In what’s called the Olivet Discourse Jesus told His disciples about the signs of His coming. There would be wars and rumors of wars, nation rising against nation, famines and earthquakes in various places. There would also be an increased intolerance against Jesus’ disciples, alongside an increase in false prophets. After all that Jesus said: “And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12).
Our modern teachers tell us that law and love don’t ever mix. But it is a lie that love, to be true love, must have no external restrictions, no given shape or schedule. Love, according to our false prophets, is only spontaneous and free and unhindered.
Is it really a surprise that “love” covers a multitude of sins, by which I mean love is used an excuse for lawlessness? In the name of love men do some of the worst things (breaking marriage vows because of “love,” or pursuing unnatural relationships for “love,” as just two examples). But it is neither genuine love nor is it genuine freedom.
When Jesus said that lawlessness will lead to cold hearts, to extinguished love like a fire that has gone out, He didn’t specify whether the love was love for God or love for neighbor. It is both, because the horizontal necessarily follows the vertical. And while obedience isn’t finished without love, the way to increase love isn’t by ignoring standards. There are plenty of places this applies; removing standards at home, in the classroom, in the city, is not the way to increase warm feelings between everyone.
As Christians we are justified by faith not law, but we are not a lawless people. We uphold the law (Romans 3:31), and this is good for upholding love.