2 Timothy 3:1-5; Matthew 24:11-13; James 5:8
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
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.
Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Unthankfulness and unholiness make the times perilous, and these two commonly go together. What is the reason that men are unholy and without the fear of God, but that they are unthankful for the mercies of God? Ingratitude and impiety go together.
WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): God will not put His mercies into a rent purse; and such is an unthankful heart.
JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): And the fountain of all is self-love, for men shall be lovers of their own selves.
WILLIAM GURNALL: “The love of many shall wax cold,” and no wonder when self-love waxeth so hot―and what a black regiment follows this captain sin!
J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): Our Lord bids us look for the rising of “false prophets,” the “abounding of iniquity,” and the “waxing cold of the love of many.”
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): “Many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” They have risen in all ages; in these modern times they have risen in clouds, till the air is thick with them, as with an army of devouring locusts. These are the men who invent new doctrines, and who seem to think that the religion of Jesus Christ is something that a man may twist into any form and shape that he pleases. Alas, that such teachers should have any disciples! It is doubly sad that they should be able to lead astray “many.” Yet, when it so happens, let us remember that the King said it would be so.
MATTHEW HENRY: In seducing times, when false prophets arise, and in persecuting times, when the saints are hated, expect these two things:
First, the abounding of iniquity; though the world always lies in wickedness, yet there are some times in which it may be said, that iniquity doth in a special manner abound; as when it is more extensive than ordinary, as in the old world, when all flesh had corrupted their way, Genesis 6:12; and when it is more excessive than ordinary, when violence is risen up to a rod of wickedness, Ezekiel 7:11, so that hell seems to be broke loose in blasphemies against God, and enmities to the saints.
Second, the abating of love; this is the consequence of the former; Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. Understand it in general of true serious godliness, which is all summed up in love; it is too common for professors of religion to grow cool in their profession, when the wicked are hot in their wickedness; as the church of Ephesus in bad times left her first love, Revelation 2:2-4. Or, it may be understood more particularly of brotherly love. When iniquity abounds, seducing iniquity, persecuting iniquity, this grace commonly waxes cold. Christians begin to be shy and suspicious one of another, affections are alienated, distances created, parties made, and so love comes to nothing.
ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): By reason of these trials and persecutions from without, and those apostasies and false prophets from within, the love of many to Christ and His doctrine, and to one another, shall grow cold. Some openly deserting the faith, as Matthew 24:10; others corrupting it, as Matthew 24:11; and others growing indifferent about it, Matthew 24:12.
C. H. SPURGEON: Is it any wonder that, where such “iniquity abounds” and such lawlessness is multiplied, “the love of many shall was cold?” If the teachers deceive the people, and give them “another gospel which is not another,” it is no marvel that there is a lack of love and zeal.
MATTHEW HENRY: This gives a melancholy prospect of the times, that there shall be such a great decay of love―But, First, It is of the love of many, not of all. In the worst of times, God has his remnant that hold fast their integrity, and retain their zeal, as in Elijah’s days, when he thought himself left alone. Secondly, This love is grown cold, but not dead; it abates, but is not quite cast off. There is life in the root, which will show itself when the winter is past. The new nature may wax cold, but shall not wax old, for then it would decay and vanish away.
C. H. SPURGEON: Our Saviour reminded his disciples of the personal responsibility of each one of them in such a time of trial and testing as they were about to pass through. He would have them remember that it is not the man who starts in the race, but the one who runs to the goal, who wins the prize: “He that shall endure to the end shall be saved.” If this doctrine were not supplemented by another, there would be but little good tidings for poor, tempted, tried, and struggling saints in such words as these. Who among us would persevere in running the heavenly race if God did not preserve us from falling, and give us persevering grace? But, blessed be His name, “The righteous shall hold on his way.” “He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): What can I thank God for?
DANIEL SMART (1808-1888): Thanks be to God for saving grace!
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Thank God, we are saved in spite of ourselves, in spite of our ignorance and everything else that is true of us…Christianity has not come into the world to put an end to war; it has not come to reform the world. What has it come for? It has come to save us from the destruction that is coming to the world. This Book asserts a judgement―an end of history. God in Christ will judge the whole world in righteousness, sending those who have turned their backs upon Him, refused His offer of salvation in Christ, to everlasting perdition, and ushering the saints into the glory of a “new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness,” 2 Peter 3:13.
MATTHEW HENRY: The Lord Jesus will certainly come, and come in His glory.
ANDREW GRAY (1634-1656): Wait, then, for behold! He cometh with ten thousands of His saints.
J. C. RYLE: Let us lay these things to heart, and remember them well. They are eminently truths for the present times.
JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): Let us therefore pray for grace to be humble, thankful, and patient.