Temptations of the Early Christians to Apostasy
Matthew 24:12
And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

There was always, in the converts of Jerusalem, a strong temptation towards a relapse into Judaism; and in those disturbed times which preceded the fall, any man with Jewish blood in his veins, with the traditional Jewish temper, the ancestral beliefs, the intense love for his nation and people, must have been hard beset. Why should he, too, not choose the heroic part, and cast in his lot with the defenders of the sacred walls? Why not with his dying body make a rampart against the on-pressing Roman, rather than slip away in cowardly desertion like a traitor, leaving the glorious city to perish as it might? All patriotic instincts, all that the Jew most cherished, must have drawn the convert in that direction: it was a sore trial to have to make this choice between the Old Testament and the New. It was such a crisis as rarely happens to a man, to a society, to a nation. It broke up the old Church, the old national life. By destroying the centralized worship of the temple, and staying the immemorial sacrifices, it taught Christians to look far afield, it bade them bow down in no single shrine to worship the Father, and it sent them forth to evangelize a world lying in darkness. They learnt, by the fall of the Holy City, that the Christian faith was to be not national but cosmopolitan, and that out of the ruins of a narrower polity a larger and wider world would grow .... It was by endurance and self-denial of no ordinary kind that these early Jewish Christians succeeded in overcoming the danger besetting them at every turn. They endured to the end; they learned by patience to get a broader and wiser view of the true position and relation of the faith of their adoption. The sneers of the unconverted Jews, the sense that they had lost their patriotic standing-ground, the oppression and sword of their Roman masters — these were the bitter draughts which refreshed their souls, and nerved them for independence in a larger sphere of life. By these they not only saved their souls, but ennobled their views and aims, till they were able to enter fully into the new conditions of the faith of Christ, and thereby take an active part in the outward movements of a missionary church.

(Dean Kitchen.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

WEB: Because iniquity will be multiplied, the love of many will grow cold.

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