“The whole New Testament, which was written from the viewpoint of the “church under the cross,” speaks the same language. Believers, not many of whom are wise, powerful, or of noble birth (1 Cor. 1:26), should not expect anything on earth other than suffering and oppression (Rom. 8:36; Phil. 1:29).
They are sojourners and foreigners (Heb. 11:13); their citizenship is in the heavens (Phil. 3:20); they do not look at the things that can be seen (2 Cor. 4:18), but mind the things that are above (Col. 3:2).
Here they have no lasting city but are looking for the city that is to come (Heb. 13:14).
They are saved in hope (Rom. 8:24) and know that if they suffer with Christ they will also be glorified with Him (Rom. 6:8; 8:17; Col. 3:4).
Therefore, along with the entire groaning creation, they wait with eager longing for the future of Christ and for the revelation of the glory of the children of God (Rom. 8:19, 21; 1 Cor. 15:48ff.), a glory with which the sufferings of the present time are not worth comparing (Rom. 8:18; 2 Cor. 4:17).
Nowhere in the New Testament is there a ray of hope that the church of Christ will again come to power and dominion on earth.
The most it may look for is that, under kings and all who are in high positions, it may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity (Rom. 13:1; 1 Tim. 2:2).
Therefore, the New Testament does not first of all recommend the virtues that enable believers to conquer the world but, while it bids them avoid all false asceticism (Rom. 14:14; 1 Tim. 4:4–5; Titus 1:15), lists as fruits of the Spirit the virtues of “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal. 5:22–23; Eph. 4:32; 1 Thess. 5:14ff.; 1 Pet. 3:8ff.; 2 Pet. 1:5–7; 1 John 2:15; etc.).
It is a constant New Testament expectation that to the extent to which the gospel of the cross is spread abroad, to that extent the hostility of the world will be manifested as well. Christ is destined to be a rising for many but also to be a falling for many, and to bring out into the open the hostile thoughts of many.
He has come into the world for judgment (κρισις, krisis) so that those who do not see may see and that those who see may become blind (Matt. 21:44; Luke 2:34; John 3:19–21; 8:39; Rom. 9:32–33; 1 Cor. 1:23; 2 Cor. 2:16; Heb. 4:12; 1 Pet. 2:7–8).
In the last days, the days that precede the return of Christ, the wickedness of human beings will rise to a fearful level.
The days of Noah will return. Lust, sensual pleasures, lawlessness, greed, unbelief, pride, mockery, and slander will erupt in fearful ways (Matt. 24:37ff.; Luke 17:26ff.; 2 Tim. 3:1ff.; 2 Pet. 3:3; Jude 18).
Among believers as well there will be extensive apostasy. Temptations will be so powerful that, if it were possible, even the elect would be caused to fall.
The love of many will grow cold, and vigilance will diminish to the extent that the wise will fall asleep along with the foolish virgins.
Apostasy will be so general that Jesus can ask whether at his coming the Son of Man will still find faith on earth (Matt. 24:24, 44ff.; 25:1ff.; Luke 18:8; 1 Tim. 4:1).”
–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: Holy Spirit, Church, and New Creation, vol. 4, Ed. John Bolt, and Trans. John Vriend (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008), 4: 674.