In some circles of the Church it is taught that the primary responsibility of the Church is to “make the world a better place” for humanity through the command to “love they neighbor as thyself.” Is this what our Lord Jesus taught and commanded?
(Some charismatic streams might teach that just as Adam give up dominion over the world through his sin, that dominion has now been restored in Christ the “Second Adam” through which we are to restore paradise on earth.)
When lost souls decide to put their faith in Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior, there can indeed be temporal benefits in addition to the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life. There can be miraculous physical healing and deliverance from unclean spirits. Through the Holy Spirit they can experience God’s wondrous presence, His indescribable love and peace. There can be healing of relationships within families. There can be blessings on the work of one’s hands. To that extent the world is in a way made “a better place” through the preaching of the gospel.
But such benefits are indeed temporal and limited to believers and to a lesser extent those around them. More generally, nations like those in Western Europe and North America where relatively large numbers of people have subscribed to “Christianity” have in fact experienced material prosperity and a high standard of living. But it is only temporary since those who live there, being of course human, will eventually stop seeking God—and instead focus their attention on pursuing “the American Dream” totally apart from God or its equivalent in other “christianized” nations around the world.
According to Revelation, in the last days the world will not ultimately become “a better place” in God’s sight. In the Last Days after the gospel has been preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, the end will come. Matthew 24 tells us that the world will be anything but “a better place” at that time:
4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.
22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.25 See, I have told you ahead of time.
26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
29 “Immediately after the distress of those days
“‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth[c] will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
The primary responsibility of the Church, therefore, is not to “make the world a better place” for humanity during these Last Days. The level of morality in the “christianized,” freedom-loving West as of 2018 has already peaked and is now in freefall. Many if not most who live in the West have already freely chosen to disavow and disobey God, and instead to give their sin nature free rein (and reign) over their behavior.* Freedom for human beings is indeed not free, but for most will cost them their eternal souls.
The responsibility of the Church rather is to “preach the gospel of the kingdom in the whole world as a testimony to all nations” for those whose names are written in the Book of Life to believe in Christ Jesus for eternal life before the end.
Only in the new heavens and earth yet to appear will true righteousness reign for all who dwell there.
*As an example of this, see Death in a Hollywood Sex Dungeon: BDSM Role Play Ends in Tragedy | Hollywood Reporter. https://tiny.iavian.net/nm89