"Shall He Find Faith?"

And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares (Luke 21:34). Jesus exhorts believers living in the final generation prior to his return to take heed concerning the distractions that will be prevalent in these perilous times. His words are consistent with many of the other prophecies that he and others spoke concerning the conditions in the latter days and the impact of those conditions on the servants of God. Perhaps the most significant prophecy of the Master concerning these days is found in Luke 18:1-8, words that conclude with the well known question: Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

Much has been written on this question and the proper interpretation of the word Some prefer to place the focus on the faith suggesting that the proper understanding of Bible truth will be lacking in the final generation. Others feel that believers in the last days will have little faith and that serious doubts would undermine their commitment to the faith. The fact is that both truth and commitment are fundamental to any real faith. It is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

The context in Luke 18 is a parable to teach that men ought always to pray, and not to faint. To faint would be to become weak or weary, to lose our The parable offers the example of the poor widow, who never gave up; she actually made the unjust judge weary by her continual crying for vengeance. Based on her determination, she was avenged of her adversary and the lesson was then drawn: shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? In answer to this question the implication of the next question (shall he find faith?) would lead us to believe that in the last days few would actually be determined and consistently crying day and night for the judgments that will be administered at the Lord's return.

What else do we know about conditions in the last days? We know that it will be like the days of Noah and Lot (see Luke 17:26-30). In the days of Noah, the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. In Lot's day the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly. Such are the conditions in the world in this final generation: how does this great wickedness affect the faith of the servants of God?

In the days of Noah and Lot, the sons of God were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, buying, selling, planting, building; all busily engaged in the cares and pleasures of this life and so the judgments came on them unawares. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. Are many of the sons of God distracted by the cares of this life; are there only a few like Noah and Lot who will be accounted worthy to escape?

We know also that in the last days there will be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time (Daniel 12:1). 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, truce-breakers, 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). Although such words are descriptive of the world at large, are many of the believers now lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God?

Peter speaks about the last days saying that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation (2 Peter 3:3-4). How many today are familiar with the fathers and how many today understand that they are asleep? It is not reasonable to conclude that these scoffers are former believers questioning their faith?

There are other prophetic implications that suggest that the final generation of believers is sadly lacking in their faith and that their conduct is no longer that of wise and faithful servants. Jesus warned of this saying: But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of (Matthew 24:48-50). Our community is struggling to maintain the faith and unfortunately there are increasing occasions when smiting his fellowservants is thought to be a solution to faith that is deteriorating on many fronts.

The challenges to the faith are increasing and strife and division are to be expected. Jesus said; Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword... a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me... And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me (Matthew 10:34-38). The Apostle Paul warned us about strife in our community and challenged us to use these occasions as opportunities to be accounted worthy. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you (1 Corinthians 11:18-19).

We live in perilous times, both in the world and in our community. Prophetic indications are that there would be a lack of faith, that many believers would become scoffers, lovers of pleasures. There would be strife among brethren and the cares and pleasures of life would become a source of distraction to many. The Lord will come suddenly to find many caught unawares. What will we do so that we are not among those who walk after their own lusts in these final days?

As the Bridegroom tarried, all of the virgins (wise and foolish) slumbered and slept; there are many indicators that even the wise among us are no longer as alert, no longer as zealous, no longer crying day and night. Have we been caught up in surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life?

The question has been asked: when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? How will we answer that question? If we want him to find that faith in us, then we must rededicate ourselves to the understanding that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4); that faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). We must have unswerving respect for the Bible truths that without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:6).

We must take full advantage of our associations with our brethren, edifying one another in the study of God's Word. Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him (Malachi 3:16-17).

There will be faithful servants that are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord. We must do all that we can to rise up and build in the few days that remain. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another (Romans 14:19).

Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Jim Millay, Springfield, VT