AWAY FROM our sins; not IN and WITH our sins. There will be NO SIN going on in heaven, and those who love their sins here WILL HAVE NO PLACE THERE.
Every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as He is pure. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that does righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous. He that commits sin is of The Devil; for The Devil sins from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of The Devil. ** 1John 3:3,7,8
THE LOVE THAT IS ALWAYS SELFLESS is selfless because it DOES NOT PROTECT IT'S OWN REPUTATION. One who is loving with God's love is not attempting to "prove" to the world how "godly" and "good" they are. Charity (love) vaunts not itself (1 Cor. 13:4). MOST of the "love" that is being shown in Christendom today is for the sole purpose of embellishing one's own "testimony": it is the attempt to prove to others what "good Christians" they are; to POINT TO THEMSELVES as "examples" of "good people". They think they are DOING GOD A FAVOR when they do this, for they think of themselves as a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes (Romans 2:20). Oh, I know how many of them SAY "Thank God, not me"; but because their "goodness" does not proceed from and confirm The Truth, the END is still the same. Even their words, "Thank God, not me" only add to their OWN glory, because now the world can see that they are not only "generous", but "humble" as well. Actually, every professing Christian who practices a "goodness" without Truth becomes a little antichrist, because THEY THEMSELVES get seen as the One Who is Good. Jesus said: "There is none good but One, that is, God" (Matt. 19:17).
All their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries (proofs of their own holiness), and enlarge the borders of their garments (advance their own reputations). ** Matt.23:5
They are ANTICHRISTS because the person they show their "goodness" towards is NOT left with the contemplation of God and truth; but with admiration for themselves. They all become little "saviors" and love to hear testimonies about how "godly" they are. They wish to be indispensable and irreplaceable in the lives of others. Our Lord said: "The truth shall make you free" (John 8:32), but the truth that these men share makes you DEPENDENT ON THEM. By focusing your attention on THEIR "goodness", THEIR "power", and THEIR "revelation", they INSERT THEMSELVES between you and God; so that to approach to God, you MUST also draw near to them. They place themselves BETWEEN you and The Light of Truth, so that you fall under THEIR "shadow". They stand IN FRONT of The Light, and the Truth appears AROUND them like a HALO. They bid you to DRAW NEARER, that you may "warm yourself" in That Light; but as you do, you find you are still SHIVERING IN THEIR SHADOW.
THE LOVE THAT IS ALWAYS SELFLESS can be easily illustrated by the love that parents have for their children. If Baby won't quit playing with matches, you will eventually resort to ANGRY WARNINGS or PUNISHMENTS. Even if you LOVE that baby with all of your soul; and even if you cannot bear to see that baby cry; and even if you know that that baby will RESENT YOU if you spank her; and even if spanking that baby will hurt you deeply; and EVEN if you need that baby's affection more than anything else in the world; LOVE (concern for baby's welfare) WILL spank that baby until she quits playing with matches.
THE LOVE THAT IS ALWAYS SELFLESS cares not that it may be accused of "having no love"; or that it may be accused of being CRUEL, or MERCILESS, or UNREASONABLE. Any one who loves another with THE LOVE THAT IS ALWAYS SELFLESS will never ask: "But how will I look?" BECAUSE you CARE SO MUCH for the welfare of that other person, that you are willing to endure slander, rejection, and even their hatred, in order to help them.
THE LOVE THAT IS ALWAYS SELFLESS will be loud, and demanding, and EVEN annoying; and RISK REJECTION by the very ones you love; if by doing so you may save them from GREATER HARM, or awaken them to their NEED FOR God.
JESUS SAID: "This is My commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends, if you do whatsoever I command you." ** John.15:12