According to the U.S. Department of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2016 went on record as the hottest year in history, at least since humans started keeping track of global temperatures. In fact, except for one year (1998), the 16 hottest years in the past 100 years have been recorded from the year 2000 onwards. What climate experts have observed is a well-defined and sustained increase in global average temperatures in the recent past and studies project this to occur at even faster rates in future years. The phenomenon is what has become to be known as global warming.
The major driver behind global warming is emission of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, CO2, and other pollutants into the atmosphere. These come mainly from fossil fuel-based industries and gasoline powered vehicles. Over time these gases build-up into a layer in the atmosphere which absorbs sunlight and radiation from the earth’s surface and as a result of trapped heat, global temperatures rise, a scenario known as the greenhouse effect. In a normal situation, the radiation is supposed to bounce off from the earth’s surface and escape into space. Global warming has had largely negative effects on weather patterns across the world such as fueling longer and hotter heat waves, frequent droughts, heavier rainfall, and powerful hurricanes. World leaders and governments have also identified climate change as a threat to the wellbeing of earth’s ecosystem and most are taking steps to reverse this trend.
Love to God and love to fellow human beings will be the guiding principle in the lives of those who follow Jesus
In the book of Matthew, in the Olivet Discourse, Jesus talked of a crisis that will exist in the last days, and rather than a warming up, it is actually a cooling down. After outlining a number events to occur as signs heralding His Second Coming, Jesus highlighted “…and because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold” Matthew 24:12. The Redeemer here relates a situation of widespread lapse and dearth of spirituality among Christian believers in the last days, practically a ‘global cooling’.
Love is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), and all true followers of the Saviour, having His Spirit, will, without exception, have love as a trait of character. Love to God and love to fellow human beings will be the guiding principle in the lives of those who follow Jesus. Christians will have a living, warm love for God, for His truth and His children. However, the Saviour tells us that in the last days, just before His coming, there will be a general deficiency of love and also reveals what will cause this to happen. He states “because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” verse 12. The apostle Paul expanding on the same idea, explains “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” 2 Timothy 3:1-4, and to show that he is not referring to unreligious heathens, he says they have “a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” verse 5.
As we look at these verses closely, it becomes clear that love for God in these believers will be supplanted by love for other things. While they will maintain religious services; the warm, wholehearted devotion to God will have well-nigh departed only to be replaced by pretense and self-adulation. Paul describes here a people whose aim is to gain glory and applause from men or to use religion to gain something for themselves. They will do nothing for the glory of God, the honor of Christ, or the good of others.
We are living today at a time of celebrated self-centeredness and selfishness even among professed Christians. We learn from the above verses that what destroys spirituality or causes the love of many to grow cold is love for self and the world. As men love the world and self more, iniquity abounds and there is less love for God. The apostle John admonishes “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” 1 John 2:15. It is not possible to love God while we love the world.
Yet God can still today rekindle the warm fires of love in hearts that have grown cold and formal. Writing to the Philippian believers, Paul says “This is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9–11). Today, in the last days, we are to have our lamps of truth replenished by the oil of God’s Spirit, and with hearts re-ignited, glowing with love for the Saviour; watch, work and await His soon-return.